EDUC 493 Art Journal 

Journal 1 #600Smiles 

Week one of student teaching was a blast. My week was filled with observation, greetings, and excitement. 
One thing that I reflected on were how funny the kids were. They are so honest and silly, they were cracking me up every day. The number of times I was told that I was "Reaaaaallllly tall," was uncountable. 
This week I chose to try something new for my journal and use acrylic paint with the back of a pencil instead of a paint brush. I really enjoy how my artwork came out and how it pops on the page. I decided to use primary colors to symbolize elementary school and working with young students. I wanted to use dots to represent the hundreds of students that I met in one week. I made it a priority to meet every single student and ask them one fun fact about themselves. In one week I have met around 600 students! Woah, that's a lot of names to remember! I chose to paint a laughing smiley face because I found myself laughing and smiles many times throughout my week. The kids are so blunt and funny to listen too! My first week left me excited for what's to come!

Journal 2 #Reinforcements 

My second week of teaching reminded me of three things I need to reinforce in my classroom and teaching. The first being engagement. I found that in many of my classes there is always a  few students that have no passion for art. They sit in their chair and put very little effort into the class. I am still figuring out how to excite these students that don't seem to be interested or care about art class. This will be something to work on as I continue. The second is behaviors. Typically I find myself pretty good at managing poor behaviors, however there are just a few students that have such extreme behaviors it seems almost impossible to calm them down, have them participate, or even treat other students with respect. As a new teacher I am trying everything that I have learned, like taking the student in the hall to have one-on-one conversations. The hard part is some of these students absolutely refuse to listen to me or any adult! I will have to try different things with each student to find the right way to handle their behaviors. The third is learning targets. I had a staff meeting this week that was about making sure that teachers were using learning targets and having students be fully aware of what their goals and expectations are. I have started to include the learning targets in my introductions to lessons having students read out loud what their target is for that day. It also helps me to know where I need to be leading my students.

Journal 3 #Transitioning

This week in student teaching has lead me to reflect on how I have transitioned from a student to a teacher. It feels good to be where I am because I have been in school since I was 4 years old! It is crazy to think that I am on the other side now, educating the youth. I know that with 7 semesters of art education under my belt I feel confident in my new position as a teacher but I am always learning new things daily during my student teaching. 
I am keeping a lot of the same habits I had while I was taking classes such as, collaborating with my teachers and peers, doing research and studying on art topics or classroom behaviors, and evaluating and reflecting on myself and my teaching. As a new teacher I am constantly learning how to manage a classroom, organize, plan, collaborate, and grow! 
Because I have three years of experience teaching dance classes with ages 5-18, I have been able to gain confidence with my classroom management skills and use them in the art room. In order to have a strong presence in the room that the kids respect, these three strategies do wonders.
 
1. When I or a student is talking I always wait until I have the entire class's respect and I know they are all listening.
2. I hold my students accountable for themselves by having them pass out their own supplies, clean their own materials, pass out and put away their artwork, etc. A lot of times students will go up to me and ask something like, "What do I do when I'm done?" or "Where do I put this?" I simply reply with, "Ask a friend who was listening, I already said that," and they have learned that they have to be responsible for themselves.
3. I have used conferencing as tool for behavioral problems by taking students into the hall, getting on their level, and using positive reframing to find the root of the problem and find a quick solution.

Journal 4 #TimeManagement

Efficient time management put simply, is using your time to your greatest benefit. It is knowing what tasks need to be completed in what given time you have to complete them. As a teacher this is incredibly important! Having efficient time management keeps me on track. It allows me to work quickly and get many things done in short periods of time. I only have small periods of time during my school day to plan and prepare for many, many things; Being timely is critical.
 
Time management also affects students learning. If I am not prepared for every single class that I teach in a day (usually 5 or 6 classes) that means I would be taking time away from my students to get out materials or figure out what I need to do. It would not be fair to my students to not be fully ready to teach them when they are in my classroom. I only get to see each class for one hour a week, every minute is important! 
 
I am a full time student teacher, I work two jobs, I am maintaining somewhat of a social life, I am seeing my loved ones, and I am creating time for myself- I have to have good time management if I want to thrive in all of these areas in my life. I have learned that my planner is my best friend, to stay ahead of the clock, and to know my priorities. I was very worried at the beginning of the semester that I would never be able to have any free time. I had to make the decision to quit one of my jobs that I really liked, but it was a good decision overall because it gave me the time I needed to see my friends, to rest, and to catch up on my school work. 
This week I made a print my gluing yarn to cardboard and painting on top of the yarn. I drew a clock in the corner that is radiating on the many aspects in my life (the circles). I chose opposing colors blue and pink to represent balance and juxtaposition. 

Journal 5 #BeProfessional 

Professional development is extremely important as an educator. We teach our students to always take in new information, techniques, ideas, and grow- we need to do the same. Education is always changing and adapting to the world around us so staying up to date on the newest strategies and skills is critical. 
There are many things that art teachers can do to keep growing in their craft, some of which include, taking seminars, observing/collaborating with their colleagues, having observations from administrators, reading books or articles on art education, going to art museums/galleries, taking art classes, and reflecting on themselves. 
While student teaching I have had the opportunity to development myself in a few ways. I have been able to go to staff meetings, some that included the whole faculty, and some that were specifically for art teachers. I have gotten to be observed by my supervisor, mentor teacher, and the principal.
I have had discussions and meetings with my mentor teacher and my future high school mentor teacher to talk about lesson ideas, teaching methods, and more. With all of these events I have gained information on myself, my teaching, what it feels like to be in a community of educators, and art lessons. The greatest takeaway from my experiences is to collaborate with my colleagues. We all have our own ideas and methods but when we come together we are able to share the best of ourselves and create the best classes and instruction for the benefit of our students.

Journal 6 #Enhanced

After my experience teaching in elementary it was a big shift transitioning to high school. I was able to use what I learned from elementary to enhance my teaching in my secondary placement. I created a poem that reflects on what I took from my first placement. 
I found that energy is contagious! If I come into a class excited and motivated, it will rub off on my students. New ideas are important when lesson planning. I want my projects to be fun and exciting, not old and boring! Humor is so important! It is not only a huge part of who I am, but having a good sense of humor helps to let the hard days be a little lighter. Being ahead of the game is critical. I always have to be thinking ahead, looking into the whole week instead of just that day or even a whole month ahead! Being neat an organized helps A LOT. Having all of my supplies and papers with a dedicated place helps to keep me on track. 
Challenging my students not only pushes them to be the best artist/student they can but it also keeps them engaged and striving for success. Keeping excitement in the classroom helps to keep my students on task, ready to learn, and excited about their artwork and learning. Setting apart dedicated time for my students is also a huge aspect I learned from elementary. I have to set time in my day to build relationships with my students and make sure they are on track.
 
 

Journal 7 #BeingReal

 

To create a predictable, caring, and positive learning environment I implement several things. To create a predictable class I have several routines that my students learn. For example the first thing my students do when they walk in is get their supplies for they day out and they are welcome to start working right away until I stop them to give announcements and instruction for the day. Another daily routine is clean-up. My students know that the expectation is that the room should look better when they leave than it looked when they arrived. They are great about working together and volunteering to help when I ask for it. When students know expectations, they work to achieve them.

Having my students know that I care about them is a huge part of my teaching philosophy. I do that by showing my student that I support them, I am there for them, and I am on their team. I am very real and honest with my students. I ask them about their day, what they have going on after school, if anyone is doing anything fun over the weekend. I create a community of learners that support and show interest in each other by implementing daily discussions in my class.  Many of my students go to me for advice on subjects outside of school. I always give honest and direct feedback that I feel will benefit them the most. By doing that, they know they can trust me and I am being real with them.

To keep a positive learning environment I focus on diversity, gratitude, and praise. In Fort Collins diversity is rare, but students still need to learn about the world around them. I do this in my instruction by showing artists, concepts, and even creating projects based around another culture. I not only show different cultures art to give them visual reference and inspiration but I also connect my examples to a global perspective: Showing my students that cultures are very different but also SO similar and connected. I tell my students often how grateful I am for them. I was blessed with some pretty awesome classes and they really do brighten my day. I tell them that! I am honest with them and I tell them I appreciate their hard work, their compassion towards each other, and them just being themselves. 

 

Reflecting on my journal entries:

After re-reading all of my journal reflections I can see the most growth in engaging my students, collaborating with my colleagues, and compartmentalizing my thoughts. After a short period of time I feel like I am better at engaging my off-task students by knowing my students. Some students need a stern correction and warning, some students need more of an encouraging, supportive push. I have been collaborating a lot more at Rocky with my mentor teacher and even with other students to better my lessons and my classes as a whole. Compartmentalizing has been important and getting easier as time goes on. I know I have SO much going on, but I have to keep my mind on the class and the students I am with at that given time. 

 

Some reflective practices I applied to my teaching was getting feedback from my students. I have been asking more often if they need any more clarification, is there anything I missed that I can help them with, are they understanding the lesson. I ask them straight up for their feedback during and at the end an assignment on their self-evaluation sheets. Having them write down questions or what  I can personally improve on my lessons help me to see what I missed, but also gives every student the chance to have a voice. I have found that when I ask for feedback I tell them to be honest and my purpose for asking those questions: I want to better my teaching and improve projects/classes/assignments...all of it! I have to tell them to be honest and that they wont hurt my feelings if they have critical feedback.

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