Monthly Mentor

Sandra (Sandy) Cress (February)
Each month, a different member and NAEA awardee is the guest writer for the NAEA Monthly Mentor Blog. Cress is in her third year of teaching in public schools and is currently an art educator in a rural K-8 school in West Virginia. She has been a member of NAEA since she was a student in college and has served as treasurer on the West Virginia Art Education Association Board of Directors since 2012. Click "GO" to read her full bio.

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« January 2019 | Main

Wednesday 02.20.19

Limerick Painted

By Sandra Cress

Although my first blog was a limerick, I am NOT a poet. The limerick was a cold-challenge to myself to make an introduction to this group of creative, open-minded thinkers.

In the event my novice poetry isn't as successful as I thought it was when I posted it, I will explain it.

 

She’s an art teacher named Sandy Cress

This line is not just a statement that Captain Obvious might make, it’s also there to let you know that I am not a poet; that I don’t even rank as a novice poet.

 

She has a small classroom that’s quite a mess.
She teaches K- Eight
It must be her fate
for it slathers her palette with happiness.

With these lines, I wanted to let you know that, no matter how much I struggle with trying to make it otherwise, my space is perpetually cluttered and messy with an ever-evolving inventory of my own and other peoples trash.

My yogurt cups are a staple receptacle used for paint, crayons, pencil sharpener shavings, dead marker body parts, and approximately, 1,083 other items.

Eighty percent of my art supplies were trash in their recently departed previous life. And it sometimes gets mistaken for what it was in its previous life by other staff, substitute custodians, and new students!

My mess issue is caused by a perpetual battle between my intellect and conscience. Although my intellect loudly disagrees my conscience feels that it must help solve the worlds waste problem by reusing or reinventing the trash of every single human and business that I come in contact with.

It’s kind of like this common issue that many of us have had. You know when you tell someone that you like something like:

hats or

matchbooks or

shot glasses or

things with chickens printed on it

or real chickens

and then everyone who knows and loves you, including your students and colleagues, starts collecting these items (or animals) for you and you aren’t able to tell them that you do like them but you really don’t want anymore.  And you waited too long and if you tell them now you are afraid they will feel bad. Then your house is so engorged with the items (or animals) that your house is the “poster child” for a reality show called “People Who Only Look Like Hoarders, But Just Have Lots of Wonderful Friends Who Like to Give.”

Yes. It’s like that, except:

  1. It’s your art room, not your house.
  2. At school your donor base is exponentially multiplied because they include your colleagues and students and all of their parents, friend’s grandparents, friends, and friends of friends of each who are within driving distance.
  3. This is trash, not trinkets and you refuse to let it go into the landfill without taking heroic measures to divert it from that “ending”.

 

Cross-Curricular Addition:

We shall explain HOW X, which EQUALS A Classroom That's Quite A Mess, came to be:

Screen Shot 2019-02-20 at 9.27.59 PM

Although, I am only in my second year of teaching K-8, I have never felt so at home as I do with these students and the team that I work with.

I don’t know if it is fate, luck, destiny, chance, good timing or consequence. It may be all of those, but only “fate” rhymes with “eight”, so fate does it make.

 

She teaches K- Eight
It must be her fate
for it slathers her palette with happiness.

While long seeking out her career,
She tried electrician, welder and cashier
She’s older, wrinklier and wiser.
And now she’s lead creative advisor
on how to invent like Di Vinci and paint like Vermeer.

 

I was a first generation college student who went to college right out of high school for only one semester and dropped out. I never learned how to study and that made my core classes impossible to pass. I could have made it, but I never learned to ask for help.

In the 10 years between when I dropped out as a freshman and went back to college, I learned to do a lot of really cool things. I switched jobs a lot because once I felt like there was nothing more there for me to learn, my co-workers were hard to work with, or there was no advancement possible, I would seek out something new to learn.

I am nearly twice the age of some of my colleagues and they have the same amount of career time logged, and I also have a wiser approach to many life skills that help me to be an enriching teacher.

 

She’s good at collecting art materials
Like boxes that once were for cereals
With this the kids will innovate
While using said trash to create
A sculptural gadget that may grip, grind or peel.

Much science is used in her Art Lab
Where risks and mistakes are encouraged

 

My childhood of poverty caused me to become inventive and creative. Although, I do not claim to be near his realm of being genius, I can relate to his insatiable desire to learn, figure out, invent, and create.

My eco conscience and awareness of the impact of the ripple that I make drives me to practice and maintain the awareness of environmental, social, and emotional health. This practice becomes a part of my classroom environment and my lessons.

I have a child-like love of and excitement for learning and it shows in my teaching and wears off on my students.

I wear a white Lab coat because my art room feels like an art LAB. We are constantly having spontaneous opportunities experiment with trash. And even when are outcome isn’t one that we really wanted we still end with a positive outcome, because my students have embraced the consequences that come with taking a challenge.


She experimented with a professional bio        
With rhythm, cadence and rhymo.
It’s light and its fun, and it’s how she keeps her kids from being discouraged.

 

This unusual bio is me following a self-challenge to write a limerick as a bio. A limerick is fun, can be rhythmic, and quirky; they can deliver a heavy message, while creating a light. They can use the humor and fun to deliver and make a heavy message more bearable. And that is what I try to do in my classroom. I try to make learning happen while being enjoyable. Which causes kids to be drawn into the fun before they even realize that they are accomplishing things they didn’t think they could do.

Now that it is explained a critique is necessary.

Do you have a favorite critique format that you like to use? If so, try using it on the poem and share the results in the comments.

-SC

Monday 02. 4.19

She’s an art teacher...

By Sandra Cress

She’s an art teacher named Sandy Cress
She has a small classroom that’s quite a mess.
She teaches K- Eight
It must be her fate
for it slathers her palette with happiness.

While long seeking out her career,
She tried electrician, welder and cashier
She’s older, wrinklier and wiser.
And now she’s lead creative advisor
on how to invent like Di Vinci and paint like Vermeer.

She’s good at collecting art materials
Like boxes that once were for cereals
With this the kids will innovate
While using said trash to create
A sculptural gadget that may grip, grind or peel.

Much science is used in her Art Lab
Where risks and mistakes are encouraged
She experimented with a professional bio        
With rhythm, cadence and rhymo.
It’s light and its fun, and it’s how she keeps her kids from being discouraged.

- SC