Holy Angels- Week 8

This was a really great day to be visiting Holy Angels because it was the final day before submission for the AP students! It has been so fun to see all of the AP student's process and work ethic pay off. Since the class has juniors and seniors, it was interesting to hear the perspective of students who are at the end of their AP art journey in comparison to those who are looking forward to learning from their first year and applying it to the next year of AP art. 

Holy Angels- Week 7

This week at Holy Angels, I taught my lesson in the intro to drawing/painting class! Dan had requested that I do a lesson on shading, which is something that he doesn't usually coverin a lot of depth, but encourages his students to investigate if they are interested. 

I decided to teach about shading by first teaching mostly about drawing using form, followed by an introduction to using value to define form. I think that often timesstudents at this stage are tempted to draw an outline and fill it in, which I clarified is not an accurate way to draw items realistically. I put together a powerpoint presentation to accompany my lecture, which included examples of contemporary artists using values in masterful and unexpected ways. 

After my lecture, I did a demonstration of using a value scale when drawing, and how to make one. I used different weight pencils and drawing paper, which was something the students had never used before and seemed to really enjoy. The lesson went well, there were fewer questions and less excitement than I had anticipated, but overall I think they students appreciated what I went over. 

Holy Angels- Week 6

This week at Holy Angels, the students in intro to drawing were working on drawing objects realistically from observation. Their focus was to look at the object for longer than they were looking at their drawing. I think that this is a useful way to start drawing from observation, though can be challenging without having a lot of prior experience drawing from observation. As a group of students who are mostly beginners, the majority of the group relied on drawing using outlines, instead of form. This was something I noted and planned on addressing in the lesson I was planning for the following week.

In AP Art, everybody was really focused on getting to where they needed to be with submission less than a month away. I had a conversation with a student who still had not quite nailed down what he was doing for his concentration. He was struggling with how to finish it and what direction to take it in his final push. He had done a lot of architectural drawings, which were technically very strong. We chatted about what he thinks would be an appropriate next step, and I suggested using more color for the next few pieces. 

Holy Angels- week 5- 4 hours

Today at Holy Angels the intro to drawing and painting started their class with a studio tour, offering comments and feedback to their classmates about their current works in progress. They have been working on using an understanding of form and structure to draw realistic objects. Today their assignment was to build a composition on top of the individual object they had drawn. 

In the AP class, I had a short chat with a few of the students about their concentrations. They are all submitting in about a month and are at various stages of completion. It is hard to tell if my feedback is useful at this point since a lot of them know what they need to have done to meet their deadline. Regardless, it is always great to be available and helpful and talk through whatever issues they may be dealing with. 

Holy Angels-week 4- 1 hour

A challenge that I have been dealing with at Holy Angels is that the schedule is consistently different every day. For various reasons, the daily schedule will be change - late start, assembly, etc. Due to some scheduling conflicts, I had only planned to be at 7th hour, AP art, on this day. I arrived on time according to the pre-set schedule, but the school had changed the schedule day of so I only had about 20 minutes in the classroom. 

Something that I really enjoy about this class is the comfortable relationship that the students have with each other as well as their instructor. Since I was so short on time, I just checked in with some students on things we had discussed last week. 


Silverwood-Doodlebugs- 6 hrs

This was my last day at Doodlebugs! It was also baby animal day, which was a really fun topic. We had a wild group in the morning. Fortunately, it was a really nice day so we focused mainly on our outdoor activity, which was looking for nests and making our own nests outside. 

Since David left Silverwood, there have been a lot of people filling the naturalist role. In the morning, Krista helped out and worked as the 2nd Doodlebug teacher. She had a really fun and controlled demeanor, which was awesome. It is always so educational to see how different people control a group of 5 year olds. For the craft, we made little paper bunny baskets. For this project, I think we might have done a little too much prep for the kids, as they just breezed through coloring and putting them together. It all balanced out though, since we did spend extra time outside.

In the afternoon, we had a naturalist coming from a different park to teach, since there was nobody on the Silverwood staff available to work. She was very thorough in her lesson on baby animals. We walked over to a pond and listened to frogs chirping and hunted for nests in the grass! 

Silverwood- Doodlebugs- Puddles- 3hrs

    This was a great day at Doodlebugs! The theme for the day was rain, clouds, and puddles. It happened to be a gray, rainy day. It's always fun when the lesson aligns with the climate outside. There was an extensive science lesson from Alyssa on this day, where she taught the group about the different forms water can be in- gas, solid, and liquid. She provided examples for the kids to look at, which can be challenging to deal with twelve 5 year olds who are excited to feel something. Our craft was a cloud decorated with cotton balls and paper raindrops dangling from the cloud. We had the kids paint the rain drops using watercolor paint, and then cut them out.

     For this project, I had cut out the paper cloud beforehand, and attached three pieces of embroidery floss for the kids to them glue their drops to. Before class, Sam and I always have a conversation about what we should have prepped for them and what we want them to do themselves. Doing this really controls the difficulty of the project, and what the kids are going to focus their attention on. If you prep too much, it's too easy and the craft will go by too fast. If it's too complicated, they will feel overwhelmed and want you to do the whole thing for them. It is a very delicate balance! Working with cutting, gluing, and using watercolor seemed to be the perfect amount of challenge for the kids on this project. 

Holy Angels - Week 3

Holy Angels - 4 hours- Dan Dimond 

This week marks a new Trimester at Holy Angels. I think that this is a really good thing to come into- a fresh set of students and a new start on the curriculum. I am still working with Dan Dimond on Drawing/ Painting, and the AP studio art class.  Since the drawing/painting class is just getting started, on this day Dan was giving a lecture on sketchbooks. I think he has a very good approach to explaining what they are for- basically everything and anything. It is really interesting to go into a classroom where people are being taught what a sketchbook is for, since for the past four years I have been so immersed in art school. I forget that most people don't use sketchbooks!  At the end of the lecture I offered to flip through my current sketchbook to give the class a peek. They seemed pretty interested! 

In AP art, the students are starting to wrap up their Concentration and revisit their Breadth portfolios. Since that class is pretty much always work time, I have been chatting with students who are looking for some extra input on what their next step should be. I talked to a student who is not feeling to confident in her work- she seemed to be a bit of a perfectionist with the final product, but not liking what she made in the end. I suggested that she spend more time in the sketch process and to just make a lot of art without being so tight and careful about it. 

Silverwood - Week 7

Silverwood - 6 hours - Sam Longley, Alyssa Riggs

    This week at Silverwood in Doodlebugs I taught my lesson! The theme of the day was amphibians, so we focused mainly on frogs and toads. For my lesson, we made little frog hand puppets. The doodlebug curriculum is pre-set, so the hand puppet craft had already been chosen as the activity for our lesson. In previous years, the puppet was by decorating a paper plate with oil-pastel crayons, folding it in half, and then attaching google eyes, a pipe cleaner tongue, and fastening arms and legs on using metal paper-fasteners (so that they could move around). This is the lesson I followed, though many technical errors arose during our craft time.

    This craft demanded the students apply many different skills- cutting, coloring, folding, and applying. The central issue with this craft was the use of oil pastels. Though they are a fun and different medium to use, they are messy and don't allow for any adhesive to stick. Another issue that extended from this was that we didn't have enough paper-fasteners, so we had decided to let the kids glue their arms and legs on. halfway through the project we decided to staple them on, since nothing would stick to the plates anyway. The project felt a bit chaotic, but everyone seemed happy with the final product, despite the challenges.

    On this day, I stayed for the afternoon Doodlebugs session as well. The morning group is twelve 4-5 year olds, and the afternoon Doodlebugs is only seven, and tends to have a lower energy. I had the benefit of seeing Sam teach the lesson in the afternoon. I feel like I learned a lot by seeing how I did it and how she did it, also knowing the challenges that we had dealt with in the morning and approaching them differently. When Sam taught, she went very slow and stopped to ask questions though out, something that I wish I had been sure to do. Right from the start we said that we would staple the legs on, and brought glue dots to apply the google eyes. The craft went much smoother in the afternoon!  Another benefit of staying for the afternoon session was that there is a different naturalist whom I had not worked with yet. Seth has an excellent way with the kids, he is patient, playful, and calm. 

Silverwood - Week 6

Silverwood Park - Alyssa and Sam - 3.0 hours

This week we studied Maple Syrup at Doodlebugs! It was a particularly special day for a couple of reasons. First, it was Alyssa's first day as our Doodlebug Naturalist. It was also our first "Spring" Doodlebugs! It was very interesting to see how different the vibe of the class was without David. Since it was Alyssa's first day, it really required Sam to step in as the leader and make the kids feel comfortable with a new instructor. 

Alyssa gave a longer lesson on harvesting Maple Syrup, which the kids seemed to really enjoy since she brought in some Maple Syrup samples. We read The Mitten by Jan Brett, which is a classic story that a lot of the kids had already heard before! We stepped outside quickly to watch Alyssa's demonstration of tapping a maple tree, but it was cold so we didn't stay outside for very long at all. 

It is always interesting to see how new people approach teaching a group of children ages 4-5. Sam and Alyssa are pros, but I was reminded about how the chemistry of the instructors affect the general flow of the class itself. 

Walker Art center - Week 3

Walker Art Center - Teaching Artist Ilene Mojsilov - 2.5 hours

This week at the Walker, I helped Ilene prep for her a lesson in the Art Lab for a group of high school students from Finlayson, which is about an hour north of the cities. This group of students had gone through the Hippie Modernism exhibition and were doing a lesson that explored the idea of what Utopia is and what their personal utopia would look like. I really like working with Ilene because she is always great about discussing her techniques and and reasoning behind her teaching style. 

We started the lesson after the students had eaten their lunch, so they were in social mode. Ilene went to the front of the classroom and explained the project, providing context and asking questions to give the group a good starting point. She opened the art supply cabinet and told them they had free range over the whole inventory. She then stood back while everybody got into craft mode, and after answering a few clarifying questions I was amazed to see how the group really started to focus and got to work on ideating and creating their projects. She told me that she likes to stand back and gauge how the group responds to her instructions after she gives them, and let them kind of click into mode by themselves.

Holy Angels- Week 2

Holy Angels Academy - Art Teacher Dan Dimond - 1 hour

This week at Holy Angels I visited the AP art Class. Since this class is structured for a lot of independent growth, the majority of days are work days for the students. On this day, it was a work day, so I sat down with a couple of students to discuss some issues they are having with their work, technically and conceptually. It feels good for me to go in and be helpful, offering advice and new ideas to a group of students who are in a class that really focuses so much on discovery. 

Silverwood- Week 5

Doodlebugs- David Donovan - 3 hours

    This was a very special day of Doodlebugs. David Donovan, the Naturalist who has done the Doodlebugs program for the past 3.5 years, had his last day. He was very good at what he did, and in the few weeks I spent with him at Silverwood I learned a lot about how to communicate with children that age, and some really great classroom techniques. 

This week, we spent about equal amounts of time between our art project and time spent outside.     We started with our project, which was coloring a paper plate, and then cutting it into a spiral and attaching a string to the top, so it was a "snake". After everybody finished their projects, we took them outside to test them in the wind, to play with them and watch them move. This was a lot of fun for all of the kids, but after about 10 minutes nobody wanted to hang on to them anymore! It was a really play focused day of learning at Doodlebugs, which I think was a great end to David's time as aleader for that group. 

Waterford Senior Living Outreach - Alyssa Riggs - 3 hours

    This week at Silverwood, I helped one of the naturalists Alyssa Riggs with the Senior Living outreach program. We went out to Waterford Senior Living center, which is located in Brooklyn Park, Minnesota. This was my first experience ever teaching people of this age group. Alyssa used science/nature as an introduction to the art lesson, which was making a small paper lantern out of an envelope. The envelopes were decorated by the seniors using stamps that we taught them how to make as well. I found this craft to be the perfect level of complexity- something that is fairly simple but did require some listening and technical skills.  

    Something that was really intriguing to me about this experience was the similarities and differences of working with people that are very young, or very old. Both groups of people have a pretty broad spectrum of ability, with some individuals wanting you to do the whole thing for them and other offended by your offer to help. The group seemed to really enjoy the craft and many looked forward to giving the small lantern as a gift to their grandchildren. 

Silverwood - Week 4

Silverwood Park • Doodle Bugs - Sam and David - 3 hours

This was a very exciting week at doodlebugs! Our day was a little backwards, due to an extended outdoor activity (kick sledding!) We started the day with playtime and a book called Winter is the Warmest Season by Lauren Stringer, a Minneapolis author/illustrator. Then we switched things up and did our craft first- Sam taught the doodlebugs about warm and cool colors, which was applied toa snowman finger puppet craft. Sam is an excellent teacher, seeing her interact with the 4 year olds is always educational. She is always kind and encouraging while at the same time managing the attention and mayhem of twelve 4 year olds. A technique of hers that is effective and I really like is what she calls the "tickle rainbow", which she has the doodlebugs sit in a semicircle and keeps them at an arm's length (if she can tickle them, they are too close) while she explains the craft and makes an example.

After the craft, we put on our snow suits and went outside to play! It was about 30 degrees, so it felt good for all of us to run around without feeling completely frozen. David invited the parents to come and play with the kick sleds for the last 20 minutes of class, so a handful of the kids had their parents with them to play. Something I have been noticing about Doodlebugs is that there really is an equal emphasis on education and play, which is so important for kids this age. Every week it gets better, as I get more comfortable being in the classroom and the doodlebugs get more comfortable with me! 

Holy Angels Academy - Week 1

Holy Angels Academcy - Dan Dimond - 4 hours

This was my first week at the Academy of Holy Angels. It was very interesting to be back in the classroom with my former Art teacher, Dan Dimond. Since it was my first day there, my day was mostly observational. I had the opportunity to engage with a handful of students, though I focused on listening and getting a feel for the dynamic and teaching style of Dan. 

Our plan for my 40 hour placement is that I will be there to observe and help in his drawing class, painting class, and AP art class. It is a couple weeks away from the end of the Trimester at Holy Angels, so the students in the Painting class were working on their final projects. I really enjoyed seeing what they were working on and what they had made throughout the trimester, and talking to the students about their work. It felt good to be helpful and assist with some technical problems some students were working on regarding mixing colors or application.

Next there was the Drawing class, which was starting to learn about the generic proportions of the body. This was a good opportunity to see Dan lecture and understand more about his approach to the subject. Something I really like about his teaching style is that it is very high energy, maintaining a sense of humor that seems to keep the kids attention. His classroom is relaxed but efficient.

The last class of the day was AP art, which was a group of students who are obviously very comfortable with each other. This class is rarely lecture and generally focused on work-time. Dan describes it as a big group of independent studies. My purpose in this class will be to offer feedback and some extra perspective to the students as they work on their concentration and breadth. As my first day in the classroom, I got to know a handful of the students but am yet to really get to know them and be immersed into their classroom experience. 

Silverwood Day 2

Silverwood Park Doodle Bugs - Administrator Alyssa Baguss, Sam and David - 2 hours

This week was Groundhog day! Groundhogs were the focus of the day in Doodlebugs. We started the day with play, which felt pretty good since all of the kids were starting to warm up to me. After play time, we cleaned up the toys and Sam, the teaching artist read a story to us called Groundhog Stays Up Late by Margery Cuyler. After that, David, the naturalist, took us all outside to play and sing groundhog songs in the snow.

We finished the day with an art project that was making a little groundhog (colored-in paper groundhog on a stick) who could poke out of the dirt (a paper cup with brown contraction paper glued to the exterior). This project was a little tricky for the 4-5 year olds since they would be using scissors to cut out their groundhogs. It was really fun to do a project that was a little more complicated than last weeks, and see their focus and excitement when it was complete! 

Silverwood Park - Shadowing

Silverwood Park - Administrator Alyssa Baguss, Teachers Sam and David - 3 hours

This week at Silverwood we were celebrating Valentine's Day! Our activities revolved around: things that are heart shaped, as well as warm+cold blooded animals. The class followed its usual format, play, a book from Sam, a short lesson from David, outside, snack, and then craft. It was extremely cold on this particular Tuesday, so our time spent outside was pretty short! This allowed us for more time on the artmaking, which I think everyone really enjoyed since sometimes if we're not careful the making can get squashed into the last 5 minutes of class.

We made Valentine's Day cards, which were visually fun and engaging, and the kids seemed to enjoy assembling them. The card has an owl on it that was made up of construction paper hearts. Seeing the kids put together the pieces and follow the example showed them applying their listening and problem solving skills. It's always interesting to see the degree each child does there craft- some rush through it and some take as much time as they can have with it.

Holy Angels Academy Week 1

Holy Angels Academy - Dan Dimond, Art Teacher - 2 hours

I met with the director of Fine Arts at Holy Angels, my old high school, to brain storm about how my time there will be spent and where my skills could be best applied. We figured out my schedule and discussed what classes I would be useful in and find beneficial to teach.

After our discussion we decided that I would be best suited to help with the intro drawing/painting class, as well as the AP studio arts class. He is excited for the students in a very math+science focused institution to have the opportunity to learn from someone who lives a creative life. I am really looking forward to helping students with technical problems in drawing, as well as assisting with critique and offering advice to AP students! 

Barton School - Week 2

One of my intended placements was at the Barton School, located in South Minneapolis. I came in for the day to observe in Alison Rubin's classroom, where she teaches Algebra and Geometry to 7th and 8th graders. In both classes, it was the day before a test, review day. I got to see students working through problems they needed help with, as well as work together to problem solve. Alison had great control over her class, and had an excellent balance of fun and business. Something I noticed is that she has no tolerance for excuses and refuses to let her students be helpless, which I think is a wonderful attribute, especially for middle school math!

As it turns out, I am not much of a mathematician and won't be spending my 40 hour residency at Barton - my position will be filled by a fellow teaching artist student who has a flare for arts integration, as well as algebra and geometry. I will be moving onto work with Dan Dimond and his Art students at Academy of Holy Angels High School.

Walker Art Center - Week 1

Walker Art Center - Ilene Mojsilov - 3.0 hrs

I am doing my 10 hour Teaching Artist Shadow at the Walker Art Center with Ilene Mojsilov.  the Hands-On Learning Facilitator at the museum. Their education department has been having a slow winter, due to construction on the building and other circumstances. That certainly does not mean there are not things to do, however! I have now spent two days at the Walker helping Ilene organize their enormous art supply inventory. During this time, I have had the opportunity to just chat with her and understand more about being a teaching artist, strategies, and her experiences.