Week 15, April 23-May 1

Whittier School, Jane Swatosh, 9:30-4:00

This past week I taught my last lesson at Whittier school! It was an exciting, but long day, I was exhausted by the end of it.

We reviewed the topics we discussed the week before, discussing the affects that large scale paper production can have on our surroundings and the workers in the mill. We discussed what gets wasted in large scale paper production, but also in handmade papermaking! The students then split into their tables and I instructed them to try to respond to one of four questions centered around thinking about ways our actions and decisions can change the environment. The students were asked to work as many artists do, creating an idea, sketching it, and then creating the final draft on the paper after their ideas were solidified.

The students eventually all took turns drawing on the big sheet, while they waited, they could either continue to work on their sketch or work on their Spanish work. Some were stumped as to what to draw, so I walked around and offered assistance to students who needed help thinking of ways to represent waste or recycling etc.

            It was an amazing last day! We worked on the second half of the project at the very end of the day, but before that I spent the day working with the students on their Spanish, talking to them about their lego creations, and witnessing lunchtime drama (getting chicken instead of fish by mistake).

            It was a great last week and I’m going to miss the students, Jane was a great teacher to shadow and learn from as well. She focuses so much on the individual student and their learning needs, if they need to be able to get up and walk around to focus or to avoid getting too upset or frustrated. She demands the student’s respect and attention, but she does in a breadth of ways. It was a great experience and I feel like I have gained a lot!  

Week 14, April 17-April 23

Monday: Mia- Krista Pearson- 1:00pm-3:00pm

Friday: Whittier School – Jane Swatosh – 9:30am-4:00pm

This week was a whirlwind! I met with Krista and Marlena—the artist Mia is working with for the Mde Mka Ska event this summer. Marlena and Krista were looking at water related objects in the North American gallery at Mia, they were discussing with the curators what would be on display during the time Marlena would be teaching, so they could integrate the lesson with objects in Mia’s collection. It was amazing to see the thought that goes into creating a lesson related to an institutes display, and seeing the behind the scenes way a museum functions on the day they’re closed.

After we walked through the gallery, we went to Krista’s office and they discussed Marlena’s ideas for the lesson at the festival. She’s working with Center school as well, and was discussing ways to involve the art class more—as it functions differently there (students can come and go as they please).

Krista and Marlena were firing teaching ideas back and forward—it was, honestly, kind of amazing to watch these ideas relating to water just moving back and forward.

We will be meeting again sometime soon!


I finished my lesson plan for Whittier and taught it this week! That was a little close for comfort. I wish I had figured out what I wanted to work with the students on a little faster than I did. Jane and I found a place for my materials and for the lesson the morning I was teaching. I should have had better time management for this project.

 I led a lesson on papermaking, which was amazing! We had a group discussion on the origins of papermaking and the affects mass produced paper has on the environment. I love the students at Whittier, they are incredibly intelligent critical thinkers, they were so excited to discuss the effects we have on the world around us. We went outside the last hour of the day and created a large sheet of paper as a class. It was the perfect day for this! The students really engaged with the project and were excited about the process.

Next week, we’ll be reflecting on what we discussed in class—issues of water pollution, waste, and mass production and the students will illustrate their reflections on the sheet of paper we created! Jane was super helpful in keeping the students engaged in our presentation. She really knows every student, what they need to stay participatory, and how they work.

I’m so excited to work with them on another lesson, but next week is my last day at Whittier and I’m a little sad! I love it there!

Week 13 April 10-17

Mia, 10am-12pm, Krista Pearson

Whittier School, 9:15am-4:15pm, Jane Swatosh


            Today I met with Krista, there’s been a few bumps in the shadowing—as the project we had planned for me to shadow her along through the semester is happening mostly on Thursdays now. She and I talked about how it’s a perfect example of the organic nature of community based work!

            We discussed a bit about what I could work with her on—observing the more short term things she has to do to maintain and organize with projects, and we plan to meet again next Monday.

            This week, we went to a meeting at Center School about the Mde Maka Ska event that MIA is partnered with. They discussed different organization factors, who will bring tables and pop up tents, where funding for the permit is coming from, what sort of materials and lessons people will be using to work with the attending students. It was a very laid back meeting, there were some points where people got off topic and discussed popular culture and where they were from. It was relaxed, comfortable, and it reminded me a lot of the meetings we have in People’s Library. We still figure out what next steps need to happen, but we all want to and enjoy being there. 

            It was nice to see that and it was good to hear the different logistical aspects of planning a large scale event like this one. Hopefully me and Krista’s meeting next week works out!

            I also went to Whittier School this week. The day was typical, I moved around the class and helped the students with the work they were doing—having them read Spanish words out loud to practice pronunciation, discussing notes, helping them with fractions, and helping students with English words!

            I went with the students to their arts class and witnessed the sorts of lessons they typically do. A lot of what they do is arts integration work, linking what they’re learning in their science classes with their arts classes. They worked on creating collages from recycled materials—something the students just did not want to do.

            I discussed what I would work with the students on with Jane—they’re covering water in science class, so I’ve been planning ways to work with the students on papermaking techniques. I talked to Jane about how much time is workable, and she’s very flexible.

            I am writing my lesson plan and getting excited to teach!

Week 12

Krista- MIA- 2:00-4:00pm

This past week I observed Krista lead a circle discussion in one of the galleries at MIA for a workshop with the Jewish Artist Lab. The discussion took place in one of the shows that just came down, Resistance, Protest, Resilience—a photo show featuring images from protests and resistance movements throughout history and throughout the world. The meeting was a part of a project that the People’s Library, an on campus action group that I am a part of, was working on with the Jewish Artist Lab to create a poster containing statements from each member of JAL.  

The participants were asked to combine into three person groups and to pick an image to analyze how these photographs were important to us, the communities we are a part of, and to the world. I was a part of a group that looked at a few photographs from the part of the gallery containing photos from the civil rights era. We talked about the ways the photos we looked at resonated with us personally, and why we felt they were important—one of the most important things I heard mentioned was the necessity to stand up for others when they are being mistreated.

We then gathered together as a larger group and began sharing what each group felt. Krista facilitated the group in a respectful, calm way—diffusing any tension that arose from differing opinions with ease. She was able to create a comfortable environment where everybody felt free to express their responses from the individual groups to the larger group.

This is something that is very difficult to do, I am speaking generally for myself—when somebody expresses their thoughts on something that affects me, or those I am close to, it can be very difficult for me to rationally respond and mediate the conversation. I think the way Krista managed the discussion helped me understand different ways of doing this!  

Week 11, March 27-April 3


Urban Arts Academy- Katie -  1:30-6:00

This week I did the second half of my lesson at Urban Arts Academy! The students hand bound books out of the prints we created last week. It took a little longer than expected, and it was very difficult to get them to focus on the task. They loved learning what a bonefolder was—but they got a little frustrated when they had trouble feeding the yarn through the holes. I had to assist them quite a bit, but when the project was finished, they all had books they had bound themselves and printed the cover! They immediately opened the booklets and started drawing in them, which I didn’t expect to happen! It was so fun to see them get excited about a project we had done together!

We spent a lot of time outside with the students as well, as it was so sunny this week. A lot of the students didn’t want to come inside when it was time for me to start my lesson! It was my last week, though, luckily, I left my bag of art supplies there, so I’ll have to return to pick them up!

Overall, I feel like I learned a lot more patience from working at Urban Arts Academy and with Katie. She is a very softspoken instructor, who approaches discipline with her students in a very gentle, personal, and one on one way. While the students don’t always immediately respond to this, over time they form a connection with her and respond to the respectful way she treats them. Observing and doing this with the students has allowed me to expand the ways I interact with young students more than I thought! It was a great experience and I am excited to have been invited back to teach workshops with them in the summer, but I will miss them until then!

Week 10 March 19-27th

  Urban Arts Academy: 1:30-6:00      

  This week I went to Urban arts Academy and taught my first lesson! It was a busy day, we went outside, instead of to the gym. The students had a lot of fun, when we got back, around three, I started to set up for the lesson. I forgot to bring the foam core we were going to use to make the plates, though! Luckily, Urban Arts Academy had some thin sheets of Styrofoam that we were able to adapt for the project! (It ended up working out better, as the students were able to lift up the plate a little and peak under to see if it had printed, because the Styrofoam was so flexible).

            I laid out the brayers and plexi glass on one table—however; I should not have put the brayers out yet! The students immediately began to play with the brayers and stopped paying attention, until I decided to put the brayers back away, they would not pay attention.

            I gave my introduction to the lesson, showing the students examples of patterns that a friend and I made, examples from multiple cultures, and by asking them where they see pattern in their everyday lives. We had a discussion about it, and then I demonstrated how to create the blocks.

            The students got to working! Creating great images and discussing what was important to them in their everyday lives. Eventually, a few students finished their plates and asked me what to do next. I should have encouraged them to create another printing block, but I decided to show them how to print. It ended up dividing the group and eventually causing some trouble, as the group got the demonstration at different times.

            Tomorrow, I will do the second half of my lesson and have my last day at Urban Arts Academy! I’m very excited to teach the rest of the lesson (creating notebooks or journals with their prints as the covers) but I’m not ready to say goodbye! I’m making sure I have extra paper for tomorrow, in case any students who were not there during the original lesson can work on it with us!

Week 9: March 13-March 20th

Week 9

Spring Break

Urban Arts Academy: 4.5 hours, Katie

Whittier School: Thursday, Jane Swatosh, 14 hours

The Monday morning meeting planned with Krista was cancelled due to the snow, the only other day they could meet was Wednesday afternoon, which did not work for me. I will be meeting with Krista soon to go over what was discussed!

            I went to Urban Arts Academy this Monday, they needed somebody to help out in the Pre-K classes, as their substitute cancelled that day. I went there for the first hour or so of my day. They were a lot more chaotic than the group I am usually with—and much smaller! The class functioned similarly to Katie’s, in that they were encouraged to work on an arts project, but if they didn’t want to, they could work on other things, like puzzles.

             When I went back to Katie’s class, we were about to head down to drumming and dancing, which many of the students were uninterested in participating in. The ones who did, however, had a lot of fun. Afterward, we went back upstairs and the students continued working on creating parks or working on their accordion books.         

 I spoke with Katie about the lesson plan I started, outlining what I wanted to teach and asking which days would work. I will be teaching next Monday and the Monday after. She told me that she feels like doing it with only the first group would be a good idea, as they’re usually far more focused and would be more likely to participate and listen to instructions.

            I gathered my materials this week and created my examplars. I will be working with the students on creating a relief print pattern out of cut sticky back foam. They will be prompted to discuss patterns they see in their everyday lives and how they feel it influences them. I will ask them to create a pattern out of things they see everyday and find important to them. We will then make books (the week after) with the prints as the covers. The students will be encouraged to write and draw in these books.

Whittier School:

            I went to Whittier school this Thursday, Ms. Swatosh asked me to come early so we could go over things one more time before starting. I helped her set up a bit for the day, and we discussed ways I could assist her in the classroom, as well as some of the general things students are and are not allowed to do. She showed me how to use the copier, so I could help her out with printing a few things throughout the day.

            When the students got there, a lot of them seemed very confused about me, but during the classes morning meeting, I introduced myself and answered some difficult questions, including, “Do you draw anime” and “have you ever drawn anime”. I asked them about some of the arts projects that were displayed through the room, including one from the MCBA (Minnesota center for the book arts). They told me they all really enjoyed story telling and illustrations.

            Because I was with the students the entire day, I got to see how the class functions as an entirety. Ms. Swatosh and I discussed how some students who are usually more well behaved are more jittery this close to Spring break. There were a few tense moments and issues with concentration, but Ms. Swatosh handled these issues well, responding directly and according to each student’s needs. I spent a lot of the day going between tables and sitting with the students, asking them what they were working on while trying to keep them on task. (At lunch, I asked what the best way for me to be involved in the classroom would be, and was asked to interact and assist the students). It was a busy, exhausting day, but it went a lot faster than I expected!

            I am going tomorrow (Friday) again! Ms. Swatosh will not be there, she told me today and said that I do not still have to come in if I don’t want to—however, I think it is important to interact more with the students regardless! 



            I went to Whittier school again today! There was a substitute named Mrs. Comeaux. I assisted her with the class in a similar way to Ms. Swatosh—assisting the students with their assignments and moving from table to table to help keep them on task. They were, of course, rowdier because their usual teacher was out. Many of the more excitable students were trying to help Mrs. Comeaux by telling her what they did everyday, which was sweet. There were some issues with volume, participation, and just being boisterous in general; however, the students interacted with each other similarly—just a little more than the day before.

I spent some extra time working with one of the students who often gets off task, instead of asking him to put his book away, I asked him about what he was reading. I talked to him about it for a minute, and then asked if I could try to help him with his division and he finally started to concentrate on doing his work.

There was an incident with a student who had to go to the nurses office because she hit her leg on the table. However; She may have just needed some attention—she spent the entire walk to the nurses office telling me how she hurt her leg and none of her friends even asked her what was wrong. It seems like she is a student who requires more attention than most in order to feel recognized.  

I’ll be going back to Whittier in April to finish up my shadowing and to teach my lesson!

Week 8 March 6-March 13

Urban Arts Academy- 4.5 hours


This week I went to Urban Arts Academy! I was very excited to be back, after not being there for two weeks. It was a full day—when I got there, I helped Katie prepare materials for the week and we discussed ideas for my lesson. I asked her if she had any preference on what we should do—she said she was very open. We discussed projects the students were more engaged with. Katie showed me accordion books they have been working on recently, she told me that a lot of the students were very excited about them. She also mentioned that many of the students had some history with working with printmaking techniques, and that those engaged them well also. I am working on a lesson plan that incorporates simple relief printing techniques and bookmaking.

The students were very energetic this week; Monday was extremely rainy. We took the first group outside for their recess and there were a lot of injuries! All, of course, minor—but it allowed me to carefully observe and help calm a child down when they get hurt. It was a lot more difficult to get the students to listen this week, probably from being inside most of the day based on the rain. They didn’t want to leave the gym, or go inside, or even listen to directions. Katie handled the situation very well, when we were trying to go to the gym, many of the students were very excited, but so excited that they were not paying attention. She waited the situation out, asking the students to sit down and wait, when certain students were not paying attention, she told them they couldn’t go to the gym until they all sat down. Many of them responded to this and eventually, a few of them were still extremely excitable, but she eventually convinced them to line up and calm down.

The students were working on making three dimensional park models this week. They were very engaged with this project—it was a sculptural technique that didn’t involve clay or paper mache, things I assume many of them are exposed to quite often.

I will be meeting with Krista and the artist she is working with next week! 

Week 7 Feb 27-March 6

            This week I didn’t go to Urban Arts Academy—I caught the flu last Wednesday and am still recovering. I didn’t feel like I should be around children and possibly get anybody else sick, but I also desperately needed to catch up on my classwork and my studio work, as I wasn’t able to be out of bed for nearly four days.

            I have been working on a few new pieces—I have critiques for them this week. I’ve been embroidering with hair and collograph monoprinting on handmade paper. I installed it today and feel the piece, the third try on this piece, is still wrong. I have also been working on a project where I install crown moulding on pillars on the MCAD campus. I’ve had a lot of trouble with this piece as well, and while I feel I can only improve, I am not feeling confidant in my art at this point. I have spent the past five weeks on each of these pieces and I was very excited about them, however, I have hit many bumps in their creation and they have been more of a headache than anything else.

            I will be going to Urban Arts Academy next Monday, and most likely meeting with Krista as well. While I am at UAA, I will discuss lesson ideas with Katie and begin to draw up a lesson plan.

Week 6 Feb. 20-Feb. 27

            This week Urban Arts Academy didn’t meet on Monday, as the students had the week off, I didn’t meet with Krista Pearson from MIA either, as she decided we would meet later this month with an artist from All My Relations Gallery.

            I met with Lynda to discuss ideas for my teaching lesson at Urban Arts Academy, and we discussed various ways to integrate an arts lesson into the student’s at UAA’s curriculum. As a Print, Paper, Book major, we discussed various ways to incorporate forms of printmaking or bookmaking into a lesson with the students. I emailed Katie and also asked who the artist of the month for the month I will be teaching will be. The artist is a sculptor who works in mixed media with objects to create dimensional forms—usually human forms. Katie mentioned that he is known for carving into bowling balls, something I feel may be translatable into a form of print!

            I will talk more with Katie this upcoming week about what she thinks may be a good idea and then will begin to write a lesson plan and nail down what I will be working with the students on.

Week 5: Feb. 13 - Feb 20

Urban Arts Academy: Katie, 4.5 Hours, MIA: Krista Pearson, 2 hours

            I met with Krista this past Monday morning, she picked me up and we went to Nawayee Center school for a planning meeting about the Mde Maka Ska festival. We got there a little early and I met an instructor there who works in Art Therapy—she gave us a tour of the art studio at the Nawayee Center School. It was amazing to see the amount and variety of work these students were creating, and her discussion of the ways it has helped many of them become more comfortable was wonderful to hear. After this, we sat down with the principal of the school, Joe Rice, a very cheerful and amicable man, and discussed specific logistics of the project that MIA will be working with them on.

            I went to Urban Arts Academy this week as well—Katie was working with the students on making paper mache cakes, the artist of the month is still Claes Oldenburg. I helped her prepare for the day by tearing strips of newspaper, we then went down and escorted the students from the bus to the gym. While we were there, a student had an outburst, he started yelling and pusing chairs and toys—Katie and the other instructors tried to calm him down by talking to him, but he wouldn’t pay attention. Eventually, Katie took him to the hall to talk to him in a place where they could speak privately and in a less stimulating environment where other students would cause trouble. He came back in ten minutes late, feeling much better, I asked Katie what had happened and what the best way she felt to deal with it was. She told me that it happens often and that the best way to handle it is to try to calm him down by talking to him about it and getting him into a more quiet space. There were a few other minor issues with the same student throughout the day, but talking to him in a comfortable and friendly way seemed to work through that barrier.

            When we got back to the class (after a very difficult climb up three flights of stairs with a student who wouldn’t let go of my torso), we had snack and I tried to convince the students to eat the vegetables that the nutrition intern, Jessica, had made for them—most of them refused, again! The students began working on paper mache cakes, and I was charged with escorting the students from their bus drop off to their classes for the first time.  

Week 3: Jan. 30 - Feb. 6 : First meeting at Whittier School!

Whittier School - Jane Swatosh - 30 minutes

            This week I didn’t go to Urban Arts Academy, there was no school this past Monday. Krista and I were going to meet on Monday morning, but she wasn’t feeling well and was having car trouble—we are going to reschedule soon.

            I did meet with Jane Swatosh from the Whittier school—I walked over to Whittier school to meet with her before the school day started. We discussed what I would be there to do, observe and help her and eventually teach an arts integrated lesson.

            We also discussed the times I would be going in to work with her and her students, we decided that full days were a good idea, as I could get to know the students better and observe and assist the entire day. We discussed the IB program and what Jane uses to help in her teaching of the information required by such a program.

            I will be going to Urban Arts Academy tomorrow, I’ll be working with the usual instructor for the class and I am excited to meet her and observe the way she interacts with the students! 

Jan 23, 2017-Jan 30, 2017

Urban Arts Academy - Tamar Ghidalia - 5hrs

I had my first day at Urban Arts Academy this Monday, I arrived a little before one and had a difficult time finding their office, but I did! I filled out some paperwork and met with Tamar, the director, and we discussed what I would be doing during my time there, as well as the differences between a community based arts after school program in relation to one run for-profit. As somebody who worked at an arts based summer camp for six years, I saw many similarities, the types of people who worked there, the students excitement, the programming was even similar—the arts camp I worked at had a drummer who taught the children music and Urban Arts Academy had a visiting drummer in to teach African Drumming. Obviously, however, there are key separations, Urban Arts Academy is a program that is accessible to far more students than the summer camp I worked for, Urban Arts Academy also serves their community specifically.

I worked with a younger age group, and the teacher I will usually work with was sick, so I was working with a woman named Lydia. The students were fun, energetic, and willful—their days are very scheduled. They have a very regimented and nutrition checked snack (which I found super fascinating and important, they had a nutrition intern who planned the snack foods for the students). Throughout the day, they had a few options of activities based on an “artist of the month”—they could watch a movie, color, or create something dimensional. If the student wanted to do something different from one of these things, they could as well, as long as they asked first.

Witnessing the ways the instructors responded to the students was also informative to how I felt I should in this specific space—they dealt with students arguing fairly quickly and with some careful attention. 

Week 1: January 19: Shadowing

Mia ( Minneapolis Institute of Art) - Krista Pearson - 4hrs

This past Friday, I met with Krista Pearson from the Minneapolis Institute of the Arts to discuss my shadowing this semester. We had coffee and discussed what I was interested in getting out of the shadowing—I’m personally interested in community based arts education, but I don’t feel I know one hundred percent what I am interested in yet, so we discussed that a little bit too. The next day, I came in for a workshop she was conducting on sign making. The workshop was a project responding to the photo show, Resistance, Protest, Resilience, a grouping of many types of protest photography. She showed guests around the gallery and then moved into a studio space downstairs where people were then encouraged to make their own protest signs. She was very careful not to tell people what to create, and not to create an example—something I found was important as well.

Most of the people who attended where older, most children who were there were there with parents and were uninterested in the project. Krista was able to easily engage them with drawing.  The space facilitated easy discussion and there was a lot of easy conversation, I did notice that Krista seemed to be a connector between those. She would start a conversation with somebody, get them comfortable speaking in the space, and then move to another person. The facilitation of a comfortable work environment amongst older people who are unfamiliar with each other while creating something meaningful was really interesting to watch Krista manage so comfortably.

I will be shadowing Krista next Monday morning at Center school, I also contacted Urban Arts Academy a few weeks ago and will be meeting with Tamar and working on site this upcoming Monday.