First Day of Distance Learning 2020/2021

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.”

Maya Angelou

First Week at PAS

This has been a busy week for sure and I feel as if I’m still trying to play catch up. Today is the end of my first week teaching at PASPOA here in Porto Alegre, Brazil. I am splitting my time between two campuses and see two section of each grade level Pre 3-G3 twice in a 6 day cycle. On one campus I have a dedicated art space but on the other campus I’m teaching art on a cart which has been a bit of a challenge. I think that amidst all the meetings and inconvenience of not having the experience of knowing the system it has been a successful week.

Starting from scratch.

This week the G1-3 worked on colored pencil and marker techniques while creating their name tags. I love this lesson and have used it for years with multiple grade levels. Procedures and techniques get packed into a little bit of getting to know more about the students.

My KGs worked on creating artworks with shapes using oil pastel and watercolors. I showed them how to do dry brush and wet on wet and several of them gave it a go.

Pre4s worked on Line artworks using watercolor and oil pastels. Some of these kiddos aren’t speaking a lot of English yet so it’s a bit of a challenge since I don’t speak Portuguese but we’ll get there.

Podcast Review

While listening to Tamar Avishai’s podcast, “The Lonely Palette,” Ep. 36 – “Behold the Monkey,” I learned of this interesting story where a woman in Spain restored a fresco of Jesus Christ called “Ecce Homo (Behold the Man).”  With a quick Google Search of the incident I came across several articles including this one in the NY Post,  Infamous botched Jesus painting now a major tourist attraction.

In Avishai’s podcast, some of points she discusses in regards to this event are the fact that this was no ordinary vandalism job but done in love, to restore one woman’s favorite local depiction of Jesus Christ and prior to the “restoration,” no one really knew about this work of art.

This was the first episode I have listened to in this series but the mix of art history and the easiness of Avishai’s voice provides a lot of promise for me to continue listening.


Marionette Puppets

I was just looking through some old photos and videos trying to free up storage!! I came across these G4 students marionette puppets.  During their UOI Sharing the Planet they were exploring the concept of conservation and focusing on trees.  I had them do a little research on paper coffee cups and then we saved coffee cups for a week.  Students then created these marionette puppets.  So cute!

Research: Conceptual Art

In a ceramic workshop that I am taking with Waleed R. Qaisi, we were discussing Conceptual Art and that the artwork is a result of something from withing the artist and the art doesn’t have to be something representational, sometimes its about exploring the material and the balance of composition.  I struggle with this and so i decided to do research on Conceptual Artists and their process.

I found this video of Ai Weiwei’s “Sunflower Seeds.”  While the sunflower seeds are a recognizeable product, the viewer might question, “Why has this artist made, or placed, all of these sunflower seeds on the ground this way?  What does it mean?”  After watching the video I had a better idea of Conceptual art and was able to develop a concept to explore throughout the workshop.

Reflecting on the Reggio Emilia Philosophy


In preparing to attend the “Integrating the Reggio Emilia Principals and Philosophy in the Early Years Classroom,”  I brushed up on some reading about the philosophy and came across an article by the Scandinavian School in San Francisco republished with permission on  The article focuses on these five aspects of the Reggio Emilia Philosophy:  the child, the teacher, documentation, curriculum and the environment.  While reading, I thought of my students and the teachers I work with as well as my own practice.  Here are a few things I took from the article.

1.  When discussing the child, it states that the Emilio Reggio Philosophy believes in a “listening pedagogy.”  If I am to practice a listening pedagogy then when my students don’t understand something I need to teach them.  This is not limited to art skills but also life skills.  For example, teaching in Qatar, the many of the students at my school have nannies who clean after them.  When asked to clean their stations and they don’t do the job that I expect then I need to show them.  This “direct interaction with the environment and social groups” helps them understand how I think the station should be cleaned.

2. The teacher is an educated learner in that they are observing and reflecting on how best to provoke and inspire the child’s learning.  In “listening” to and observing the child, the teacher is able to use personal knowledge and pedagogy set to up and guide the learning process.  As I listen to and observe students while working through a provocation I can learn about their interests and prior knowledge to motivate them to move from the comfortable and familiar into the unknown.

3.  Documentation is also an important part of the Reggio Emilia Philosophy.  Documentation can take many forms such as photography, audio and video, transcription, and student work.  Through documentation both teachers and students are able to reflect on the education journey.  This is also important for guiding the curriculum.  When reflecting on documentation I can develop a plan for working with my students as well as reflect on what was successful and what needs improvement.

4.  Curriculum should be child led and driven.  I don’t think, however, that this means students should be expected to know what they want to learn about.  It’s through the process of giving the students provocations and then listening to and documenting the child’s response to the stimuli that the teacher can then develop curriculum catered to the child’s interests.  As the expert, the teacher can then weave into the curriculum language, maths, social skills, arts and sciences accordingly.

5.  Finally, the environment is also an important aspect of the Emilio Reggio Philosophy.  Referring to it as the “third teacher,” this physical space should be a place where students are comfortable to work and take ownership of.  This space should be set up according to the needs of the child and the teacher.  There should be spaces for clean work as well as a space to be messy.  There should also be spaces for students to work individually and in small and large groups.  It should be an organic space that is lived in.

After attending the workshop, “Integrating the Reggio Emilia Principles and Philosophy in the Early Years Classroom,” led by Dr. Nkechy Ezeh at SEK International School, Qatar, I was reaffirmed that the Reggio Emilia Philosophy is not a cookie cutter approach to teaching.  As Dr. Ezeh led us through practical strategies of learning through this philosophy and gave examples of documentation, I reflected on my own practice further.  For me, the Reggio Emilia Philosophy is the opportunity to take ownership in an engaging learning process for both myself and my students, using provocations to jump start lessons and guide the curriculum and encourage life long learning through exploration.