Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Reflection on Practicum

I felt that my practicum experience benefited my education. I learned a lot about children and how they function in a class. I had no Idea that in Elementary school we were so rambunctious.
  My lesson with my partner was definitely a learning experience. We had the most misbehaved kindergarten class to work with, so it was an adventure. I'm all for kids being kids, but it's an entirely different story when you need to direct them. I feel my partner and I were opposites in this. She was very nice, but didn't have the necessary tools to command the students behavior, whereas I knew the students and there class procedure, but I was so stressed I came across as cold and mean. I definitely want to change that. if this were a higher level of students,I would have been seen as the teacher no one wants. I need more experience. Thankfully, I am going abroad to observe classes overseas, and hopefully I will pick up on something there.
  My favorite kid I helped was J. J had a hard time getting projects done on time. He would waste time and never finish. One day, he said he wouldn't be able to finish a one day project, and I told him he could if he focused on the project. Not only did he finish, but he had time to spare. The same thing happened with his next project. When he was done, he drew pictures for me and made me "money" (I wish it was real, but I appreciated the gesture). He even made me a crown, because I am a queen (his words, not mine). Somehow, I inspired this kid to be motivated and get his work done on time!
 Overall, it didn't scare me, it just made me want my own classroom MORE. Working with these children has opened my eyes to what children are like in a real classroom. they get distracted easily, some kids take more attention than others, and no day will go as planned. As a teacher, we need to do the best we can, and most importantly, keep our spirits up, because they look to us, and their mood depends on us.

Monday, April 4, 2016

Fun times!

Hello friends! I just got back from Chicago and had a BLAST at the NAEA National Conference!
No, Elsa is not a member of NAEA.
  I did learn a lot, from art educators all over the country, however. I got a ton of new lesson Ideas and I can't wait to use them! I don't want this post to be super serious, given my previous post, so here is a list of some of the fun things the kids say to me!

 boy: what bus do you take home?
Me: oh, I drive my car here.
Boy: how old ARE you?
Me: I'm 20.
Boy: Oh, I thought you were 10.

Same Boy: I'm going to make a crown for you, because you're a queen.

Girl: (looks at my belly) are you having a baby?
Me: (has to walk away to laugh)

Of course, there are serious things the students say too. My parents are divorced, my dad was in prison, I don't see my mom a lot. It can be depressing, but those few kids can brighten any day. 

Monday, March 21, 2016

Today was somewhat awkward. Mrs. L was in the hallway, and I could hear her talk about me to another teacher. I heard her say that she gets along with me, but that i'm very headstrong, hands-on with the students, and concerned about the students.
  This upset me. Yes, I have been hands on and concerned about the students. Part of the ed tpa standards is I need to learn students names and the context for learning, which means I need to talk to them. I do know that sometimes I linger on some students, but thats because they are struggling or telling me concerning things. If a student has a bruise on their face, and doesn't want to tell you why, that's concerning. The only reason I linger is because I know that Mrs. L is around to help the other students.
  I don't know if I agree on the word Headstrong. the word is defined as " being set in ones ways, stubborn." It has come to my attention early on in the semester by my program director that I do come off this way, and I let Mrs. L know that if I ever came off this way, I wanted her to tell me so I can change it. I honestly have tried my best to listen to her, and I thought I was doing things the way she wanted me to do. And then I heard this, and I don't know what to say. I really wish she would have told me these things right away. I can't change a behavior I didn't know I had. I need to learn, and not telling me these things to my face won't help me.
  I'm just so confused. I need help.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

second week of practicum

  The fifth graders started a new project. They are exploring abstract portraits. They chose to either make a portrait in Fauvism or Cubism, the difference being either using irregular colors or making geometrically shaped faces. Mrs. L gave the students a rubric explaining what she was looking for, but she didn't demonstrate. She explained that she didn't want to give them any ideas on what to do. When they started their rough sketches, I saw what she meant. I saw at least three students copy from the portraits that were on the whiteboard. However, I did see a lot of students make great original portraits. I can't wait to see how they turn out.
  I think the one thing I envy about these students is the freedom they get in their classroom. I've seen the fifth graders choose an animal, artistic style, they didn't even need to make a portrait of an actual person! And the kindergartners got to chose their patterns and got to draw their own near and far drawing. They get way more freedom in class than I did when I was their age. When I was in school, we had to do everything EXACTLY the same way as the teacher. It was terrible. I know that I want my students to have the same amount of artistic freedom that Mrs. L gives her students.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

   Yesterday was my first time observing Mrs. L in her classroom. I observed two classes, a fifth grade class and a kindergarten class. I arrived 15 minutes early to run through what she wanted me to do during the class. I asked about the policy on electronics in the school, where she told me the only thing allowed were school provided electronics. The only one they use in her class is the ipads, for an app called seesaw. it acts as an online portfolio for the student, and they can go on and comment on their work and other students. Mrs. L needs to approve the comments before they get posted, so no bullying can occur on the site. Only the 5th graders use the app so far, but she hopes to expand into the other grade levels in the upcoming years.
   The first class was the 5th graders, who were working on a paper mosaic. They were halfway through the project. Mrs. L warned me that this 5th grade class was one of the more talkative classes. When they came in, they were obviously curious about who I was, but they paid attention to Mrs. L. Mrs. L wore a mic headset when she started her lectures, which surprised me at first. I've only seen one used once before, when I was in 10th grade. I'll have to remember to ask why she uses it next time I see her. She demonstrated the next step of the project to the students, only having to pause once or twice to ask students to stop talking. when students did talk, she paused and waited for them to realize she was waiting for them. After they got their materials, I went around, learning the students names and getting to learn more about them. One of the most interesting things that happened during the class happened when I tried to learn a students name. The student was Hmong, and I was trying to figure out the proper pronunciation of his name, when the student next to him said, "We just call him Panda." I was surprised by the nickname, but for the moment I chose to ignore the comment and continued to learn his name. I will ask Mrs. L if she knows anything about it, and maybe even their 5th grade teacher. I want to make sure this is a nickname the student is okay with, because if he isn't okay with it, I want to make sure he isn't being bullied. I was called names in Elementary school, and I never forgot. When class was done, I was able to name most of the students. Hopefully I still remember them next week.
   After lunch, I met my first bunch of Kindergartners. Mrs. L warned me that she is very strict with the kindergartners, especially the class we were seeing today. When they came into the class, it was very obvious that they were distracted by me. They would look back at me and wave, and I had to suppress the urge to wave back, because they needed to listen to Mrs. L. Mrs. L wasn't lying. she would call out students for blurting and interrupting her demonstration. One student was sent to the other side of the room for being too distracting, while another was scolded for complaining about another student's wheelchair touching his leg. She reminded him to worry about himself. At one point, two students started yelling at each other, because apparently one student circled the other, which means he doesn't want the other student to come over to his house. Mrs. L gave both students a yellow card. I will have to ask what that means tomorrow. When the students started, I went around the room to make sure the students were focused. I wanted to talk to all of them, but kindergartners are easily distracted and, unlike the 5th graders, they can't multitask as easily. A lot of the students asked me to come over, and if they didn't have a question about the project, I did my best to get them back on track. The project they were working on was patterns, and some students didn't understand how to make a pattern. The class was so chaotic, I didn't have the chance to learn the students names.
  Overall, I was impressed by Mrs. L and her ability to keep calm during the kindergarten class. She was extremely organized and prepared for each class. She had ways to connect her lessons to real life. I Can't wait to continue my practicum experience, to learn more about classroom management from her, and to learn more about the school and where these students are coming from.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Art Advocacy
    So this is a question all Art educators face; how big of a part does the arts play in our students lives? There have been some times where the arts were valued by schools, and encouraged. However, especially in our country, math and sciences have been put first due to changing technology and our desire to always be number one.  However, art is an important part of a child’s life, teaching them to be creative and to think their way around problems.
   In the first article I read, “Does Experience in the Arts Boost Academic Achievement?” the author talks about how much pressure we put on art teachers to contribute to more than the art classes, yet we never ask the other classes to contribute to the education we provide. My high school art teacher taught every art class at the high school level, which was about 11 different classes, with 11 different curriculums. She once taught three different courses at the same time! And in between all of that, she had to help other teachers with any creative help they needed. Thank god she didn’t have to help out with the yearbook or musicals, or I think she would have gone crazy. One thing that bothers me is that my school district just spent half a million dollars to pay for ipads for every student, but they can’t hire another art teacher so that this hard working woman can go home and spend time with her children. Schools need to realize just how much pressure they put on their art teachers.
   In the second article I read, “Valuing the Arts on their Own Terms?” she talked about the ways that value is measured. They are measured by “a. the individual as a person, B. the individual as a contributing member of society, and C. the human community.” (Pg. 1) I just love how true this is! The problem is, measuring point B and point C is hard to do in a classroom. We can’t tell how our education methods are going to affect the student’s impact on society, or the community. Art takes patience. I’m sure the men who taught Leonardo Da Vinci and Michelangelo had no idea that their students would go on to shape a whole period of art expression, and change how art has been looked at forever.
   Though an optional article, I read the article by the President’s Committee of the Arts and Humanities, since I could not access the first article. I very much enjoyed the article. It talked about arts integration and how important it is to school districts. I believe this to be entirely true. The part that surprised me was that lower-income schools do not use arts integration, yet here in Menomonie we have a wonderful program that reaches out to the local children to do just that. My school district of about 400 students per grade never had the arts integration that Menomonie currently has. It’s very important that America embraces arts integration, since it means hiring teachers who have the passion to teach students about art and the many wonderful things about art. Arts integration will lead to better schools, better teachers, and better students.
    Overall, I feel that art is a huge part of a schools overall success. We need to respect the time and effort put into the programs by the art teachers, and not to take them for granted. We also need to use art as a teaching tool in classes, and not just as a distraction or a time-filler. We have more on our shoulders, in work and in value, than we think. These children count on us more than we know. Hopefully we will all se that this semester.