We had an amazing art show at Becket Washington in June inspired by themes that students studied at the Becket Outdoor Center. Thank you to the PTO for matting and hanging the art work!
Thursday, September 13, 2018
Thursday, July 5, 2018
Education needs to be transformed through the implementation of UDL because every student is different and has different needs, different ways of learning, different strengths and weaknesses, and different interests.
Students need to be able to take responsibility for their learning because ultimately they will enter a job market where skills such as perseverance, conscientiousness, and self-control will make them an asset to the labor market. As more jobs become replaced by automation, people who possess cognitive skills such as those measured by standardized tests such as reading and math and “soft skills” or non-cognitive skills such as empathy, being able to collaborate with others, and creativity will be an asset in the labor market. No one wants their job to be replaced by a robot and in many cases jobs will evolve and certain aspects of a job will be replaced by computers. The parts of the job that will not be replaced by the computers would be the non-cognitive skills or the “soft skills.”
As an art teacher, I love that the most important skill that I guide students in is creativity and risk taking which are essential soft skills which cannot be measured on a standardized test. This reaffirms what I already know about the importance of art and it makes me take my job very seriously. I know that I need to help students foster the artist and creative agent that is in each and every student. Now what I need to do is find ways in my classroom to allow students to take more ownership over their art-making and learn to trust their creative instincts.
Some of the barriers that my students face are in relation to their self-esteem. Some students will come up to me and ask me the following question about their work: “Do you like it?” I always turn that question around on them and respond: “Do YOU like it?” or if you are questioning your art what do you think is strong about it and what would you like to improve in your art? I will follow up by mentioning that it is their art and how they feel about their art matters more than what I think. Of course if I can give mastery-oriented feedback and push them to develop their ideas and techniques more I will but I am trying to teach students to think critically about their own work.
Sometimes I feel like I spend my whole day saying to students: “You are the artist.” That is my response to those self-esteem and fear of risk-taking questions like: “Should I use purple?” My response: “You are the artist.” I try to foster this self-esteem in students by encouraging students to take risks, not be afraid to make a mistake and by telling students: “There is no wrong answer in art.” It amazes me how scared some students are to make a mistake. This fear of making a mistake is the opposite from the kind of expert learners and future leaders that we need in society. So one huge barrier that students face that can be removed with UDL is to allow students more autonomy in their choice of subject matter and encourage that confidence in students to carry the project out. If students believe in their own ideas and creativity, then they are developing that self-confidence that is essential and will lead them to take creative risks. That genuine creativity is the type of skill that is less-likely to be replaced in the future.
Katie Novak has four components of a UDL curriculum. I found looking at each component separately very helpful when considering how to begin to implement UDL in my classroom.
Component 1: Goals
The teacher could broaden the goal of the lesson to expand the potential for what it can be. This will allow students to become more autonomous learners and if they know that they must shape their projects and learning, that will increase their self-confidence and decrease fear of making a mistake. It is a simple step that can be taken right away. It is a shift away from the more teacher-directed projects and more student-directed interests.
Component 2: Methods
Teachers need to think about how there can be diversity in how students learn and express their knowledge. There could be more diversity in what a project can become and how the end-product may look.
Component 3: Materials
Can I diversify the materials that students use? This is one of my biggest challenges in regard to the implementation of UDL. Often in the art room we are learning about a specific art material or technique and how it works. The use of materials is such a huge part of art and some choice in materials can be added.
Component 4: Assessments
It would be great in our art-room practice for assessment to be more self-reflective and peer-reviewed instead of coming straight from me. This would boost self-confidence and the sense of awareness that students need to develop.
Monday, June 18, 2018
Friday, February 2, 2018
1st grade artists learned how to paint a bird by first identifying the shapes that they see when they look at a bird. Then they added details such as feathers and additional color. After they painted their birds, they created an environment for their birds.