Saturday, November 19, 2011

Whirlwind of a month

I have officially finished five major projects this month. I of course promptly got sick the very week that everything ended, making myself barely able to enjoy the finale of the work and the fun events I had scheduled at the end of the time.
My students taught lessons in two different high schools this month; one in urban schools and the other took place in an extremely rural school. The focus on these lessons were to create comics about social justice issues that are relevant to teen lives. The students focused on a wide range of topics from cyber-bullying, teen pregnancy, gay marriage, drug and alcohol abuse, and child abuse. One class drew and inked their comics while the other class used Comic Life photo program.  It had it's glitches, but overall I'd say the lessons were successful.

To help my students get into the mind of middle school students this year, I have arranged that we trade artist trading cards (ATC's) with middle schoolers from Iowa Falls. This semester, I convinced Jeremy to let me come and teach ATC'S to his middle school students too. To kick off the project, the students wrote a journal prompt about their fears about going to high school next year. I came (with Sid in his stroller) and taught them to pick out visual images and create small baseball card artworks about these fears. We traded the middle school students' cards with my art ed students. It was so much fun to see what was on their minds. Some students were quite serious, while others had lots of fun showing us their fears. 

I ended the art club that I run on our campus lab school as well this week.  We had 54 children, 7 art ed students, and 35 elementary ed volunteers from another class on campus. Our clubs each evolved around a theme that carried through the 6 weeks.  We had pirates and monsters and the other usual groups, but we had some new more interesting ones as well. One student called her group Art from the Heart whrer she had each student make two of everything.  They made something for themselves and something to give to someone in need. They donated scarves and journals to the women and children at the homeless shelter and necklaces to a nursing home. The folks at the nursing home were so touched by this, they in turn made mugs to give to the children. That was an awesome surprise!

I also taught an art club for 8  weeks at the Iowa Juvenile Home (Girls State Training School) it was a great reminder for me to slow down and appreciate what I have. The girls were so appreciative of all the art supplies that we brought. We tried to create lessons that were easy for the girls to achieve success and also to allow them to have fun and express themselves. That proved to be much more challenging then I thought! At the end of each session, we check out by saying one word that describes how we are feeling and the last girl said "proud" and that's exactly how I felt.

Last project, I am afraid did not turn out like I planned but I definitely learned a great deal from it. My elementary ed students that take my art class have to teach art somewhere in the community. I arranged for 3 of them to create a mural with some 6th graders at our lab school about the Seven Traits of Highly Effective Teens (which is a school wide character program this year).  Let's just say that I dropped it off on Thursday and decided to leave it in the office rather than take it up to the classroom.
I guess 4 out of 5 ain't too bad.

I will now continue to rest and recover from the terrible cold I have acquired through all of this and look forward to wrapping up my semester in the next few weeks!
Happy Thanksgiving!