Friday, September 24, 2010

Biodiversity: "See the Bigger Picture"

The images on display in the “See the Bigger Picture” traveling exhibition are the winners and honorable mentions from the worldwide photography competition where youth submitted photographs representing biodiversity. . acclaimed exhibition is making its United States debut in... Mobile at the Exploreum!!!!

The photography by the youth of our world is on display and worth seeing!

Pictures of my night with my "blue-eyed boy" (nephew) enjoying the Exploreum are posted:
EDU 301 students...this could be a Visual Arts Field Experience!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

"Whirled Peace" at the USA COE

We celebrated the International Day of Peace in the College of Education at the University of South Alabama with our own first  Pinwheels for Peace art installation.

Not only did Dr. Giles encourage her students in the Early Childhood classes to participate, she brought her sons Jay and Kade to be the first to plant their pinwheels Tuesday morning.

Ms. Jayne Kennedy's students in the Social Studies methods classes participated.
And my many students in Arts in the Elementary School elected to create and participate.

Thanks to all who participated in planting whirled peace! ~Dr. B

Pinwheels for Peace and the POWER of ART in Texas

Pinwheels fro PEACE and the importance of publicity

Thursday, September 16, 2010

"Studio Days" and How Lessons Learned in ART can teach us about LIFE

I just read a great post at the "Inspired Classroom" by Elizabeth Peterson about her Studio Days. She basically gives students a long amount of TIME to start and complete a project. (Time, or lack of it, is a significant condition that often frustrates me as I make decisions on the design and development of my own teaching.)  Fourth grade students in Peterson's "Studio Day" are given time to really work their way through the creative process and allowed to become quite involved and include some real artistic creation in the visual arts, music, theater, and/or poetry making, etc. (This condition reminds me of the wonderful state of being, which requires more time, known as FLOW (the mental state of operation in which a person in an activity is fully immersed in a feeling of energized focus, full involvement, and success in the process of the activity.)
I also really like her idea of “pushing time" for the students who rush to complete and miss out on the advantages which occur as a result of becoming engaged and immersed. She describes it as when the first student says he/she is done and she follows up with, “No you’re not. What else can you do with this?”

Peterson's "Lessons Learned" are a great list of outcomes of being involved in  GOOD ART projects...and as I read them I also thought about how they mirror LIFE:
Peterson's Lessons Learned in her Studio Days -
■“Trust the Process” Sometimes things don’t go as you planned, but if you keep working (persevering) an end result will come.
■“You are Never Truly Done” When you think you are done (after 20 minutes), you are forced to sit with your product and realize there is always more you can do to make your work better.
■“Mistakes Will Happen, Work with Them” Something may go wrong, but it doesn’t mean you need to stop or throw your work away. Instead, work with it. The stray mark can be turned into a flower.
■“The Process Takes Time and Focus” When you work on something, you need to give it your attention. Multitasking often does not work. You owe it to yourself and your work to take time and focus.
Sooo....I'm thinking about having a College Student "Studio Day" (or night) maybe once a month...How should I structure it? When would the best time be? I wonder if anyone would show up? Let me know what you think former & current students!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

"Whirled Peace"

September 21, International Day of Peace

From "A pinwheel is a childhood symbol – it reminds us of a time when things were simple, joyful, peaceful. A pinwheel is easily made using just about any type of material, from copy paper, to thin plastic, to lightweight metal. The stick of the pinwheel can be as simple as a pencil or as intricate as a carved stick or metal rod. Pinwheels can be made as small as one inch in diameter or as large as desired – limited only by the creator’s materials and motivation. Pinwheels can be minimal or very complex – imagination, creativity (and a mild breeze) are the only variables needed.

Everyone will create pinwheels, pinwheels of all shapes and sizes – as part of the creation process, write your thoughts about "war and peace / tolerance/ living in harmony with others" on one side. The writing can be poetry, prose, haiku, or essay-style – whatever writing form is appropriate as you express yourself. On the other side, draw, paint, collage, etc. to visually express your feelings. Assemble these pinwheels and on International Day of Peace, Sept. 21, 2009, "plant" your pinwheels outside (at the schools, museum, public places, etc.) as a public statement and art exhibit/installation. The spinning of the pinwheels in the wind will spread thoughts and feelings about peace throughout the country, the world!

Pinwheels for Peace is an art installation project started in 2005 by two Art teachers, Ann Ayers and Ellen McMillan, who teach at Monarch High School in Coconut Creek, Florida, as a way for their students to express their feelings about what’s going on in the world and in their lives. The project was quickly embraced by their students and the entire school community and by millions of art teachers, teachers, parents, children and adults who desire peace in our world.
The first Pinwheels for Peace were installed on Sept. 21, 2005. Since then, we have grown from 500,000 pinwheels planted the first year, to three million pinwheels in 2009!"

Please plan to join us, on Sept. 21, 2010, as we celebrate International Day of Peace with "whirled peace!"

Monday, September 13, 2010

STUDENT-STATUS DEALS: You Should Take Advantage and Start with the Mobile Symphony Orchestra
How many reduced admissions and deals did I pass up as a student because I didn't know or take the time to take of advantage of them? Let me count the ways...

After reading "Symphony kickoff: Music holds its own against football" in the Sunday Press-Register, I was inspired to "Google" the Mobile Symphony Orchestra (MSO) to check out the 2010-2011 Symphony Season.  As I considered purchasing the $45 - $55 dollar tickets to Motown's Greatest Hits, I was thinking about the arts field experiences I require of my students and wished the option for experiencing the Symphony was a little more accessible.

After a little more surfing the site...I found the mother of all deals!!! (I'm thinking about becoming a student again myself!)

College STUDENTS can attend the symphony for $8.00...I repeat EIGHT DOLLARS! (See #14 under FAQ: "14. College student tickets are $8 on Saturdays and Sundays with a valid student ID. You must reserve tickets by phone or in person. Student tickets are not available online. "

K-12 Students can attend selected Sunday matinee productions through the BIG RED TICKET program FREE!

So before YOU read this, take advantage of the musical deal, and reserve my good seats, I'm going to purchase my full-price tickets NOW and support the MSO.

Hope to see you at the Symphony!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Arts Field Experience Reflections

Field experience requirements for the Arts in the Elementary School course I teach include attending community arts productions or events. I have discovered over the years that most students are not aware or do not take advantage of the arts opportunities in our community, but once they get involved and EXPERIENCE the arts, many develop a greater appreciation and value of "art for arts sake."

Because one of my many motto's is that I would not ask my students to do anything I would not do myself, I will post MY community arts field experience reflections. Below are the minimum reflection requirements for my students. Any ideas and feedback on improving this activity is welcomed!

Community Arts Field Experience Reflection Guidelines
Using the dropbox at e-College, add entries describing and reflecting on your attendance and/or participation in:
1. a dance production
2. a music production
3. a theatre production
4. a visual arts production

Each of the 4 reflections for your Community Arts Field Experience attendance/participation should include at least the following information:
1. Art Discipline (dance, music, theatre, or visual arts)
2. Name of production
3. Date of production
4. Location of production
5. Time spent attending or participating
6. Description of the production and how you participated
7. Reason for choosing the production
8. Did you enjoy the experience? Why or why not?
9. As a result of this experience, what did you learn about dance, music, theatre, or visual arts that you did not already know?
10. Could you use the knowledge you gained from this experiences to inform your teaching? If so how?

Visual Arts
The LoDa Artwalk occurs on the second Friday of each month in the Cathedral Square Arts District, in Downtown Mobile. It is from 6:00 to 9:00 pm.

I attended Friday, September 10th from 6:00 - 9:00. This was an event where downtown galleries, institutions, businesses, studios, and shops opened their doors for the public to view the visual arts, taste delicious foods, and hear the sounds of various musicians sharing their talents.

I had plans to eat at Wintzell's on Dauphin Street with some friends and the time and place was just right to be followed by the Artwalk. I've attended the LoDa Artwalk in the past and always enjoyed the event. This was a perfect night, after a busy, and overwhelming week, to enjoy the sights, sounds, and flavors; running into some of my favorite "art peeps" was an unintended added benefit!

I thoroughly enjoyed the experience, initially for social reasons; having dinner with good friends from work was a great way to start the evening. Walking to a favorite downtown coffee shop to get a sugar-free almond amaretta iced latte at Serda's was my kind of dessert.

As we strolled in and out of galleries, I found my long lost friend Melissa Morgan in Art Space 301! I had no idea she was one of the directors of this "Centre for the Living Arts." Melissa is a colleague and friend I have collaborated with in the past. The art resources and educational opportunities Melissa shared will certainly inform my future educational endeavors.

Also, while I was in Art Space 301, the Mobile Mystery Dinners actors got my attention. My daughter has mentioned what fun it would be to have a mystery dinner party, so I gathered them, got information, and they were kind enough to pose for a picture.
As I was heading back to my car around 9:00, I stopped in the Robertson Gallery because I missed walking through it earlier. I found a work of art I would have bought on the spot if I had the resources. I must go back and see it again and get the artist's name (maybe Meredith). I also need to find out the name of the two musicians performing because they were quite good. If I didn't have a Dauphin Island Hurricane 5K race at 8:00 am, I would have helped myself to the Sangria, pulled up a chair and made myself at home in Robertson Gallery for a while.

The painting which got my attention is titled "Glorious" and I hesitate to post this poor quality cell phone picture because it does not do it justice.
So not surprisingly, I left the LoDa Artwalk a happier person. I had a good time with friends, ate good food, made contacts with former friends and colleagues (who will be great resources for future art education field experiences), and was inspired by beautiful visual arts and music.

"Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life." ~Pablo Picasso

Thursday, September 9, 2010

ARTS: "Absolutely Critical" for Business

Jonathan Spector on Importance of Arts/Creativity in Business

"Productivity and innovation are absolutely critical..."
"Arts education is perceived to be absolutely critical in stimulating the kind of skills and capabilities that lead to innovation and creativity..."
Companies are saying they most desperately need people who are: leaders, creative thinkers, communicators, influential, have varied perspectives, are visually observant.

If the ARTS play a "critical role," what are "we" (society, educators, parents, administrators) doing about it????

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

A Student/Child is About to Make a Mistake...Teachers/Parents Fix It...What's Wrong with That?

Power to the Learner has a great post: "The Cost of "Keeping Things Moving" in the Classroom.

Are we keeping children from learning problem-solving skills? Are we depriving them from developing confidence to figure things out independently? Are we teaching kids to avoid the challenging activities which might lead to a mistake?

In some cases I think so. This post highlights the quick-fix behaviors which so many parents/teachers (myself included) may exhibit in an effort to make our fast-paced, outcomes-based world run a little smoother in the moment. But what are we doing for the development and long-term well-being of our children? Are they learning consequences of their own actions? Do they really expereince/understand cause and effect?

I know it takes more TIME to allow children to stumble, make a mistake, or fail and figure it out (it can also be painful to witness, especially as a parent)...but isn't the time well spent? In analysis of my own actions, TIME is the motivator. I feel there's not enough of it and maybe this is why, at times, I quickly fix/correct the student "mistakes" to move on to more...more content...more (underdeveloped) lessons...more...more...

Maybe the quantity vs. quality debate applies here? What do you think teachers/parents?