It’s been a long time…

It is long past time get back into the habit of posting more regularly. I ended the last school year with a bang, but this year, things like fewer planning periods, more classes, and a new program of studies have sent me reeling, and I’ve been feeling like there is never any time to stop and think. Lots of scrambling and running on autopilot during the past four weeks. I am not a fan of starting out the beginning of the school year feeling like I am already behind, but I’m doing my best and trying to get the hang of the shortened time between classes.

While the beginning of the year has been hectic so far, it has also been exciting. I received a $1000 grant (Thank you Target !) and my PTA is matching with another $1000 to be spent on our 5th and 6th grade sculpture garden project. I will be working with a group of students after school to create life-sized sculptures of students interacting with the school environment. We are also organizing our first weekend field trip for the 5th and 6th graders to meet me at the National Gallery and Hirshhorn Gallery sculpture gardens to view and discuss outdoor sculptures.

I have also received approval from the PTA to start our Wish Tree project, our wish tags have been purchased and the PTA will be purchasing a small Japanese maple tree to plant and get that area of the sculpture garden underway.  I am thrilled that these things are all taking place, the ball is rolling and the students and PTA are excited to see how our garden develops.

More importantly, I received TWO emails this week asking me about my hopes and dreams, and I found this a little unnerving. It isn’t often that someone takes the time out of their day to ask you what it is you really want, in your career, or in your personal life, and then takes the time to listen and try to help makes those dreams come true.

My PTA president was the second to inquire about my hopes and dreams, in this case referring to the art room and art curriculum, and since I have already been discussing my fantastic PTA in this post, let me continue with their request first.  I received the email at 10:15pm and couldn’t sleep after I read it, because no one ever asked me before. As an educator, you are trained to expect to ask when you need something, or make due without, make the most of what you have. Somehow, miraculously, I am in the opposite situation- my PTA and administration want to know- what do I want? What do I want to do, what would I like to have in my room, what sort of materials, support, and money do I need to make my art education dreams come to life. I had to really think about it, and collect my thoughts, and then write a lengthy email about what I think our elementary students need in order to be better prepared for life and future educational opportunities in general- which is what I really care about when I really dig down deep. I explained that I think we need to invest in better technology integration by putting digital media tools into the students’ hands. Many of our teachers have SmartBoards in their rooms and rely on technology as a presentation tools, but I have seen few teachers allowing students to use digital tools to make art. I have plans brewing to bring digital photography, video and digital art-making into my art room, and I am excited to see how my students respond to these new art-making tools. Mostly, I feel blessed to be in a school with a supportive PTA and administration, where it is possible to bring about these changes and watch my students blossom in a more up-to-date art-making environment.

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