Saturday, June 13, 2015

FAAE Leadership Summit-

The FAAE, Florida Arts Alliance, leadership Summit was SUCH an awesome way to kick off the summer for SO many reasons!  The theme this year was ABC- Achievement, Business, Community.
This was the first year I have gotten to attend.
  At first, because I was asked to present along with a music teacher cohort who also took part in the year long FAAE Art/Technology/ESE project, I was a little stressed trying to finish up my art room while ALSO preparing presentation materials for our session, titled Using Technology to Differentiate Arts Instruction for ESE students.  Honestly, it really was not too bad, since I had prepared materials that were similar for the FAEA conference.  I basically just took that Powerpoint and adjusted it to go along with the programs and info that we were going to introduce.
See the Presentation here

When we first arrived, my cohort Michelle, and I went to check out the room we were presenting in- which was, to my relief, small and intimate.  I have yet to present to a large conference room type setting and the thought of being in front of such a large crowd is a little intimidating.  We got our computers hooked up and checked the sound.  We were both going to discuss our experience with the ESE/Arts program and then present the tech tools we liked and used the most along with our projects that would be submitted to CPALMS- the Florida Curriculum site.

After we got everything hooked up- we went for lunch and then attended the Keynote Speaker/Welcome session.  There we got to make a lot of great connections and enjoy several performances from Satellite High School in Brevard County which is one of the Florida Arts Models schools for arts integration.

I also got to meet the FAAE president Enrique Puig, who is also the Director of the Morgridge Internnational Reading Center in UCF.  The teachers involved in the Arts/ESE program had one of our face to face sessions there and it is a BEAUTIFUL facility- designed as a model 21st century learning space with movable furniture and the latest high tech educational equipment. 

I also found out and got to meet the Florida Teacher of the year who just so happens to be an ELEMENTARY ART TEACHER!!! How cool is that!?  Her name is Christie Bassett from Highland Grove Elementary School in Polk county.  Apparently she is in the running for National teacher of the Year and I really hope she gets it.

The whole day was such a great experience and here are some of the ideas/things that have me excited to incorporate next year:

-ARTS integration- I got to meet some great Magnet Arts school teachers who shared so many ideas and resources that I am excited to use next year to truly incorporate art into the regular curriculum.

-REMIND app- I have used this app for a long time but I got to see how an awesome teacher, Nancy Brilliant, uses it with her students to pass along info through text messages.  I plan on using it A LOT more next year!
- Business partners-  I really plan on trying to build relationships with the businesses/companies in my community.  I saw and heard so many great stories on how big the impact can be when the arts are integrated with the community- it not only helps build your arts program but also helps the businesses connect with its customer base/families. 

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

National Flip Flop Day

YAY !! It's summer!  Woo hoo!  Last year one of my end of the year art lessons was the Elements of Art flip flops and my students really enjoyed it!  As I mentioned earlier we also made flip flops again this year but I tied it into a really cool event that Tropical Smoothie came up with called National Flip Flop day, which is June 19th this year.  So basically- all you have to do is wear your flippy floppies to your closest Tropical Smoothie and you get- A FREE SMOOTHIE and you can make a charitable donation of 5 bucks to a great cause called Camp Sunshine!   Now I do recommend going EARLY because the tropical smoothie near my house had a line out the door when I went last year...Just an FYI!  Have Fun!

Art room is finally finished!

I am fairly sure I was the last teacher at my school to finish cleaning and organizing their room for the summer. The teacher's last day was Friday but it has taken me until this afternoon to finally finish. My storage room was in desperate need of purging. And I am just not good at organizing.  I am so bad that I really want to read one of those  organization books like the magic of tidying up over the summer.
I think organization  needs to be something you are taught at an early age...and honestly I think my parents preferred to just clean up our messes themselves rather than having us make more of a mess.
Well after two long EXTRA days of cleaning, tossing, organizing and agonizing -here is a panoramic picture of my mostly completed room.
I say MOSTLY because I still feel like I need to work on my storage room but our maintenance manager  had to literally kick all teachers out after today.  I did manage to get rid of ALot of magazines I did not use last year, styrofoam trays, plastic cups, and a TON of wallpaper (I still have literally 3 boxes full of the stuff!).   I basically tossed or purged things I didn't use at all last year.  I also got rid of a lot of cardboard that I hadn't used.

But even with all that ...I still feel like there's more to do and on top of that- I want a SYSTEM that will help me keep up the organization throughout the year so I am not dealing with a gargantuan mess at the end of the year. which gives me the sinking feeling that I will have to deal with it during prep landing which is a stressful time already.   I also brought a lot of bins of things I thought I would use for summer camp and over the summer for my own basically I better make some cool art this summer or all that moving stuff to my house will be a waste of time. (Yes- I am playing mind tricks with myself to keep me motivated ;))

I also talked to my vice principal about setting up some times for some training sessions I would like to facilitate next year. I am our school's webmaster so I need to hold a training for Wordpress which is the platform we use in my district for official teacher web pages.   Here is my school site in case you are interested- it has some great links on my "Links to My favorite web resources' page.  My School Web Page
I will also be holding a training on the PBS digital media resources that goes along with my shiny title- PBS digital innovator 2015 that I was awarded with back in April..

Saturday, June 6, 2015


I don't know about you, but I feel excited and less pressure on the last days of school since there are no tests or art shows to worry about preparing for.  So I chose a cute bunch of first graders to be my 'guinea pigs' for a really cool application that I have heard about and was excited to try called PLICKERS! Plickers basically allows you to create PAPER- clickers.  I got to see a third grade teacher using the mimio clickers two years ago during a math lesson and it was great.  The teacher could easily ask a question to gauge the whole class' understanding and see results immediately.  The clickers are small hand held devices that usually have buttons for choices a-d that students can select during a question.  Each student is assigned a number and once they record their answer choice the teacher can access the data.

I really wanted to try using them in art because I KNOW when I am presenting info about artists or an art element or standard, there are MANY students that are 'checked out' or clearly not paying attention or interested.  The clicker allows you to address that and requires the students to be accountable for their understanding.   Unfortunately there were only a limited supply of the class clicker sets and I really did not want to deprive any interested classroom teachers. 

Then this year I discovered

the magic of PLICKERS!!!
This is a free app that teachers can get that can do all the things that clickers do without the actually clickers.  Teachers only have to print out a paper 'clicker' that has a number and a symbol that resembles a QR code and the four letter choices.  I printed one set and plan on laminating them to use for next year.

Setting up your classes online on is a little more challenging if you are a resource teacher and have multiple classes like I do.  Luckily, if you have student names and class lists on an excel spreadsheet- it is pretty easy to copy and paste them onto the plickers site.  SO I only set up a few of the classes and it was really a snap.  So to prepare to use them with my first graders, I copied their names into plickers and they were assigned a number.  When they came to class, I explained that I needed their help trying a new cool app, and they were happy to 'help' their poor old art teacher try new tech stuff.  So I displayed their class plicker page on the projector so they could see their assigned number and then passed out their paper clicker.  
I also set up ahead of time, a few simple questions in a multiple choice format.  The questions were basically "What type of art do you like best?  A drawing B. painting C. sculpture D. collage  ?"  (I heard several cuties say COLLEGE?  what college?!) LOL

Once I read a question I showed them how to turn their card depending on which answer choice they picked.  A few kids took a minute to catch on but most LOVED it and wanted me to keep giving more questions- (even though I had only set up four)  As they held up their plicker- I would walk around and can their plicker with my iPad using the plicker app.  IT WAS really great!  and I can't wait to use it again next year!

Monday, June 1, 2015

Art Criticism made easy with Artsonia!

I have absolutely fallen in love with Artsonia this year.  I first began using years and years ago for lesson plans and ideas for  art projects.  This year is the first year that I started my own school museum and began uploading student artwork as they finished and IT HAS BEEN AWESOME!! Not only did it help us earn over $200 for art supplies easily, but it has been the easiest way that I have seen to meet the standards for art criticism at the elementary level.  I always got so much out of my art critiques in college.  I remember at the end of a grading period, everyone putting their drawings or paintings on the critique wall.  As  a group we would analyze each piece and give suggestions/thoughts/ideas.  It was an awesome and exciting artistic experience.  I could never find a way to manage it with elementary students because of the schedule (short class periods and non existent transition time).  Having 5 or less minutes to find, hang 20 pieces of art and have it ready to discuss was just not manageable for me.  Artsonia organizes artwork into exhibits and then also allows each student to have their own gallery- so with a couple clicks I can have all the artwork displayed on the board and students can access it from their devices easily!   It also has been great for accountability and seeing which students are having difficulty finishing projects. 

So in the last week or so ALL students who bring their devices are logging onto Artsonia- entering a personal artist statement (what they like/learned)  then are supposed to TAG another student's artwork.  TAG means Tell what you like, ask a question or give a positive suggestion.  It has BEEN awesome to really see the students use such higher order thinking skills and expressing their thoughts verbally with their peers online.  So I made this video to show students how to log on- and I HIGHLY recommend using Artsonia for all art teachers!  It is the bEST!