I am new to blogging, as you probably have noticed by the sheer volume of posts I have made ;). However, I am not new to teaching. As a part of my teaching practice, every time I develop a lesson plan I ask myself, “What is the objective of this lesson? What is my intention?” As I venture into the blog-o-sphere, I am continually asking myself what is my intention with this blog? I remind myself that at the core of my values as an art teacher is making sure the lessons I provide students are relevant to their life experiences, promote the development of self-identity, foster creative problem-solving and innovation, develop visual literacy skills, and nurture students to be remarkable global citizens. Yes, that is what is hidden behind the scenes of what I hope are fun and engaging art projects. 21st Century learning objectives for 21st Century students.
As I search the internet for inspiration, I find lots of art education blogs out there. A few of them really stand out to me though, because I can see that the lessons and projects created have a defined intention. I am not a “cookie-cutter” art teacher and I cannot endorse those sort of art projects. There is a place in a child’s learning to follow step-by-step instruction, but I believe there should always be creative choice. When student art work tends to all look the same, it makes me feel sad and it goes against my gut as a teacher. Structure is important, and learning to follow instructions too, but it is so important as a teacher or a parent, to recognize what your intention is with what you are teaching and make the learning objectives shine through the process. Think of it this way, the next time you are planning a project with your students, consider if the lesson is full of healthy nourishing vitamin rich sustenance, or is a highly processed snack?
Here are some art education blogs that I find tasty and healthy too, full of intentions:
TinkerLab: Created by Rachelle Doorley, “TinkerLab™ is a blog devoted to projects that encourage experimentation and creative play with a variety of materials and subject matter. There is a lot of good stuff happening on this site. I give it my “contemporary art teacher stamp of approval.”
The Artful Parent: Mom and artist, Jean Van’t Hul knows what’s going on. Most of her projects promote self-discovery, problem-solving, and exploration. It is evident that she is always setting an intention with each lesson she does with her children…it is very inspiring! This blog for sure gets my “stamp of approval.”
Art is Basic: Marcia Becket is a k-6 art teacher and her projects seem to embrace 21st Century learning objectives. I can tell that she really thinks about what she is “feeding” her students!
The Art of Education: Created by Jessica Balsley, who realized there was a lack of professional development resources for art educators and started a community for art teachers through this fantastic blog. She is like the cheerleader behind art education on the web and is working hard to make a difference. This blog gets, “two stamps of approval!”
Incredible @rt Department: If you are an art educator, you are most likely very familiar with this site. I have searched this website’s lesson plans for a creative jolt for many years…long before Pinterest. Although I do not endorse all of the art lessons on this site, there is a lot to sift through and some great projects with 21st Century learning objectives.
Art Teachers Hate Glitter: This blog is about the rants of being an art teacher. I am not one to focus or dwell on the negative, but this teacher is funny. It makes me chuckle and unfortunately the stuff she says is true! You won’t find projects here, but I find the wit to be sardonically inspiring…is that possible?
I have a few other internet gems I find inspiration in as well and wanted to make note of them:
I found this high school art teacher on Instagram, I don’t know her name, but I am following her and think her and I probably have a very similar outlook and approach to teaching art. her handle is ‘artofteaching‘ on Instagram. Find her and follow her, you will be inspired!
I do “Yoga with Adriene” almost every morning on Youtube. I throw out my mat, turn on her station on my Apple TV, and start my day inspired. She does such a fantastic job, and although I don’t know her personally, I feel like she is my teacher and I forget that I am watching a Youtube video at home and am not actually in a class. (except for the fact that my puppy insists on being on the yoga mat with me at all times, licking my ears and biting my hair and rolling around under me while in down-dog!)
I got the gumption to start a blog from the founders of Pinch of Yum. This adorable couple from Minnesota, Lindsay and Bjork, decided to publish their monthly income report for their food blog from the beginning and you can see transparently what they do to make a living. It is both fascinating and inspiring. I am driven to achieve success with ‘art mouse house’ because of this blog…and the recipes are kickin’ too–try the lentil curry, yum!
I hope that this post helps others reflect on what your own intentions are in teaching and in learning. Sometimes the intention can be simply to “have fun”, just as long as what we are doing and learning is nourishing our brains and bodies and not loaded with harmful artificial ingredients.
What inspires you? Please post any other art education blogs or internet goodies that are full of good intentions in the comment section ;).