Racecar Lines

I just created a tutorial to encourage my students to try varied line quality in their drawings. 

 The act of drawing itself is challenging, so it might seem premature to discuss line quality in elementary school. However, students quickly understand the value in this technique when they see how sophisticated their final results are! I compare their pencils to race cars on a track, and discuss how to intensify the lines whenever it quickly changes direction. 

This technique has been quite successful with my 3rd-6th grade students, and I hope it will be fun for all of you to try! 

Themes for a new year

I've been fortunate enough to have a very relaxing summer punctuated with incredibly inspiring moments. My school sponsored a cohort of teachers to attend Building Learning Communities 2015 in Boston this July, and our administrators challenged us to meditate on these prompts: 

1) Give an example of a unit, lesson, project, etc., and how you have changed it based on your experiences at the conference
2) How you foresee the school being different 3 years from now, based on your experiences at the conference. 

Our school is going through a major transformation, building out to a new floor, adding new classrooms, and renovating the entire space with an emphasis on innovation and inspiration from maker spaces. Attending BLC was perfect timing to consider how to reimagine our curriculum, schedule, and even a larger school philosophy. 

After considering the conference, I've given myself these challenges for the year:

  • Structure the year with space to empower students to design their lessons, to assess their learning, and to lead the discussions. 
  • Use technology and the school community relationships to bring the world to students through cultural studies which naturally grows empathy and inspiration. Use these connections to give students more opportunities to discuss their artwork and the artwork of people around the world and leverage social media for positive, ethical interactions. 
  • Allow more time for students to meditate and use habits of mindfulness to be more present, open, and curious in the studio. 

I'm looking forward to sharing the ideas that spring from these challenges soon! I hope you've all had wonderful and energizing summers!