Week 16

April 30 - May 6

Finals week!!. This week was spent working on finishing up any and all finals for the semester, final critiques/presentations and studio clean out. While the work that I made was mostly political, I felt that I received the best critique of the semester than I ever have. Instead of focusing on the content of the work there was an emphasis on how the the concept came across, which was far more beneficial than past critiques. 

Week 15 - Franklin

Franklin Middle School - Melodee Strong - Art 5.5.hrs

April 23 - April 29

Today was my last day at Franklin Middle School with Melodee. The day consisted of me giving presentations to the class about the kind of work that I make and the cultural context that it has. 

Week 13 - South High/Franklin

South High School - David Olson - Ceramics 0hrs

Franklin Middle School - Melodee Strong - Art 5.5.hrs

April 9 - April 15

This week I spent my first day at Franklin Middle School with Melodee Strong in her 6th, 7th, and 8th grade art classes. Though the time I was there I was ripping paper and mixing papier-mâchè glue, I really enjoyed being in the classroom and observing. 

Being able to sit and watch how the students interact with one another and Melodee was very interesting. I think thee dynamic of the school is also an interesting one, especially given the student body demographics. Given that the school is 75% Black and African-American the way the school functions as a body and institution was very different than my experience at Barton and South, but also different than my own middle school experience. I was very interested and curious about the fact that I felt more comfortable at Franklin and in that classroom than I did at the other schools. To me this was interesting because of my relationship with other people, and going to majority-white schools. The interaction that I had with the students was also a more positive one. The students definitely seemed to be more intrigued by who I am and what I am working on here at MCAD, but also why I was in their classroom. 

The 6th and 7th grade students were preparing to do a mask project in conjunction with Cinco de Mayo celebration. While a majority of the students don't celebrate the Mexican holiday, Melodee engaged them in the project by mentioning that student will also learn about other cultures and be able to make masks that represented their cultural background. 

Weel 14 - South/Franklin

South High School - David Olson - Ceramics 1 hr. 

Franklin Middle School - Melodee Strong - Art 0hrs.

April 16 - April 22

This week I wrapped up my residency at South High School with a presentation about my own work and slip casting. After doing the presentation, I realized that I could have made the presentation a bit longer by talking about my work more. I also think that talking about the process of slip casting, and the real world applications of such process. 

After the presentation, I was able to talk to some of the seniors about their futures in art. From talking to the students, I learned that a lot of them were interested in going into art, and wanted more feedback from me as someone in art school. 

Week 12 - South High

South High School - David Olson - Ceramics 0hrs.

April 2 - April 8

This week I worked to finish up my lesson plan for South, and to get in contact with David about a date to be there to present.

This week in studio I spent time working on projects dealing with desire and looking. Using 3D rendering software, CNC routers, 3D printing, and Laser cutting, These objects deal with the ideas of looking in the context of environment and how the gallery or museum setting relates to the context of home. These objects are ones that would often be considered obscene to have in large quantities, like hearts and teeth. I chose these kinds of objects because of the cultural history of them, but also their relation to the greater history or people and the relationship that they have with the institution. 

Week 11 - South High

South High School - David Olson - Ceramics 0hrs. 

March 26 - April 1

This week I worked to finalize my lesson plan for a slip casting demo at South High School. My original plan to present on the 11th has since been changed due to advising and registration. I hope that I can get into the classroom to do my presentation on the 18th. 

This week was also the final work week for the Room & Board competition. Every year, Room & Board -- furniture company based in Minneapolis, MN --  partners with the Minneapolis College of Art and Designs students for a friendly design competition. Students are tasked with creating and presenting an original design that tackled the prompt of small spaces, micro-living, storage and space solutions. While the process itself was nerve-wracking, the actually presentations and creation of a piece of furniture were enjoyable. 


Week 10 - South High

South High School - David Olson - Ceramics 0hrs. 

March 19 - March 25

This is week I was not in the classroom. The week was busy with personal work, gallery, openings and lesson writing. After reworking my lesson it was decided that I will not be presenting it until after the MPS (Minneapolis Public Schools) spring break, which is the first week of April. 

In my studio, I have been working on several projects; a table for Room and Board Competition, Stools, and developing what furniture is and my interest in the design world. Through this development, I was able to put to words that the act of art making is political. The idea of art and furniture being political in the sense that art creates this separation of class, and is often used as a status symbol.  But, also that not everyone has access to the art that's being made. This exploration and development came about after a fellow student made a comment that I needed to take my work more seriously and use nicer materials. By this they meant, use more expensive materials that cheap materials are somehow bad. And while I do appreciate to beauty of more expensive materials, they don't fit the look and the aesthetic that I have for furniture. Whether it's unfortunate or not, I'm not sure, but the materials that I do like much more happen to be priced significantly cheaper. I think whether an artist uses cheap or expensive materials doesn't matter; while it is nice to invest in ones craft and experiment, I feel that the main thing is making work not look cheap. 

Week 9 - South High

Total Hours 38.5

South High School - David Olson - Ceramics

March 12 - March 18

Monday - 13 March 2017

Today was my first day at South in David Olson's ceramics classroom. The day went really well. I got to work with a lot of the students and check out what they were working on. In all of his classes the day was used to work and finish anything so that they could be fired that night. When a lot of the students came into class, they noticed that their pieces had broken over the weekend. Because of this David went over joining techniques so that it wouldn't happen in the future, but for the pieces that we broken the only solution was that they could be glued since they had already been bisque fired and glazed. Because 2nd hour is David's prep period, I was invited to sit in on the advanced art class with Cynthia Gerber. Students were just starting a new project and preparing to work on piece  that would ultimately be submitted to Intermedia Arts. The majority of the class was devoted to brainstorming after a brief lesson on composition and what makes a good composition and what makes a bad one. 


Tuesday - 14 March 2017 

Today in the first ceramics class there was a demo, as the students were beginning to start the last project in their hand-building unit. Because the classes are only 50 minutes, the period was devoted to the slab working demo. Again today, I was in the advanced art class. Today was used a housekeeping day, allowing students to finish any past projects, start new ones, and it also allowed Cynthia to pass back graded work. It was also a  chance for me to walk around and talk to the students about the work that they were creating. It was nice to offer some insight and ask questions that there isn't ever really time to because of the limitations of having one teacher and a 50 minute class period.

During 3rd hour, I was given the opportunity to be in the Digital Media class where students were using Adobe Illustrator to design a cover for the graduation ceremony. I felt that my being there was much needed in the sense that a lot of students were having issues navigating the software. And again a 50 minute class period, 30+ students and 1 teacher, doesn't allow for the most productive class. 

Wednesday - 15 March 2017 

Today was my first full day with David at South. Aside from observation the day was spent learning everything that it takes to teach 5 classes and run a clay studio. Students used the class period as a workday to start their mug projects. With the help of student aides the mundane chores of the studio space went quicker, but also allowed for some down time near the end of the hour. I was taught how to use the pugmill and the process of prepping and recycling clay. Amongst students there seemed to be a lot of confusion about the process of making the mug that caused some frustration, but it was never anything that couldn't be worked around. I was also given the opportunity to talk to some of the junior and seniors about the nature or MCAD, and the prospects of them going to an art school. 

Today I was also able to head over to Franklin Middle School and meet with Melodee Strong in her classroom. We were able to work out a schedule for me to work with her after the MPS spring break starting April 10th. The meeting was primarily used as a way for me to get to know the school and should Melodee need me to get anything where it is located. We also spent a lot of time talking about the nature of the classroom and the school as a whole as the school is 75% Black and African-American students, and how that effects the art classroom. I am very excited to work with Melodee and her students at Franklin. 


Thursday - 16 March 2017

Today was weird day in the sense that students had already started to finish their mugs and begin personal projects. In all 5 classes the student  worked the entire time. 


Friday - 17 March 2017

Today was my last day before teaching at South. It was a little bittersweet but also a little celebratory. Working with David, and the other teachers have been great and an experience that I am thankful to have had. I think after today I have an idea of what it takes to work in a high school, but not totally sure that I would like to. I think coming from a suburb and going to schools in that suburb is different from going to school in the inner city; needs of the students, the pressures on the  teachers and the resources that students have access to are very different. 

Week 8 - South High

South High School - David Olson - Ceramics 0hrs.

March 5 - March 11

This week I did not go anywhere, I did finalize plans to be at South High School with David Olson next week. 

Week 7 - South High

South High School - David Olson - Ceramics 0 hrs. 

February 26 - March 4

This week I didn't go anywhere, but I was in contact with David at South High School. We planned for me to be with him at South the entire school day over spring break. David also gave me some information about what the students will be discussing while I'm there. I also confirmed with Kate that I will be at Simpson Housing on Monday. 

Week 6 - Barton

Barton Open School - Allison Rubin - Uppers (7th and 8th Grade) - 1 hr.

February 19 - February 25

It's over. I have officially and totally completed my residency at Clara Barton Open School. This residency, being my first, was absolutely phenomenal. Even with the limited time that I had, I feel that I got to know the students in different way. Seeing the students faces light up when I revealed the final piece to the class brought a joy greater than just seeing them be so enthused when they were creating the original tessellations. Knowing that the students have such a pride in the work that they've created is a very strange and new feeling for me, but also one that gives such a great deal of comfort. I went into this residency very concerned that the students would not be interested in the project and that it would ultimately flop. In the end I am really grateful that I was able to have the experience that I did. A lot of the concerns and preconceived notions that I had about middle schoolers were dispelled for the better and allowed me to grow in a way that I didn't expect. 

I would like to extend a major thank you to Alli and her students for allowing me into their  classroom, and allowing me to get the experience that I did. 

Week 5 - Barton

Barton Open School - Allison Rubin - Uppers (7th and 8th Grade) - 0 hrs

February 12 - February 18

This week I wasn't in the classroom, however I did make arrangements to deliver the final tessellation to Barton. I also spent time preparing a small assessment for the students to give on Tuesday. 

The week was devoted to my personal studio practice and coursework. Not being in the classroom allowed me time to prepare and generate ideas for my lesson at South. 

Week 4 - Barton

Barton Open School - Allison Rubin - Uppers (7th and 8th Grade) - 0 hrs

February 5 - February 11

Though I did not spend anytime on site this week, the week was devoted to my own practice and prepping student work for production. The experience of working with someone else's work and having little, to no, input in the art making process was invaluable. The experience was most rewarding in that I was afforded the opportunity to get a glimpse at the creative side of each individual student. Being able to look at a student name, know exactly who they were in the class, and then get to see their work was a rather interesting experience. It made me think of the feeling that educators must get when they spend every day for a school year with a student and then to seem them years later, and hear about their successes. 

Typically, in my own practice and commissioned work, I primarily work in wood and steel, and have very basic textile work, or piece specific patterning. For this piece to be almost all textile work and a piece that is meant to display work of several different individuals, it was a very interesting experience. The space in which I was working taught me a lot, especially due to the scale of the piece and the fact that the space is inherently messy and dirty. Keeping things clean was a feat all of its own. 

All in all, it was a rather enjoyable experience, one that I will definitely think about in the following months. All that's left to do at this point is to deliver and install the finished tapestry in the space where it will remain until there is a need for the space. 

The final design: 


Week 3 - Barton/Simpson

Barton Open School - Allison Rubin - Uppers (7th and 8th Grade) - 1 hrs

Simpson Housing - Melodee Strong -  0hrs 

January 29 - February 4

This week I was supposed to start my shadowing with Melodee Strong at Simpson Housing, but due to some unforeseen illness I was not able to. 

With Alli at Barton I was able to successfully teach my lesson. The lesson was centered around the idea of outsourcing in product design incorporated what the students had just learned about tessellations. I believe that the lesson went very well. Each of the students seemed engaged and excited about making something and exploring the ideas that there is a real-world application for what they are doing in the classroom. 

It was very interesting to watch and see what each of the students were making. Some decided to stay safe, while others decided that they would go in more complex direction and challenge themselves. Ultimately, the students that went in a more challenging direction seemed to get more out of the project in terms of what their final tessellation look liked and solving all of the problems that they found while working. 

All in all, I think each student took home something very unique to themselves, whether that be a curiosity about real-world application of classroom content, or that they have a desire to create things to be produced. 

In the next week, I will be scanning and editing each tessellation for maximum clarity, and they will be printed into a large class tapestry-like piece. The following week, I will be presenting the finished tapestry to the class and installing it in the school. 

Some examples  of the created Tessellations: 

Week 2 - Barton

Barton Open School - Allison Rubin - Uppers (7th and 8th Grade) - 2.5hrs

January 22 - January 28

This week I l was given some insight into the fluidity of schools. In the last week it was planned that there would be a short algebra review as the students moved into their tessellation and transformation unit. At the front of the unit, it was originally planned that I would teach my art-infused lesson as an application of learned material. As it so happened, the students needed more time to do their algebra review. 

After being able to stay and watch the introduction of the lesson I was able to make edits to my own lesson based on timing. I think being able to watch and actually being able to observe that lesson was very beneficial, and has given me some ease of mind for when I teach my lesson on Tuesday. It was evident that for the for some of the students the information was new, and others a review. After surveying the room to get a sense of what students new, Alli demonstrated how to being to make a tessellation using a square and ways to ensure the shape will indeed tessellate. There was physical evidence of learning in the fact the student who didn't understand, now did and were more excited about the making aspect of tessellations. 

Week 1 - Barton

Barton Open School - Allison Rubin - Uppers (7th and 8th Grade) - 30hrs

January 15 - January 21

In the week that I spent at Barton, I was able to observe a variety of classes and see students in many different light, ultimately making the experience more beneficial. 

Going into Barton I was a little wary of my experience after thinking about my own middle school experience. But I was pleasantly surprised at how different the students’ interpersonal interactions were from my own. The students that I got to see in multiple classes, exhibited an extra level of maturity. 

I was able to see a creative and communal side to the students. Especially in the geometry class I observed. With a class of 36 students, I couldn’t imagine how Ali kept it together. 7 tables placed around the room in u-shape so that in any seat all the students could see their class mates the rest of the room. The students were finishing and presenting their “circle projects” and presenting fun ways to remember the conjectures of circle for an upcoming test. 

It was clear that Ali, and the other teachers at Barton, taught their students valuable skills about interacting with each other. In watching Ali, I could see a genuine care for her students and that teaching was more about the students and not the requirements set forth by the state. I’ve come to realize a difference between being a primary school educator versus one in a middle school, and that it’s more about being a mentor to the students. The students recognize when there may be an issue and they want to be corrected and have someone to help fix the problem. In one instance a student was making inappropriate remarks to another, when called into the hall to talk about the student went willingly, and was relatively receptive to what was said. 

Throughout the residency, I couldn’t help but question whether or not I was actually learning how to be an instructor in the classroom or if I was learning greater life lesson. Learning that being a teacher or giving any kind of instruction is more about how you handle the students, creating a safe environment, treating the students in an age-appropriate way and not necessarily about shoveling information down the students throats.