This was one of my favorite community projects and demonstrations of students taking action. After students investigated the challenges of human migration we connected it to the real world situation happening in Syria. Students made over 300 Travel Buddies to send to displaced children. Connecting with literacy, students created and wrote short stories and identities for the travel buddies.
After finishing the second week of distance learning, I thought that things were beginning to settle and find their place. I was working with a few of my teachers to develop a schedule where I could pop into their Unit of Inquiry lessons so that I could check in with the kids to see if they had any questions and go over the assignment for the week. I think I was wishful thinking. Today I sent out some reminders to teachers that I would be attending the meetings we had agreed upon only to be told that another specialist would be taking that time. I was also told that they didn’t want to confuse the kids with conflicting information. I have to admit that I was a bit flabergasted when I read this email. But then I paused and took a moment to reflect, something we all need to do from time to time. As I cooked dinner, I continued to think and process what was going on. Why were these teachers not wanting me to take some responsibility off their hands, why were they hogging the kids? As I worked through what I thought the reasoning might be, I realized that maybe I hadn’t been as transparent I needed to be and I hadn’t been as collaborative as I needed to be. So, going forward this will be my goal. To state my intentions and to truly work with my teachers to help us both arrive at a sane solution. My grandmother always told me I would catch more flies with honey than I would with vinegar so I am going to focus on that and try to work more with my teachers to have a genuine collaboration versus me trying to push in and upset the apple cart. Ugh! Being professional is so challenging.
On another more positive note, today I finished my I Spy the Alphabet in Art slide presentation and launched the choice board of archived “Come Draw with Ms. Beckie.” I think both resources will be great for my littles.
Week 2 down, 26 more to go.
“Do not pray for an easy life, pray for the strength to endure a difficult one.”Bruce Lee
Today was the first day of Distance Learning. This is my second year at PanAmerican School so I am thankful that I am familiar with the content and can build on to what I was working on last year. I am still teaching the P3-Grade 3 Art classes. Today I was able to set up some of my routine weekly meetings.
The plan this far is to meet with each grade level once a week during either their Morning Meetings or UOI meetings. I am working with the PE and Music teacher to create Bitmoji Board for students in P3 – K5 for Homeroom Teachers to post once a week and then they will post it with their weekly overview of lessons for the following week. Students will complete their choice of assignments and then post it to SeeSaw. Fingers crossed it will go well but I can see that there may need to be adjustments.
I am trying to add Screencastify videos with explanations as well as voice memos to help build connections and community with the students and parents. I’m not sure if this will be helpful or create more confusion but time will tell.
I am also becoming more proficient at making my tutorial videos and have now learned how to insert images and handwritten text to them using Adobe Sketch and iMovie.
I’m working on a workbook for each of the grade levels for those who would like extended activities. I will probably only do one for G1, 2 & 3. Maybe for KG and not G3. G3 is more technologically proficient and I can send them more things through SeeSaw and what not.
Day 1 down. 189 to go.
“You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them.”
Always happy to #collaborate with fellow teachers to integrate art in their lessons. G3s we’re exploring the elements of fairytales during library and we came up with this project. We both dedicated time and readjusted a few schedules. Students and teachers were so excited to work on this during their library time.
A few years ago Grade 1 students were inquiring about communities in their UOI. I snapped a few photos of them creating these cardboard buildings of our community here in Qatar. It was such a great lesson. You can really learn a lot about them as you listen to them chat with each other. They mostly talked about all the hotels and tall buildings there are in Qatar and then some would talk about the hospitals and police stations, etc. After all the buildings were created we turned them into a relief wall hanging.
Grade 3 students explored color theory with watercolor painting. I wanted students to work on mixing colors instead of just using the colors straight from the palette. Previously I have had students use oil pastels to create the barriers that would prevent colors from mixing and turning into a puddle of brown muddy colors. This year I decided that if I had them practice and focus on controlling the amount of water and use Analogous colors then we could eliminate a step and then develop more skills in regards to creating texture and leaning about color mixing.
I think that students were more successful in building their knowledge in color theory but I want to work with them more on drawing bigger so that they have more space to mix the colors. Some of their drawings were so small that they didn’t have the space to work with mixing colors.
Take aways from last weekends iSTEMed conference in Doha…
From Cesar Harada, “Imagination is the most precious stuff the children have.” Many of the conversations and workshops focused on stimulating students creativity through empathy.
At the conference I attended a workshop with Suzanne Presinal and we were challenged with creating a playground for animals. We first brainstormed different animals we were interested in and then once the group decided on an animal we began to create the playground from paper and recycle bits. As we were building the playground we began to think about what the characteristics of our animal, a meerkat, were and what they would like best. Our playground eventually included a widescreen TV that would play videos of meerkats, because meerkats like to mimic each other as well as hammocks and slides and places for them to climb. Everyone was in charge of different areas and we worked as a team to build a playground that meerkats would enjoy.
There were other workshops that I attended that gave some useful information but the overarching theme from all of them was to begin with empathy to engage the children. I will definitely be paying more attention to appealing to the students empathy side in the future when asking them to design.
At the end of my second week at Qatar Academy, I am exhausted both mentally and physically but very happy. This being the first year of arts integration for Qatar Academy my colleague, Laura, and I are working to educate both teachers and students to take charge of their arts education. While this may be scary for some, others are jumping in with both feet. Listening to the students and staff about their needs and how we, as educators, can release ourselves and students from the confines of scheduled time tables and creatively weave subjects in and out of each other requires a lot of time, practice and faith. I am certain that things will fall in place as time goes on. Other exciting developments within our program are the collaborative projects with MIA and Mathaf; both programmes focusing on increasing student opportunities to participate in museum practice and arts production through real world applications.
As the end of the year comes to a close and I’m packing up my classroom I look back on my seven years as the art teacher at Hanahan Middle School and smile. I have met some wonderful friends and coworkers who I love dearly. I have learned from my students and I appreciate all they have shared with me. I love the teacher that I have become and as I set off on my new adventure in international education I feel prepared for the next step. In the words of the late Maya Angelou,
“Do the best you can until you know better.
The when you know better, do better.”