Monthly Mentor

Natalie C. Jones (February)
Each month, a different member is the guest writer for the NAEA Monthly Mentor Blog. Natalie C. Jones is an artist, small business owner, and the director of education at the Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts + Culture. She has 10 years of experience working as an art teacher and teaching artist throughout the east coast and the Midwest. Click "GO" to read her full bio.

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April 16, 2018

One Tool to Reach All Four National Visual Arts Standards

From: Nichole Hahn

Our National Visual Art Standards have encouraged us as Visual Art Teachers to create an experience for our students that allows them to create, present, respond, and connect. In most Art experiences, the process of creating can easily be obtained. Presenting is a natural consequence of creating and therefore, often obtained with ease by Visual Arts Curriculum. I have found the most challenging part of our National Art Standards is the connect and respond aspects of the standards.

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I would imagine many of the Art Teachers reading this have similar situations to me. In my district, in the elementary setting, students have a 6 day rotation that allows students to have Art Class 28 times in the year. Our middle school (6th grade through 8th grade) allows them to have one quarter of Art each year, roughly 45 days. In high school, Art is an elective and if students continue to practice the Visual Arts in school, they will have class 90 times in a school year. So where do we find time to create connection and respond?

I would like to share my favorite way to respond and connect. I have found a tool that works well in my setting and perhaps will in yours too. I used Seesaw in my classroom to quickly share the deeper processes of the Visual Arts with the stakeholders of my classroom (the parents of the students I teach). It works to explain what a modern Visual Art classroom looks like and therefore advocates your program LOUDLY!

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Seesaw is an app that can work on both apple and android. It is like a Facebook account between the classroom and the guardians of the students in my classroom. It is private to only you, the other teachers on the account (other specialist, homeroom teachers…), the students and the students guardians. More information about this app can be found here, but I want to talk to you mostly about how I use this app with some of my youngest Artist.

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Many times after students are finished with their projects I have them record their thoughts about their project using Seesaw. Students use an iPad, take a picture of their work and often they are required to say specific things about their process. This allows students to explain their process, parents to understand the work coming home a bit better, and allows me to assess students work in a very authentic way. Here is a post about ‘training’ students how to use Seesaw and here is a post with students actually reflecting on their ‘Clay-d-bug’ project and another on their ‘Farm Animal’ project.

Here are the tools I have that make Seesaw a successful application for my classroom. I am fortunate to currently have 10 iPads in my classroom. However, I did use seesaw on only two iPads in the past (here was my set up). I have a set of headphones with a microphone for each iPad and a iPad stand (from Justand) that is beneficial, but not a necessary tool. My school is also a ‘Seesaw School’ K-2 (and boy do I wish it was K-8). This means that we have paid for the service, class lists are loaded in and managed by the app. Helpful, but again, not necessary. I have used the free version for classes as well and this is a great option when just trying this out.

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The only reason I share this tool with you in this post is because I think it is the most bang for your buck. If kids are trained as a whole school, Seesaw become second nature to students. It’s a digital portfolio, an advocacy tool, and a assessment tool all in one. It’s a way to quickly communicate with parents and it gives voice to your students. They are responding and connecting their creations by presenting it to their parents. WOW… All four standards in one little tool… not bad.

 -NH

Comments

Katie Curry

I cannot wait to implement this when I become a teacher! This looks so helpful and would be a great way to get the parents/guardians involved in the classroom.

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