Monday, February 5, 2018

Special thanks to Kerry Shadbolt for being a guest author this year on our MAEA Blog. Now that we've settled into the new year I'm hoping to get back to weekly blog posts.

My Advice to Young Art Teachers:  How I Survived and Thrived
By Kerry Shadbolt

I feel bad because over the last year, Betsy has been asking me for an article. It is only until now that there has been time.  This is my first school year that I am not working full time in a high school.  I just moved to rural northern Wisconsin with my husband, and there was not a job opening.  Last term I taught a couple classes at the local college, and this term I am assisting in the Ceramics I class. 
My first thought of not being fully unemployed was, “scary”, and now it has become fine (thanks to my supportive spouse). Because I am not full-throttle into my new school year, I am able to write this for you.  Partially, I am able find the peace and quiet to do this because I fell asleep at 8 pm and now I am wide awake at 6 am.  This brings me to my first piece of advice…

1)    Sleep.  Make time for sleep.  NPR had this great article explaining how brain cells clean themselves when in sleep mode.  Easier said than done, right?  This is not to say that I sleep well all the time, but I’ve found things that work for me.  If I wake up with something on my mind, I type it up in the notes section of my iPhone so I don’t forget.  When I was running the state conference in 2013-2014, I found sleep was dire, and my body and brain didn’t function as well if I didn’t sleep.  Being a shepherd of my sleep means no caffeine after 3 pm.  I have a sleep routine that helps (on my night stand):  eye mask, sound machine, Tums (incase my spicy dinner takes vengeance), hand lotion, lip balm, and Vicks (allergy season)… do what helps YOU.  With 8 hours of sleep, the alarm clock is not such an adversary.
If you aren’t into reading or listening to articles, check out the new Billy Nye Saves the World.  He talks about sleep in season 2 and eating right in season 1, which leads me to the next point:
2)    Eat a good breakfast.  Eat lunch.  Drink water.  In my twenties I did not eat well, and it wrecked my gut.  My meals were either too light (no veggies or protein) or heavy and too sporadic.  Eating a breakfast with lots of protein means I’m not “hangry” by third hour.  Lunch is usually lighter for me.  When I eat, I try to remember to drink water.  Having a glass of water and a square of dark chocolate after school can give me another wave of alertness.  By the way, I recommend sitting with co-workers for lunch.  You need to make friends at work.  These folks help you with social situations, help with understanding school culture, and comfort you on long days.  Be a team player!  It is easy to feel like an island alone as a “specials / elective” teacher.
3)    Be curious.  Keep a log or note (phone) of things that spark your interests.  If you go places take pictures.  If a name comes up in conversation (artists), write it down.  Seeking out new people and researching new topics will only enrich your practice.  Then, when I sit at FB or other social media, I’ll try to connect with those people.  Usually people will recommend you to like-minded community members who will inspire and make your life better.  Some of these people (recommended by others) have become some of my favorite people!
4)    Don’t overdo it your first years.  Ha!  I am laughing at this advice because sometime I don’t always heed it.  If you are new to teaching, don’t expect to do it all.  I didn’t take on conference co-chair my first year of teaching or my third, but I did help on the committee.  The only reason why I was ready to tackle a conference at fifteen years was because I didn’t have kids (yet) and my marriage was happy and my work was stable.  DO got to meetings and get to know people.
5)    Volunteer in increments.  This is what I did:
a.    Years 1-5:  Think locally – Establish your community.  Get to know friends and mentors in your school.  Purge friends from your past who do not support you or your need for stability.  Network.  Go to shows, be in shows, and put your students in shows.  Become a region liaison for MAEA.  Meet the experts in your city.  Let them get to know you.  Make art.  Maybe start an art club.  Go to your state conference in the fall to feed your spirit. 
b.    Years 5-10:  Expand your reach – Get to know cities around you that are hubs of creativity.  Find out when super art shows are going on and plan a visit.  If you are looking to connect with a wider pool, volunteer when the state art teacher conference is in your region by being on a conference committee.  You can take on one small task, do that task to the best of your ability, and you will be a big help!!  Start providing workshops at a state conference.  Once I gave my first workshop, I saw the conference differently.  It is SOOO rewarding.  Conversely, if you are there and someone needs help, ask if you can be of assistance!  Helping people break down and set up events introduced me to a great new group of people.  Hopefully at school you’ve been experimenting with adding new media, new inspiration, writing grants, and taking field trips with your students.
c.     Years 10-15:  Thing big!  By now, you know your field well.  You probably are no longer freaking out about content.  The nuts and bolts of teaching should be the fun part of your world.  You may want to try AP or IB trainings or even instructing for dual-enroll programs.  Participation in shows is a must for high school teachers.  Go to a national or regional conference if you (or your district) can afford it.
6)    Be Brave and Make Friends:  Despite what it may seem, I am not very bold at talking to others.  I need to psych myself up.  My art professor, Charles Steele (MSU) gave us good advice before our first art teacher conference.  He said to talk to people between sessions.  This was so true!  I know people who landed their first teaching position by talking to people between sessions.  My second conference, I met many of the MAEA board by helping people break down and set up their sessions.  Giving a hand helped people to remember me.  These folks became life-long friends.  Then, the next time I went to a meeting, they smiled and said, “hi.”  Even those of us who have been around a few years are exhausted and could use friendly conversation.  Nothing makes me prouder than to meet talented young people who are doing great things in art education and inspiring their students.  I remember my favorite professional development experiences not only because of the content, but also because of the stellar people who surrounded me.  When I am having a tough teacher day, I like to log-in Facebook and see that there are many wonderful teachers in the same boat, fighting the same fight.  We are all in this together!
7)    Be an Artist:  I said it once, and I’ll say it again.  Make some work.  We all have seasons of production or non-production.  You need to come back to it.  Yes, decorate your home.  Yes, go to see other artists.   If you aren’t bringing a piece of art to completion once in a while, and showing that work, you really aren’t an artist.  Start with something small and post it on social media. This is an important process.  Try to remember to carry your sketchbook around for when inspiration strikes.  The more you produce, the more you / your colleagues / your students / your community will see you as an artist and understand the connection (and significance) of art production to the “real world”.  This is who you are.  Staying connected to the creative process will make you more empathetic to your students’ struggles.  When they hit a wall, you will be better at coming up with solutions for those “happy accidents.”  For motivation and support, I recommend reading:   Art & Fear: Observations on the Perils (and Rewards) of Artmaking by David Bayles, Ted Orland.  The struggle is real!

Good Luck!  If you need support, join me on Facebook on the Michigan Art Education Association group or in the “Art Teachers” group. 
Artfully Yours,
Kerry Shadbolt


Sunday, November 12, 2017

Planning a Great Photo Walk

One of my favorite things to do as a photographer is to take a photo walk. I love to zoom in and capture unexpected views of the places I visit. And an especially favorite aspect of photo walks for me is to capture textures. I would do this on Art Club trips whether we were visiting a museum such as the Detroit Institute of Art or wandering around ArtPrize in Grand Rapids. It's a wonderful way to view one's world from a new and fresh perspective. I love how it helps me to develop my observations skills but noticing the little things that we often overlook as we walk through the world.

Here are some tips and great resources if you are interested in planning a photo walk for yourself or with your students.

Apple organizes photo walks where you can sign up to join a group that is led with a certain focus for the planned photo walk. For example currently in the Grand Rapids area there are upcoming photo walks focusing on Street Photography and Manipulating Light and Shadow this month. In the Ann Arbor area they have planned photo walks that focus on Capturing Action and Video, Street Photography, Telling A Story in Your Photos, Portraits and People, Developing Your Style, and Manipulating Light and Shadow. There are several other areas around the state where Apple stores are organizing additional photo walks.

PetaPixel's website features their Seven Commandments for Great Photo Walks. These include things such as introducing a constraint to boost creativity, always walk somewhere new, and you should trust your instincts when it says a photo must be taken.

One way that I've done this with my photo students at the beginning of my Digital Photography class was to go over the basics of photographic composition and then get outside around the school and start trying to shoot with those principles in mind. With my beginning studio class I would have my students do an Elements and Principles walk. We'd go over the E's and P's and then go out and seek them in the world around us whether it be in the school or outside on the school grounds.

Here's a great resource to help you plan photo walks in your city. It includes information about preparing for a photo walk as well as wonderful tips for how to make the most of your photo walk.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

MAEA 2017 Conference Highlights - Tuesday, November 7, 2017

What a fantastic weekend in Detroit for those of us able to participate in the 2017 MAEA Conference! The co-chairs Lani Warner, Adrienne DeMilner, and Tanya Lockwood did a wonderful job planning our conference and making sure everyone had many great experiences to choose from during their time in the Motor City. Thank you so much!

Some of my most memorable moments from this past weekend include visiting the Detroit Institute of Art and getting to draw in the galleries. It's been awhile since I was last able to walk those halls and it brought back some wonderful memories of doing so with various student groups. It was also very exciting that there was a Monet/Church exhibit while we were in town.

It was wonderful to connect with the College for Creative Studies and be able to take workshops with their instructors. I thoroughly enjoyed Francis Vallejo's Experimental Illustration with Mixed Media. He shared so many exciting illustrators and their artistic processes. And it was wonderful to get to watch him work through one of those.

Other exciting workshops were trying out various pop up book techniques with Tamara Draper, creating Microscope Slide Pendants with Jill walker, learning about Visual Journals with Jennifer Kay-Rivera, getting to try Pyrography with Dawn Jacobson, bleaching t-shirts with Laura Todd, creating Domino Pendants with Kendra Lincourt, and hearing Endia Beal talk about her photography series and film projects to date.

Part of a Dia de lost Muertos at the DIA

Laura Todd teaching us how to bleach t-shirts

Creating Domino Pendants

Drawing in the Galleries at the DIA

Tamara Draper teaching us how to create pop up books


Congratulations to this year's winners Tricia Erickson, Tamara Draper, Donna Emerson, Eugene Clark, Pi Benio, Sandy Britton, and Steve Harryman! It was wonderful to celebrate your accomplishments at the Awards Banquet Saturday night.

We look forward to seeing you in Kalamazoo next year!

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Art History Resources

Whether you are incorporating Art History into your lesson plans or teaching an Art History class I'm sure you'll find some of these resources helpful as you continually look to enhance and enrich your curriculum and instruction.
This website is a great resource for those wanting to incorporate a wide range of art historical moments into their instruction. It features really interesting articles about art history and art history instruction. There are a lesson plans for every historical moment through the history of art as well as thematic lessons. A page features many of the major art history museums and tips for planning a museum visit with your students.

Art History Bingo
This lesson featured on the Art of Education is a fun way to either pre-test or cover an overview of art history artists and artworks with a class. You can craft the Bingo squares to feature anything your classes are studying or you want to assess their knowledge about.

Khan Academy
Khan Academy has a ton of wonderful resources that include art history course content that you can sign up for and incorporate into your instruction.

TAB: Teaching For Artistic Behaviors - Art History
This TAB website features twenty-seven fantastic ideas to incorporate Art History into your curriculum whether it be through lessons or centers.

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Preparing for the MAEA 2017 Conference

We're two weeks away from the MAEA 2017 Conference in Detroit, MI. I hope everyone is as excited as I am. Here are some tips to consider as you prepare for a wonderful weekend of creating, connecting with old friends, making new friends, and getting rejuvenated and inspired.

1. Bring your phone/camera 

There are always so many interesting workshops and things to see. We hope that you'll share your photographs with all of us on the MAEA Facebook page.

2. Sketchbook or Notebook

Don't forget something to write down ideas, notes, and inspirations from the workshops you attend.

3. Comfortable (yet, cute) shoes and a sweater

While in the midst of inspiring workshops and as you explore the artistic sights of Detroit you'll want to be comfortable.

4. Hydrate

Bring your water bottle so you can keep your energy up while enjoying workshops, key speakers, and tours.

5. Plan Your Days Out Ahead of Time

Map out your time at the conference to ensure you get the most out of your days and nights.

6. Get Their Early

Make sure you give yourself some extra time at the start of the conference to orient yourself to the space so you can easily get yourself settled and to your first workshop without rushing.

See you in Detroit!

Sunday, October 15, 2017

I'd like to introduce to Art Education Intern Emily Barber!

Emily is a graduate from Michigan State University. Her favorite art mediums are printmaking and oil painting. Emily is currently doing her student teaching internship at Willow Ridge Elementary grades 1st - 6th. Next semester she'll be teaching at Grand Ledge High School in grades 9th - 12th.

Her most memorable moment so far in her internship experience was having a fifth grade class beg to be able to continue discussing abstract painting. She loves talking to students about what they created, and why they made specific choices.

When asked about which art education topics she's most passionate about she responding, "I'm passionate about choice based education, as well as STEAM education."

Emily's favorite quote:

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Art Happenings Around Michigan

There is always so much going on around Michigan, especially during our beautiful fall months. Here are just a few that you might like to check out depending on your location and your travel plans.

Plein Air Pastels at Wenonah Park in Bay City
October 18th from 6 - 8 p.m.

Climb aboard a tall ship for a beautiful cruise down the Saginaw River while you explore using pastels and working plein air. All supplies are provided.

M-60 Corn Maze in Union City
Various date available

This fall marks the 54th year of the M-60 Corn Maze. This year's corn maze is in the shape of a steam engine traveling through a forest. There is also a pumpkin patch.

"Floating World" by Karen LaMonte in University Center
Marshall M. Fredericks Sculpture Museum
October 6th - December 16th

LaMonte works with rusted iron, cast bronze, ceramic, and cast glass as she explores the idea of beauty through the cultural lens of Japan and the Kimono. This is exhibit is a body of work she created as a result of the work she created after a Japan-U.S. Friendship Commission seven-month fellowship. During her time abroad she lived in Kyoto and studied every aspects of kimono making. LaMonte learned about weaving, yuzen dying, and how to properly wear a kimono. The resulting body of work took seven years to complete.

Fall on the Island on Drummond Island
October 13th - October 15th

This is one of the largest fall festivals in the Eastern Upper Peninsula. Enjoy the beautiful fall colors, delicious local food, and a line-up of talented musicians.

Please feel free to share your own fall happenings around our beautiful state in the comments section.