Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Dali and Titian at the High

My daughter and I went to the High Museum of Art in Atlanta to see the Salvador Dali exhibit and the two Titians that are visiting the US. The Titians, two massive paintings, were incredible, but what I expected. It was still great to see them, though.

What was not expected was what I learned at the Dali exhibit. Dali is one of those artists that captures the attention of the young. I had known about him since I was little, but as I learned more about art history, he didn't stand out. He was an accomplished Surrealist, but nothing more. I expected to see some of his work, get to understand where he was coming from a little bit better, but that was all.

I was surprised to find that many of the conflicts I think about in my every day life are the same as the conflicts addressed by Dali in his works. I'm not going to get into the personal stuff, but suffice it to say that one of my big private questions about life, the universe, and everything was also a big issue for Dali.

I loved seeing his personality. He couldn't stand Mondrian. One paper shows a chart he made rating famous artists on things such as draftsmanship, creativity, color, originality, etc. - about 10 or so attributes. Vermeer got all or mostly all 10s in each category. Other famous artists scored similarly high. Except Mondrian. He had a row of zeros, with the last number, a 3, erased and a '1' penciled in. He further mocks Mondrian for an entire video short.

One of the things I enjoyed seeing was how much Dali was influenced by scientific discoveries. He was interested in and kept up with what was happening in science, and incorporated it into his work.

If you get a chance to see either of these exhibits, either at the High, or (the Titians) elsewhere in the US, I would highly recommend going.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

AAEA Conference

I went to the Alabama Art Education Association Conference this weekend, and had a great time. Went to several hands-on and a couple of lecture workshops, and got to go to the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts and see Annie Leibovitz' Women exhibit and an exhibit of Maxfield Parrish's prints. There was also an Italian exhibit of marble sculpture by Giovanni Balderi. After viewing it, I wonder if he has issues with women. Overall, I loved the traveling exhibits and the workshops. The permanent collection had some works by Henri, Cassatt, Rothko, and O'Keeffe, but they were not stellar works (especially the Rothko and O'Keeffe). The museum is worth a visit if you are in the area.

The workshops were great - I learned a new printing method, tried some clay techniques that I had read about but not tried, and got to socialize with other art teachers. The food was wonderful. The conference was definitely worth the price. I just hope next year it is at a hotel that doesn't charge $20 for a breakfast buffet!

Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts
Alabama Art Education Association

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The Creativity Crisis

A must-read for anyone teaching art. While our funding is being cut and there is more focus on high-stakes testing, we are producing students who are less equipped to compete in the 21st century job market. How many of you have heard the phrase that the most of the jobs our students will be doing haven't been invented yet? I wonder who will be inventing them?

The more creative a student is, the more likely they are to be "entrepreneurs, inventors, college presidents, authors, doctors, diplomats, and software developers." Another quote: "The correlation to lifetime creative accomplishment was more than three times stronger for childhood creativity than childhood IQ."

IBM agrees. When asked what the most important competency for leadership in the future will be, an IBM poll of 1,500 CEOs ranked creativity at #1.

How are we preparing our children for the future?

Full story: The Creativity Crisis.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Discovery Education Conference

I went to a great conference this weekend - a Discovery Educators conference. I found a lot of useful (and not-so-useful-but-fun) tools:

Wordle and Tagxedo - create interesting tag clouds. Tagxedo lets you control the shape. Here is an example:

I also like LinoIt, a sticky note / productivity tool. You can have different workspaces for school, home, work, and others. This might be a good system for the "Get r done" bunch.

I will post more links as I run across more from my notes!

Friday, October 8, 2010


I am taking four online professional development classes. It's not that I need the hours - I always have plenty - but I am hoping to use more Web 2.0 tools in my classroom. Here are the four courses I am taking:

1. WebQuests, Treasure Hunts, and HotLists for Beginners
2. Designing a Virtual Field Trip (I can't find one I like, so I'm going to make my own)
3. Wikis and Blogs and Podcasts and Skype (I've never used Skype, and hopefully I will find more info I can use on the other three)
4. Becoming an Online Course Facilitator

I chose that last one because I have begun using Moodle to deliver information and tests to my students. Imagine an art teacher forced to shrink great works of art into tiny pictures and photocopy them in black and white to show students on their tests. That was me, only last year. Now, with Moodle, I can show my students large, full-color images of artworks for their tests. It is wonderful! I can even let them guess at an answer a second time for partial credit if they miss it the first time. I have uploaded projects and rubrics to Moodle, as well. And it grades the tests for you! Very nice and handy. I love it! And, best of all, it is free. Your school system just uploads it to their server and you can use it!

I think I will like the online classes. I just have to make time to do them!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Wild Work

I don't know if I've mentioned, but the high school at which I teach is an International Baccalaureate school. It's a good system, but requires way more than is 'normal' for preparation, interdisciplinary stuff, and all steps in the teaching process.

Grades 9 and 10 are the last two years of the "Middle Years Programme," or MYP. All students participate through grade 10. Then, students may choose the challenging DP "Diploma Programme" for 11th and 12th grade.

Basically, anyone who teaches 9th and 10th has a lot of extra hoops through which to jump (boy, that sentence doesn't sound right!). All my classes are 9th and/or 10th so I have been busy!

This is a great program and all the work will be very much worth the effort, but still! Busy, busy busy!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Back to School

We had a great inservice. A juggler spoke to us about 'staying unbalanced.' It was a lot of fun - you know, one of those beginning of year pep talks. But this one was amazing to watch. Picture a guy on a six foot unicycle juggling a machete, meat cleaver, and hatchet. Lots of fun.

I am going to try the WBT again this year. I fell off doing it last year. It is hard to build as a habit, but it really works while you use it. But once I slack off I find it hard to start back.

We are on the block schedule this year for the first time since I've been teaching. Looks like there will be some challenges. We have four 95 minute blocks each day. Day one we have 4 classes, day 2 we have 4 different classes, and it alternates. Both days I have 1st block planning, 2nd & 4th block Art Appreciation, and 3rd block Art II.

So far, so good. I have lots of names and faces to learn!!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

End of Summer

I can't believe my last post was in January - where has the year gone?

The end of the summer greeted me with good news and bad news - the Theory of Knowledge class that I was going to be teaching is not going to be taught by me. Bad news, because I was looking forward to it, but good news in that not teaching it will free up a lot of my time to do some other things I want to do this year, like prepare an AP Art History class and start a local National Art Honor Society Chapter.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

WBT and Other Things

I am a few weeks into the Whole Brain Teaching, and it's going pretty well. I am not using the scoreboard / Mighty Groan / Mighty Oh Yeah like I need to. The class is pretty responsive in the Ok, Teach area, though. I have a few that only teach their neighbor when I walk by, but most of them are having fun with it.

I am getting ready to teach AP Art History, hopefully this fall. It is an incredible amount of work. Just getting the syllabus ready was very time consuming.

I also have set up a new website for my students. I am trying to collect good links on the art of various world cultures. If you know of any, please drop me a comment! The page is here.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Whole Brain Teaching, Day 2

After being off for basically four days (snow, in Alabama!) the kids were very slow with the Class!/Yes! - but they jumped on board after I gave myself a point on the scoreboard. I still need to do better with the Mighty Oh Yeah! / Mighty Groan! bit.

I can see I will need to separate the independents sometime soon. Many were reluctant to participate - I had a few in my 4th period that would not play along at all. My fifth period started out worse, but by the end of class most were at least half-heartedly teaching their neighbor.

Today's lesson was on reasons artists create (personal, social, spiritual, physical, and educational). The students learned signs for each. Tomorrow is 'where do artists get ideas?' There will be seven elements to remember instead of just five, plus some extra definitions. I am not sure how to handle that. Probably just do signs for the seven items and let them write the definitions for the terms (landscape, portrait, etc.).

I am still trying to decide how to pair the students in a seating chart. Once I rank them by GPA, should I pair the lowest to the highest and meet in the middle? So A's sit with F's, and so forth? Or should I divide them into the 'high' and 'low' groups and pair the top from the first group to the top of the second group? So A's sit with high C's, B's with D's, and low C's with F's? I am waiting on some info on accommodations for some students, so I probably have a few days before I am ready to implement a seating plan.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Whole Brain Teaching, Day 1

Well, it went better than I anticipated. Many of the kids were hesitant to participate, but some were obviously having fun. Some of them were suggesting scoreboard rewards before class was over. And I had several students say, "Bye, Mrs. Bachuss!" as they left - a first, especially before I even get to know them. Today we discussed the syllabus, procedures, lockdown/tornado/fire drills, and how we learn (auditory/visual/kinesthetic). Tomorrow is the first art content, so I am curious how well it will work. My goal for tomorrow is to keep the energy levels high, encourage participation, and work on the Mighty Oh Yeah! / Mighty Groan when scoreboard points are awarded.

Oh, my PBS focus group is about to start, so I have to go. I will post how everything goes the rest of the week if we don't get closed for snow!

Wish Me Luck!

I start teaching new Art Appreciation classes today. I will be using the Whole Brain Teaching method for high school for the first time today. I am also going to step up my use at the elementary level. Wish me luck!