Monthly Mentor

Jody Boyer (August)
Jody Boyer is a visual artist and arts educator originally from Portland, Oregon. In her studio practice she explores the broad interdisciplinary possibilities of traditional and new media with a specific interest in personal memory, cinema, landscape and a sense of place. She received her B.A. in Studio Arts from Reed College, her M.A. in Intermedia and Video Art from the University of Iowa, and her K-12 teaching certificate at the University of Nebraska at Omaha.  Her artwork has been shown in over 25 exhibitions across the country. Click "GO" to read her full bio.

Go

Membership

Join the largest creative community established exclusively for visual arts educators, college professors, researchers, administrators, and museum educators.

Join NAEA Renew Membership

« June 2012 | Main | August 2012 »

Tuesday 07.31.12

LOOKING BACK…

This month has just flown by (as the summer always does)! It certainly has been a busy month, full of wonderful surprises and adventures. The month began with a move one street over, and ended watching history in the making as a mural is installed on the Greenway. One of the highlights of July was certainly the trip I took to New York City, sponsored by Sargent Art.

Each year in March all across the country we celebrate Youth Art Month. In Massachusetts we are lucky enough to have our Central Massachusetts Exhibition at in the Higgins Education Wing at the Worcester Art Museum. This year, Massachusetts Art Education Association decided to partner with Sargent Art to provide prizes for members and students who participate in the exhibition. We have a YAM committee who supervises and coordinates throughout the year and the actual installation is powered by a number of volunteer art educators from across the state. It truly is an amazing exhibit! When checking in artwork, any student work linked with a MAEA member received a “dot” so that when people came to view the work, they could vote on which work they liked the best. We had a number of category/age level winners who received art supply prizes from Sargent Art and one overall winner. Sargent was very generous, and gave supplies to the winning art educators also!

The overall winner this year was Rachel Mager, an 11th grade student at Marlborough High School. And I am proud to say, that I am her teacher. Rachel has thrived in Photography, and recently completed an Advanced Placement Studio Art portfolio. And, represented our school in Art All-State (another amazing program!) We are incredibly proud of all that she has accomplished! The prize was amazing-- an all-expense paid weekend in New York City for Rachel, one parent, and her art teacher (ME)!

Snow angel by Rachel magerRachel Mager's award winning photograph titled "Snow Angel" (its a self-portrait)

Rachel at MOMARachel at MOMA

The weekend started off with a traffic filled drive but I arrived safely in New Jersey at the lovely hotel. Dinner was served in an elegant setting while award winning artwork from across the country was displayed. This year 21 states were represented! The work ranged from flag designs to self-portraits, and was incredibly impressive. The mood was positive and friendly as Bhakti Oza greeted everyone and thanked artists, parents and art educators from the bottom of her heart. The awards ceremony was touching and well deserved as each state awarded a student with a beautifully framed certificate to take back home. The weekend followed with equally amazing experiences-- Saturday was filled with visits to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art, Central Park, Times Square, Top of the Rock, and to end the night, a Broadway show: The Lion King. It was a jam packed art experience with tour guides who were incredibly knowledgeable and inspiring. Sunday was even filled with tours of the Trinity Church, Statue of Liberty/Ellis Island, Staten Island Ferry, and the 9/11 Memorial. It truly was an unforgettable weekend for all-everyone smiled so much throughout the weekend, I think all of our cheeks were sore! I can’t wait to organize a trip for our MAEA members and another for my students! The tour guides customize tours to meet your needs, and do an amazing job explaining how art fits into the culture and vibrancy of present day New York City.

To get your state association involved, contact Bhakti Oza (bhakti.oza@sargentart.com) at Sargent Art--all state organizations are encouraged to participate--and it's a great way to say THANK YOU to a deserving student and art educator. And, what a great way to celebrate Youth Art Month!

Student work for YAM exhibitStudent Photographs I submitted for our state YAM exhibition

Youth art month sampleMassachusetts YAM entry at the Worcester Art Museum

Sargent Art
Bhakti Oza, Sargent Art

E.E. Tours
Matt Koke, 668 Plato Street, Suite 1A, Franklin Square, NY 11010
matt@eetoursinc.com

Metropolitan Museum of Art

Museum of Modern Art

MAEA Youth Art Month

Art All-State - Tumblr

Worcester Art Museum (free admission through the end of August!)

-Kristi Oliver

Monday 07.30.12

LOOKING AROUND: STREET ART VS. GRAFFITI

*This post does not support unlawful acts

This week has been all about the London Summer Olympics.  Watching the opening ceremonies truly brings to life the vision of artists from across the world.  London is home to a long standing visual art tradition-- and to many contemporary artists, including Banksy.  Banksy may be best known for his political street art stencils and the film Exit Through the Gift Shop.  But, recently I came across a video called Graffiti Wars:  Banksy vs. Robbo which examines the hierarchy of street artists over graffiti writers in the United Kingdom.  The issues brought up in this documentary are not necessarily specific to one country, but are interesting to think about as artists-- we have a rich history, we are inspired by and work with techniques, themes and messages of those that have come before us, but do we adequately pay respect to these artists?  The video discusses the differences between street artists and graffiti writers and how they are treated when it comes to the law and in regards to punishment for vandalism specifically.  If the two are working similarly, why is one treated differently?  Robbo being one of the most well respected graffiti writers of his time, has some interesting comments for Banksy and his team regarding respect, style, and appropriation.  All issues that come up when working with students in the classroom under various contexts. 

Exit Through the Gift Shop is a film created by Banksy who aims to question “what is art” and “can you make money being a street artist?”  It is entertaining, documentary-style, and great to spark discussion about what being an artist means today.  And, the question still remains, is the main character a real true artist, or is he a character created by Banksy as a hoax?

Banksy Olympics

Banksy and Street Artists Respond to Olympics

Graffiti Wars:  Banksy vs Robbo

Exit Through the Gift Shop

And, some artists really do not like labels!  Are you a street artist who writes graffiti or a graffiti writer who sometimes makes street art??  Are you a criminal or an artist? 

The streets of Boston were alive this week as Brazilian artist team Os Gemeos, identical twins who consider themselves “painters” headed to Dewey Square to paint a mural. 

OsGemeos Stencil

Personally, I would say its street art- with distinct connections to bright hip-hop style graffiti and colors reminiscent of carnival.  But, Os Gemeos state that all they want to do is paint!  If you were around the city this week you were in luck-- the Greenway (former home to the Occupy movement) was brightened by the presence of these two artists.  Working quickly and with little help, the brothers created a mural reflective of their own surreal/ illustrative style-- truly alive with patterns and colors that would brighten anyones day! 

Day 2 Os Gemeos

We hope these two will stay around for a while, as they prepare for their upcoming show at the ICA which opens August 1st.  And, there are rumors that they will create another mural  will be placed on the Revere Hotel in Boston Common coming in August.  I just can’t wait to see what they will do next!

  Os Gemeos Day 3

Os Gemeos - Info on the upcoming exhibition at the ICA

Os Gemeos official webpage

Excellent Video of Os Gemeos discussing their work

Os Gemeos have also been known to collaborate on various projects-- and recently worked with another of my favorite street/ public artists, JR.  JR is a French Photographer who has been using his work to expose injustices and cultural issues to the masses.  He is very respectful of the people he photographs and only aims to correct wrongdoings and bring awareness to social issues.  If using photographs as murals sparks your interest, JR has created a way for you to get involved through the Inside Out Project!  You can send images, and he will print them out large scale, and send them back to you for pasting.  Sounds exciting!??  Check out his recent work up on the Highline in New York City and you will surely be inspired!

About JR

Check out JR’s TED TALK 2012

Get Involved with pasting!

- Kristi Oliver

Wednesday 07.25.12

STREET ART

*This post does not support unlawful acts

One of the topics that usually comes up when discussing graffiti as an art form is the difference between street art and graffiti.  At first glance, it may seem that they are one in the same, but when you take a closer look- they become quite different.  One of the most obvious differences students notice is the use of material.  Some street art is in fact created using spray paint, but a lot of street art is temporary, nondestructive, and user friendly.  Much of street art is figurative, large scale and very much like murals, as opposed to text-based tags seen primarily in graffiti.  Additionally, much of street art falls into the category of “paste ups” which are adhered to the walls using wheat paste (much like wall paper paste) and will eventually come off with some water and little effort.  Some artists are also using stickers of all sizes, and even priority mail labels and to leave their mark. 

While I am in full support of placing these items (stickers, murals, drawings, etc.) where they are allowed, welcomed and encouraged, much of street art is placed on public property.  One of the nice things about bringing street art into the classroom is that it gives you the opportunity to discuss public art in a new way.  Ask students why certain locations are chosen and discuss the implications of specific sites.  It can be a very interesting discussion to have students think about what they are trying to communicate or portray and how the audience may react when something is placed in a public setting versus a more traditional space.  And how the public may react differently seeing these art items as part of their daily commute. 

One artist I particularly enjoy is Swoon.  Born Caledonia Curry, Swoon studied painting at the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, NY and is now traveling the world creating street art.  There are many great resources for studying the work of Swoon (see links below), and if you are in the Boston area, she currently has an installation on view at the ICA called Anthropocine Extinction.  This piece incorporates the large scale block printed figures she is known for, along with intricate paper cuts and a bamboo structure that can be best viewed from the museums glass elevator.  It is also fun to discuss how she is currently using her knowledge to create sustainable housing for those in need and works tirelessly with her crew of volunteers in Haiti and beyond.  Art CAN change the world!

Swoon at ICA
Swoon at ICA / Swoon with Anthropocene Extinction

IMG_1226
Anthropocene Extinction Detail

My students particularly enjoyed learning about Swoon because her figures are realistic, but simplified at the same time.  I linked this work with our figure drawing unit and my students created large scale figures using brown craft paper, sharpie and acrylic paint.  The students chose sites around the city of Marlborough where they would ideally place their figures once created and used the location as inspiration for their figures/ subject matter.  Once the drawings were complete, we used photoshop to blend the images of the location with the drawings so the students could see what they would look like in a public space-- we displayed the actual life-size drawings on boards during our annual art show.

IMG_1405 Swoon-Inspired Student Artwork by Nidia

SWOON:

Walrus TV Artist Feature: Swoon Interview from “The Run Up”

'Anthropocene Extinction.' is currently on view at the ICA in Boston

This video was filmed in Cambridge, at a free/public street art space called Modica Way
. Teens interview Swoon about her work.

Juxtapoz Art & Culture Magazine
has many resources, if you search Swoon, including her TedXTalk in Brooklyn.

Watch the trailer to Our City Dreams featuring 5 women artists living and working in New York City, 2009.  Includes: Caledonia Curry (Swoon), Ghada Amer, Marina Abramovic, Kiki Smith and Nancy Spero
>
Purchase the video here

Deitch, J. (2010). Swoon. New York: Abrams.

STICKER ART:

Label 228: A Street Art Project
(Great use of Priority Mail Labels) facilitated by Camden Noir

Sticker City

Karl Toon and Mad C Mural

D*Face (Street/ Sticker Artist)

Brooklyn Street Art

-Kristi Oliver

Monday 07.16.12

LOOKING AROUND: GRAFFITI

*This post does not support unlawful acts

This week I have been looking around for things, since most of my belongings are still in cardboard boxes from the move, it seems that I am looking more than usual.  I began looking around online as well for resources and events related to the trip to New York City I will be taking next weekend and found a place called 5 Pointz.   

5 Pointz is a graffiti mecca.  It is located in Long Island City, New York and is an outdoor exhibit space- specifically artists or “writers” can apply for a permit to utilize this 200,000 sq. ft. factory as a canvas for their own expression.  What a wonderful place!  The youtube coverage is extensive, you can find videos of the ever changing scenery and look up your favorite writers as the location attracts many notable graffiti writers as well as celebrities and hip-hop artists. 

How do you talk about graffiti with your students?  As a high school teacher this topic comes up quite frequently- is it “OK” to tag your locker at school in the name of artistic expression?  If graffiti is a form of art, then why can’t I tag all over the desks, walls, bathroom stalls, and office windows while at school?  It’s a public building after all…. doesn’t that mean that I own it??  I think I have heard all the arguments, but it can lead to a productive discussion about the difference between graffiti and vandalism.  And ask the question, what is the difference? 

Gastman and Neelon (2010) state “as soon as humans figured out how to write on things we did it.  Graffiti-- in its original definition as a scratched or written public marking-- is considered to be the first example of human art.” How can we say the very first example of human art is no longer valid today?  Or that it cannot be done in school?  Are there ways to include this type of art into the curriculum while still obeying the law?  Why has graffiti become considered vandalism?  Many people associate vandalism with malicious acts, deliberate defacement and destruction of property-- I would be willing to bet that most graffiti writers think the value of the property goes up as opposed to destruction once something is written upon.  On the other hand, do you want your home covered in graffiti? 

Is there a happy medium?  When viewing graffiti writing there is an undeniable artistic intent.  The pieces display composition and use of the elements and principles of design all while exploring typographic effects and letterform.  There is often sketching and planning involved and artists display various degree of skill with aerosol media.  What possesses people to leave their mark?  Cavemen sprayed around their own hands to leave their “tag” to have a record for future humans to discover and relate to.  I believe the same need still lives within us today-- and comes across in varying forms of art.  Why do we create? 

The history of graffiti is a fascinating one, and one that is alive and thriving today.  As a form of contemporary art it has become quite popular and has even made its way indoors to be sold in many noteworthy galleries across the world.  Graffiti writers have been invited by public officials, private institutions and individuals to come and write on their walls.  But, what do you tell a student who wants to learn graffiti?  Encourage them to look at it.  Soak in everything you can-- learn from the masters, notice all of the things we teach in the art room coming into play.  Design, plan, practice, and know the law.  Look up your local laws on vandalism and destruction of property, and choose your location wisely.  Spray your own walls, spray on canvas, and ask permission.  Many communities are embracing graffiti and street art alike and have created public space specifically for this purpose.  Encourage young artists to seek out these types of locations and create a plan of action.  Research other artists that have used the space and discuss site specific work.  This can be a great opportunity to talk about public art and communicating an important message.

Newseum_Berlin Wall                                  Newseum, Berlin Wall

We are lucky in the greater Boston area to have a wonderful space called Richard B. “Rico” Modica’s Way in Cambridge, right in the heart of Central Square.   At any given day (yes even during daylight hours) artists and writers alike are encouraged to leave their mark.  Its a fascinating and ever-changing location always alive with color, lines and textures that will keep you wanting more.  Notable artists such as Shepherd Fairey, Swoon, Fish McGill and many others have used this wall as a canvas- it is a great example of the community coming together to embrace a style of artwork that is popular and public.

Modica Way 1 Modica Way 2
               Modica Way 1                                Modica Way 2
Modica Way 3Modica Way 3

Modica Way 4Modica Way 4

The city of Los Angeles, CA has been surrounded by some controversy when it comes to public works on both public and private buildings.  It seems the city and the artists are constantly struggling to get along. In an effort to communicate their point, many artists and writers came together to stage a protest, or you could say it was a pretty creative solution: write it in the air!  

More info can be found at:
http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/lanow/2011/09/graffiti-artist-takes-his-art-and-message-to-the-sky.html

Watch the video of the sky being tagged here:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2eD2YphmN0w&feature=player_embedded

Great book on American Graffiti:
R. Gastman & C. Neelon (2010). The History of American Graffiti. New York: Harper Design.

5 Pointz Graffiti Mecca in NYC: www.5ptz.com

Graffiti in a gallery:
http://dailydujour.com/2011/11/18/seen-pose-for-white-wash-known-gallery/

Graffiti meets photojournalism:
http://www.time.com/time/photogallery/0,29307,2099542,00.html?iid=lb-photos

Graffiti writer Risk:  www.riskrock.com

Caleb Neelon:  http://calebneelon.com/

Graffiti writer Saber: http://saberone.com/

More on street art and graffiti to come!

-Kristi Oliver

LOOKING AROUND:  GRAFFITI

*This post does not support unlawful acts

 

This week I have been looking around for things, since most of my belongings are still in cardboard boxes from the move, it seems that I am looking more than usual.  I began looking around online as well for resources and events related to the trip to New York City I will be taking next weekend and found a place called 5 Pointz. 

5 Pointz is a graffiti mecca.  It is located in Long Island City, New York and is an outdoor exhibit space- specifically artists or “writers” can apply for a permit to utilize this 200,000 sq. ft. factory as a canvas for their own expression.  What a wonderful place!  The youtube coverage is extensive, you can find videos of the ever changing scenery and look up your favorite writers as the location attracts many notable graffiti writers as well as celebrities and hip-hop artists. 

 

How do you talk about graffiti with your students?  As a high school teacher this topic comes up quite frequently- is it “OK” to tag your locker at school in the name of artistic expression?  If graffiti is a form of art, then why can’t I tag all over the desks, walls, bathroom stalls, and office windows while at school?  It’s a public building after all…. doesn’t that mean that I own it??  I think I have heard all the arguments, but it can lead to a productive discussion about the difference between graffiti and vandalism.  And ask the question, what is the difference? 

 

Gastman and Neelon (2010) state “as soon as humans figured out how to write on things we did it.  Graffiti-- in its original definition as a scratched or written public marking-- is considered to be the first example of human art.” How can we say the very first example of human art is no longer valid today?  Or that it cannot be done in school?  Are there ways to include this type of art into the curriculum while still obeying the law?  Why has graffiti become considered vandalism?  Many people associate vandalism with malicious acts, deliberate defacement and destruction of property-- I would be willing to bet that most graffiti writers think the value of the property goes up as opposed to destruction once something is written upon.  On the other hand, do you want your home covered in graffiti? 

 

Is there a happy medium?  When viewing graffiti writing there is an undeniable artistic intent.  The pieces display composition and use of the elements and principles of design all while exploring typographic effects and letterform.  There is often sketching and planning involved and artists display various degree of skill with aerosol media.  What possesses people to leave their mark?  Cavemen sprayed around their own hands to leave their “tag” to have a record for future humans to discover and relate to.  I believe the same need still lives within us today-- and comes across in varying forms of art.  Why do we create? 

 

The history of graffiti is a fascinating one, and one that is alive and thriving today.  As a form of contemporary art it has become quite popular and has even made its way indoors to be sold in many noteworthy galleries across the world.  Graffiti writers have been invited by public officials, private institutions and individuals to come and write on their walls.  But, what do you tell a student who wants to learn graffiti?  Encourage them to look at it.  Soak in everything you can-- learn from the masters, notice all of the things we teach in the art room coming into play.  Design, plan, practice, and know the law.  Look up your local laws on vandalism and destruction of property, and choose your location wisely.  Spray your own walls, spray on canvas, and ask permission.  Many communities are embracing graffiti and street art alike and have created public space specifically for this purpose.  Encourage young artists to seek out these types of locations and create a plan of action.  Research other artists that have used the space and discuss site specific work.  This can be a great opportunity to talk about public art and communicating an important message. 

 

We are lucky in the greater Boston area to have a wonderful space called Richard B. “Rico” Modica’s Way in Cambridge, right in the heart of Central Square.   At any given day (yes even during daylight hours) artists and writers alike are encouraged to leave their mark.  Its a fascinating and ever-changing location always alive with color, lines and textures that will keep you wanting more.  Notable artists such as Shepherd Fairey, Swoon, Fish McGill and many others have used this wall as a canvas- it is a great example of the community coming together to embrace a style of artwork that is popular and public.

 

The city of Los Angeles, CA has been surrounded by some controversy when it comes to public works on both public and private buildings.  It seems the city and the artists are constantly struggling to get along. In an effort to communicate their point, many artists and writers came together to stage a protest, or you could say it was a pretty creative solution: write it in the air! 

More info can be found at:

http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/lanow/2011/09/graffiti-artist-takes-his-art-and-message-to-the-sky.html

 

Watch the video of the sky being tagged here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2eD2YphmN0w&feature=player_embedded

 

Great book on American Graffiti:

R. Gastman & C. Neelon (2010). The History of American Graffiti. New York: Harper         Design.

 

5 Pointz Graffiti Mecca in NYC: www.5ptz.com

 

Graffiti in a gallery:

http://dailydujour.com/2011/11/18/seen-pose-for-white-wash-known-gallery/

 

Graffiti meets photojournalism:

http://www.time.com/time/photogallery/0,29307,2099542,00.html?iid=lb-photos

 

Graffiti writer Risk:  www.riskrock.com

 

Caleb Neelon:  http://calebneelon.com/

 

Graffiti writer Saber: http://saberone.com/

 

 

More on street art and graffiti to come!

-  Kristi Oliver

Monday 07. 9.12

MOVING…The next street over.

This week my husband and I became homeowners and have been moving into our new home.

Oliver new home

I keep telling myself that it is just one street over from where we live now, so everything should be simple and easy. I can keep shopping at the same grocery store, I will have the same commute to work and these things I find comforting despite the many changes that are about to occur. I am suddenly feeling a tremendous amount of pressure as an artist to create a home that is not only beautiful but functional for our family. It certainly is a great design problem! Where do I begin? At the hardware store staring at the paint chips…. At IKEA looking at the living spaces set up for inspiration? Or, just searching for things that I enjoy? Would it be OK to have the whole house blue, purple and lime green?? Why do I keep coming back to these colors? So many things to think about and so many decisions to make, not to mention the pressure I am putting upon myself to make the right choices.

I began to think about what I would ask my students to do when faced with a similar problem. I would likely ask them to gather inspiration and create a plan of action, so that is exactly what I did! A few months ago my friend and colleague, Sarah Dugan introduced me to the wonderful world of Pinterest. For those of you who are not familiar, it is a virtual pinboard where you can gather, search and organize pretty much anything. It is being used to connect people all over the world who have common interests and is incredibly practical for all sorts of projects. You can share, upload, organize, search and add descriptions to help yourself and others keep images and information organized- without printing everything out. 

I created pinboards titled: For the Home, Bath and Bubbles, Kitchen Ideas, My Style, Yummmmmm, and Products I Love. 

Screen Shot 2012-07-08 at 4.45.29 PM

This has been an incredible help when deciding on how to organize and add color to my new home. It is also a great tool for classroom use. I just began a new board called “Photo Inspiration” where I add photographs that I love and will open this board to my students who have been assigned to find inspirations throughout the summer. Students enrolled in AP Studio Art: 2-D Design are creating their portfolios in Photography, and will find this a useful tool to share their inspirations with others in the class. Students are asked to check in four times throughout the summer and will be asked to post their images for sharing on this pinboard. This will allow other students to comment and I will be able to answer questions and provide links to help students further understand techniques or context behind the photos they post as inspiration.

Additionally, students are asked to answer the following questions along with their inspirations:
•  Where did you find it?
•  What is it? (be specific)
•  What aspects of this piece inspire you? What aspects are you drawn to, or do you find interesting? (be specific)
•  What did you learn from this? What surprised you? 
•  What can you gain from this piece and use to make your own work stronger? 
•  What is the theme or purpose of this piece, can you use this to inspire a new piece of art?
•  What ideas do you have for your own future work?
•  What questions do you have about this “thing”?

For students learning and creating in the 21st century, many are already using digital means of gathering inspiration. Many of my students are self-proclaimed Tumblr addicts, and Pinterest will be an easy transition as it allows students to “pin” from Tumblr and many other online sources as well as allow them to organize their “favorites” into themes for future reference. They will also have the capability of sharing their pins and boards directly as you can use Twitter or Facebook to login to Pinterest, making it easy to share inspirations with their growing social network. And…the Pinterest app makes creating pins and boards from any location super easy and efficient! If you see something you like while out, just snap a photo and upload it directly to your pinboard! 

Gathering and organizing ideas and inspirations can be useful in many ways. Students can search for works of art based on themes for upcoming assignments, or by media and techniques. It is also a great forum to have students curate an online show. The description section can be utilized as an artist statement or description of the show and the individual labels can be used to help students practice writing museum labels. And best of all, they can share their exhibitions with the world! Never struggle for inspiration - it is truly all around you, and now you will have a place to keep all of your ideas organized! 

-Kristi Oliver

Sunday 07. 1.12

LOOKING BACK & MOVING FORWARD

At Marlborough High School in MA this has been quite the tumultuous year. With some challenging and very public leadership issues affecting our daily routines, I am incredibly proud of all of our students who remained respectful and positive throughout the entire ordeal. This experience had me thinking about leadership, and its importance in setting a solid example for our students. How do we as teachers provide the support students need in the classroom as well as in life situations?

IMG_0181_400px
One of the new things instituted this past year was a program called Advisory, allowing an extra homeroom period once every eight days. These meetings typically included healthy snacks and some ice breaking activities followed by a discussion. Topics such as bullying, school spirit, traditions, cultural awareness, respect, class scheduling, and goal setting were introduced to students and exercises were prepared to help students explore ideas. Prior to this year, I had a few of these students in class, but this really provided an opportunity to know each other as a group on a much deeper level. Advisory provided a safe space for students to share, learn, question, and listen to each other.   

One of the most rewarding and eye-opening sessions was focused around goal setting. At first students were reluctant to share their life goals, and for some of these 10th grade students, they really did not know what they wanted to explore after high school. At one point a student asked “Olive, do you think this goals thing really works?” and I immediately exclaimed “YES!  I know it does!” And without thinking I dove into parts of my personal history, explaining that when I was in 10th grade I didn’t even know college was an option, and once I realized that I wanted to teach art, that became my goal. I went on to explain how once in college at U. Mass Dartmouth I had to work incredibly hard to catch up (as I had not taken many art courses in high school) and in doing so I was able to earn top grades, and that led to my new goal of achieving high grades throughout my time in college. I went on and on and on…. recounting meaningful points in my life and how goal setting has helped me to stay focused and moving forward in a positive way. During this period I helped the students come up with short and long term goals, action plans and checklists to help them succeed in the things they deemed important. Their goals ranged from wanting to be a surgeon, to helping others, to becoming the best soft ball pitcher on the team, to learning how to draw. And, since I see these students daily, they also gained a built-in cheerleader that will check in with them and help with resources and support as they work towards their goals. These students commented that they now feel supported, respected and confident that they can achieve anything they set out to accomplish.

As a teacher in a Race to the Top district moving towards a new teacher evaluation system, teachers will be asked to create goals for themselves and implement these goals in the classroom setting. Specifically, the new system asks teachers to create SMART goals that are multi-faceted and most importantly, measurable. Here are some helpful tips to consider when setting goals:

S= Specific
M= Measurable
A= Attainable
R= Relevant
T= Time Bound

• Big overarching goals are great, but if they are not attainable break them down into smaller more manageable pieces and work through one step at a time.

• Create to-do lists!  This is an incredibly powerful tool to stay organized, keep your focus and stay on track even if it is a little at a time. This will also help you prioritize items on your list and the goals you are working towards.

• Stay in control. Choose goals you can achieve with factors you have control over. Ask for help if needed and don’t give up!

• Stay positive!  Write your goals in a positive manner and be open to revising as necessary. Set realistic stepping stones to help you get to your goal. 

Goals are a powerful tool that can help students and teachers alike in achieving success in anything you wish to accomplish.  I hope you are all taking the summer to reflect, recharge and plan for the coming year!

-Kristi Oliver