Teachers around the world are taking their lessons online. Teaching art from home is a challenge, but when we work together, it gets a lot easier. Learn about some of the free distance learning resources art teachers are sharing in this episode.
Hello and welcome to The Art Class Curator Podcast. I am Cindy Ingram, your host and the founder of Art Class Curator and the Curated Connections Library. We’re here to talk about teaching art with purpose and inspiration from the daily delight to creativity to the messy mishaps that come with being a teacher. Whether you’re driving home from school or cleaning up your classroom for the 15th time today, take a second, take a deep breath, relax those shoulders and let’s get started.
Hello everybody. It’s Cindy Ingram from Art Class Curator, and I am back with another bathroom episode of The Art Class Curator Podcast because that is the quietest place in my house right now to record an episode. My husband is working from home and we are sharing an office. And usually I kick him out when I want to make recordings, but I could not do that because he has a meeting at the same time so we’re here in the bathroom. That’s life now.
I want to, first, in this episode share with you a couple of things we’ve got going on with Art Class Curator that we’re super excited about. And then I want to talk about a lot of the creative ideas that I have been seeing with the online learning thing because a lot of us are now being forced to take our classrooms online. I talked last week a little bit about the importance of connecting with your students, calling them, making sure you’re checking in, and not as much about the curriculum.
What I want to talk about today is more about your curriculum and the ideas that you might be doing or using. And I have to say I have been blown away this week with… Well, I’ll be posting this episode on Monday. It’s Friday right now. Nothing like waiting until the last minute, but I have just really been blown away this week with the creativity and the love and just the creative problem-solving that I’m seeing with teachers and educators administration across the world. It’s really, really blown me away.
There was a time this week even that… The district that my kids go to are starting their online learning next week and I was watching a video that my daughter’s middle school was posting just about laptop checkout. They have Chromebooks at their school that they use and so we could go pick them up. And I was just like, right in the middle of that video… It’s a pretty short video, but they were cute about it and they were being silly and the assistant principal was dancing in the background. And I was like, you know what? I just got an immense wave of gratitude for all of these people who are… I’m starting to tear up about it now. But all these people who are out here solving problems. How are we getting kids fed? How are we getting kids educated? How are we supporting the mental needs of the kids and emotional needs of the kids? They’re thinking through all of this.
And it’s such a burden on all of us, but it’s also just, I cannot be more grateful to all of the teachers and administrators out there that are going through this for the sake of our kids. And I know you’re worried and you would rather be in there with them, but I know that our kids are in such good hands. I really do. So thank you for all you’re doing. If you don’t hear that enough, thank you so much. We’re all too going to get a sense of gratitude from parents who realize all that we do and maybe teachers are going to be seen in a new light coming soon, so we’ll see.
Alright. Well, let’s move on before I start crying about how amazing you all are more because I already have tears on my face, so I’m going to move on. The first thing I want to tell you about is we are putting on an online conference. I have to tell you, the last episode that I made, I came here and I didn’t know what I was going to say and I just sort of started talking because I think I needed to verbally process everything. I was in a really state of like flight, fight or freeze. Last week I was in freeze. I was just terrified. And what I did to get out of that is I just kind of processed it through the podcast and that really helped shake out some of the anxiety that I was feeling and sent me into kind of a plan of action.
We created our Instagram challenge, which I told you about last week. I am loving the Instagram challenge. It is just totally giving me life. Go to my Instagram, instagram.com/artclasscurator to get the You Need Art Challenge. Everyday we’re posting a new challenge. We’re taking a break over the weekend because we realize this thing’s not going away, so we might as well pace ourselves a little bit. But the challenge have been anywhere from painting with coffee to posing like Chinese sculptures to finding artworks that make you feel. We’re just really giving a wide range of types of things that you can do with students, and you can take those challenges and send them to your kids. In our minds when we’re creating those, I’m thinking, “Okay, can a child do this too?’ My daughter has been having fun. We can get the challenges too in thinking about what she would do. She hasn’t actually done any of them yet. I’m not making them do any schoolwork this week, so anywho.
The other thing which I started to say… I’m a little bit
squirrely right now, but, is we’re putting on a conference. So NAEA was canceled. I was set to present twice in NAEA and I know a lot of people really look forward to NAEA as a place to connect and see your colleagues and feel less alone, actually get relevant professional development instead of the things that we’re stuck into at our school districts. And I just was feeling a big void with that. I had already started to talk to some of my friends who were going to be there. We were already starting to make plans and then instead we got the rug swept out from underneath us.
What I decided to do was to throw together an unconference, a virtual conference, a virtual online summit where a lot of people can come together, share ideas with presentations and fill a little bit of that gap that we are feeling with the cancellation of NAEA. This is not an NAEA program, but it’s something to help us feel a little bit like we can get some of that back.
This conference is called Call to Art, an Unconference for Art Educators. You can register at artclasscurator.com/calltoart. And if you forget, just go to Art Class Curator and this will be in the show notes. You can also check any of our social media and you’ll find links to it there too. And it is a free conference. For the entire week of March 30th through April 3rd, we will have three to five or more depending on if I get some more presenters, which I’ll tell you about in a minute, online sessions.
Everybody’s recording their presentations and you’ll have access to them all week and the following week, and we will have some areas for chatting about the content in our Facebook group. It’s just a really a fun way to pull together, share ideas and I’m super, super excited about it. I already have, I think, 18 presenters at the time of recording, although I am getting more. So if you are interested in presenting at Call to Art, please send me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. There is a form. If you’re on our email list you would have gotten the link to the form when we announced it, but you can also send me an email if you can’t find that and I’ll also put a link in the show notes.
But if you have a topic to share, anything related to teaching art, especially anything related to online teaching, but it doesn’t have to be just online teaching. I left it open so that we could have a range of types of things because you’re going to go back in the classroom eventually, so a lot of it we can still learn from each other too. I’m super excited. Please join us at artclasscurator.com/calltoart. Again, it’s a free conference and it starts a week from when I post this podcast. And so that will be on March the 30th that it begins. Super, super exciting.
Okay, so let’s talk about the content of today’s lesson. First, I want to share with you what I’m recommending for how to do an online lesson. I think this is an amazing, amazing opportunity to incorporate, and of course you know I’m going to say this because I’m Art Class Curator, is to incorporate more works of art into your classroom because your students might not have access to all their art supplies. You’re not there to help them with their art technique, that you can only do so much when you’re separated from them. However, they can interpret art, they can connect with art, and you can use this as an opportunity to do that.
What we’re recommending in the membership of the Curated Connections Library is to take our artwork of the week lesson. We have over a hundred of these lessons, artwork of the week lessons, and in them there’s a PowerPoint, there’s a lesson plan, there’s like three to five engagement activities related to them, and then there’s extensions that are like art project ideas too. And all of the worksheets for the engagement activities are in there, which are in DOC format and PDF format, so they’re really easily transferred into Google Docs with that Word Doc.
And so what we’re recommending is you pick an artwork for your week and then you, on day one, you introduce the artwork and have them do what we call The Spark Framework. And The Spark Framework is from Art Class Curator, and I’ll link to it in the show notes, but it’s see, perceive, ask an answer, reflect and know. And so they interpret the art with those prompts. There’s a worksheet that you can use, and so you do that on the first day. And then like days two and maybe three, you have them do one of the engaging activities. Maybe it’s a compare and contrast with another artwork, maybe it’s writing a poem about the art artwork. These are so wide ranging. A kinesthetic activity, anything sort of thing that helps them engage with the artwork in a different way rather than just answering questions about it.
And then do it for the rest of the week, having them do one of the extension projects, so a small art project that is related to the artwork. It’s not a copy of the artwork. We don’t ever put that in there. We don’t support that. But if the artwork is about community, maybe they do an artwork about community or if the artwork uses a lot of pattern, maybe they do an artwork that has a lot of pattern. Those are really simplified versions. But it’s a really easy structure and then every week you can do a new artwork.
That is what we’re recommending. And Jennifer, who is on our team, she’s been on the podcast before, Jennifer Easterling, that’s what she’s doing. She’s just setting it up. I talked to her yesterday and she was just setting it up for hers to start on Monday. And I asked her if she would make a video of how she’s doing it and how it’s going, so that should be coming along the pipeline sometime too.
They’re a really easy structure. You have to think too hard about it, but it’s meaningful. They’re doing something meaningful. It’s not busy work. I know a lot of our kids are going to be just filled with a lot of busy work over the next few weeks, and this is something that they can actually benefit from and they can learn from and they can connect with art in in new ways. We recommend that.
If you are interested in getting those artwork lessons, they are part of the membership, the Curated Connections Library Membership, which right now is completely open for enrollment. We usually have it closed this time of year, but we just decided to leave it open. So if you go to artclasscurator.com, you’ll see at the top there’s a link to it. There’s a link this has join, so you can head over there if you’re interested in checking out those lessons. We have over a hundred artwork lessons. They are really wide-ranging, women, diverse, other countries. We really make sure we include a wide range of types of art and they are all filterable by, say you want to a female artist from Africa. You click female, you click Africa and it’ll pull up what we have in the archive with those terms, so a lot of different options there.
That’s what we’re recommending, but I want to share with you some other creative ideas that I’ve been seeing on social media that I’ve been really inspired by. One of them is not necessarily an art project, but it is a community connection type of idea. One of my friends, her neighborhood… And you might’ve seen this. I’ve seen a couple neighborhoods post this. That they’re having a neighborhood challenge and then they put things in their windows so that as people are walking their dog or riding their bike, they can look at the window and see that the art from the window.
It might be not just art with this thing, but what she’s doing is they made a family window museum. They posted a little label and it has her last name and it says, Window Art Museum. And then they’re posting the art that the kids make in the window for their neighbors to see when their neighbors are walking by, and I just thought that was so, so clever. And that might even be something that you could do with your kids and you could say, “Put your art in your window,” and then maybe you at one point drive by and check it out. You can imagine that would make a student feel really special if they said, “Hey, we made this art museum in our window.” And then you said, “Yeah, I saw it,” and then you made a comment about it. Like, can you imagine how special that would make your student feel? Right now, they need all of that.
Another idea is Devin Calvert from Mr. Calvert’s Art Room. He’s also, I think, the president of Wisconsin Art Education Association. He is one of the speakers at The Call to Art. He is doing for his students an Artist of the Day and he’s posting a video every day for his students. And I think you can actually follow that online. I can see him. If I can find a link to that, I’ll post them in the show notes as well. But you probably can just send his videos onto them, I would imagine, because I think they’re public. I think that’s really awesome. A way to introduce your kids to more artists.
I’ve seen a lot of creativity challenges. My friend Jamie Hand, she runs the website, Preschool Steam, is doing challenges to get kids creative thinking. And now’s the time to really focus on creativity. If we don’t have the normal supplies that we usually have, what can we do? I’ve seen color wheels made from objects in your house, collecting all the different colors and then making a range. Even you could do value, you can say, “Okay, get all the ranges of blue that you can find and then put them in order from lightest to darkest,” things like that. Any sort of creative challenge like building challenges or engineering challenges, anything like that would really help give your students something fun to do. Give them a break from all of the worksheets that they’re about to have to do. I’m really scared about how many worksheets are about to happen. I really hope it’s not too many.
Another awesome resource is something that Amy Bultena from Artful Artsy Amy, another presenter at Call to Art, and I’m sure you’ve seen this on Facebook, but she compiled and had teachers send in their digital learning lessons into this giant Google folder. I think you couldn’t see the folder unless you submitted a lesson, but now she’s opened it up for everyone to see. You can still submit lessons, but now she’s made this resource public. I will put a link to that as well in the show notes with her permission. I need to ask her if she’s okay with me doing that. If not, you can check out all of the art teacher Facebook groups on Facebook, all of those groups and you will find it pretty easily.
I’ve been seeing a lot of teachers post videos for their students. Even one of my daughter’s teachers sent one yesterday and it was so silly and she had her like pet hippo stuffed animal and they were talking about what they’ve been doing. And just little things like that about your life, what you’ve been doing, giving them a tour of your house, little things that can increase that connection and make it feel less isolating. Less like you’re just giving them busy work because you don’t know what else to do and more like, “Hey, I’m your teacher. I miss you.” I think our kids really need to hear that.
All right, so that’s what I got. I hope to see you at The Call to Art Conference. Again, that’s artclasscurator.com/calltoart and then the You Need Art Challenge is on Instagram. Both of those things are free. We are super excited about them and we hope to see you there. All right, thanks so much.
And oh, one more thing, I’m having a hard time with the podcast, thinking of what should this podcast be. If no one is teaching, what do you all need? If you have a topic idea, if there’s anything you want me to talk about, I would love to hear what you have to say. And also some of the presenters from Call to Art, I’m going to schedule their interviews as podcast episodes too, things related especially to this online learning thing where we’re dealing with. But I would love to hear any ideas that you have on podcasts that you want to hear, things that you want discussed and I really appreciate that. You can send those to email@example.com.
All right. Thanks so much. Have a great day. Stay safe. Stay healthy. Love you. Bye.
Thank you so much for listening to the Art Class Curator Podcast. Help more art teachers find us by reviewing the podcast and recommending it to a friend. Do you have a work of art that changed your life? If so, send me your art story. You can send it to firstname.lastname@example.org or leave a voicemail to 202-996-7972.
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Today’s art quote comes from Yayoi Kusama and she says, “I want to start a revolution using art to build the sort of society I myself envisioned.”
Thank you so much for listening. Have a great day.
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