Teachers Connect
Jul 9, 2018

Monday’s Reflection

Reflect on today’s experience.  Describe two connections between what you already know and what you learned today.

59 Responses to Monday’s Reflection

  1. Rosemary Fessinger says:

    It always takes me awhile to find my sea-legs…to get to know ABC participants. What strikes me is the wealth of knowledge that participants bring to the Institute. There are people who represent a variety of disciplines (e.g., art, English language arts, TESOL, Special Education) and this rich collective knowledge is sure to fuel some lively discussions. I can’t wait to start reading!

    • Liz says:

      I really enjoyed hearing the stories behind the pieces about the women artists. One thing I knew is that I am not well versed in women artists at all. I need to learn more so my students learn about women artists when they’re 9, not wait until they’re 49! (I was happy that I recognized something familiar about Faith Ringgold and now I realize she’s the illustrator of Tar Beach.)
      Another connection I made was Mickalene Thomas’ work was familiar to me too and I wondered whether she was the same artist who created the Portrait of Mnonja at the Smithsonian American Art Museum. She is! So, maybe there is some hope for me when it comes to women artists!

      • Elizabeth Jacobi says:

        I feel like a moron. I couldn’t see this before and now I can see that I posted the same thing 3 times. Argh.

      • Rosemary Fessinger says:

        Faith Ringgold is a favorite author/illustrator. Like you, I read her stories. not fully realizing her contributions as a woman artist. Now I know better! And, the best way to become knowledgeable about women artists is to come to NMWA. Our awesome art educators are happy to help!

      • Kay Hones says:

        I was so glad to see Faith Ringgold art work in the museum. I have always loved her quilts as well as her amazing books.

    • Natasha Thompson says:

      Whew! That was a lot of information to take in all in one day.
      I’ve learned a little about abstract art, but I like the way Denise presented (i.e. geometric, orhanoc, or freeform shapes, lines, color), this is something I think my students could follow.
      I’ve also tried relief printmaking,but didn’t realize you could use such a simple tool as styrofoam.

      • Kay Hones says:

        I liked the clear easy way to use this abstract vocabulary with students too!

      • Camila Salvatierra-Sinn says:

        Students LOVE printmaking at any age. I have taught styrofoam printing from ES to MS and you can really see the students light up when they learn the process. It surprises them how easy it is, but also turns into a magical self expression.

    • Sonya Braddock says:

      Rosemary,
      I look forward to this week’s writing experiences and the lively discussions.

    • Elizabeth Jacobi says:

      I can’t see anyone else’s reply to respond. I’m sure I’m doing something wrong.

      • Rosemary Fessinger says:

        Hi Liz, you’re doing fine. I’m just sitting down now to ‘approve’ posts. You should be able to see participants’ posts soon!

  2. Natasha Thompson says:

    Whew! That was a lot to take in.
    For me, I’ve previously learned about relief printmaking in my own high school art class, but I didn’t realize you could use such a simple tool as styrofoam. In addition, I’ve learned the processes out art and processes of writing but never thought of them as similar or interconnected.

    • Rosemary Fessinger says:

      Denise is wonderful at making sure that her lessons are filled with easy to obtain materials. And, print making is a great way to recycle styrofoam which might otherwise end up in the trash!

    • Harlan Kinzer says:

      I was also surprised by the simplicity of so many of the materials we used, such as chopsticks, rubberbands, and styrofoam

  3. Natasha Thompson says:

    Whew! That was a lot to take in.
    I’ve learned relief peintmaking, but didn’t realize you could use such as simple tool as styrofoam. I’ve also learned the processes of art and the processes of qriting, but didn’t think of them as similar or interconnected.

  4. Liz says:

    I really enjoyed hearing the stories behind the pieces about the women artists. One thing I knew is that I am not well versed in women artists at all. I need to learn more so my students learn about women artists when they’re 9, not wait until they’re 49! (I was happy that I recognized something familiar about Faith Ringgold and now I realize she’s the illustrator of Tar Beach.)
    Another connection I made was Mickalene Thomas’ work was familiar to me too and I wondered whether she was the same artist who created the Portrait of Mnonja at the Smithsonian American Art Museum. She is! So, maybe there is some hope for me when it comes to women artists!

    • Louise Snyder says:

      Hi Liz-I relate strongly to wanting a broader knowledge of women artists. I had mini panic attack when listening to the “5 Women Artists” podcast and only being able to bring 3 to mind! After just a few days in the museum, my knowledge is growing, and I am excited to share with students when the semester begins!

  5. Sophie Schwadron says:

    I had such a nice day- being in the role of the student instead of the teacher feels like a luxury. Two connections for me were:
    1. I am always pushing to get high quality art materials for my kids, specifically when it comes to paint, brushes and paper. Just like we were talking about using real, precise vocabulary with kids from a young age, kids should have access to the “real” materials. The lesson on the different types of paper was really helpful for strengthening my case and justifying why we need more than just construction paper to honor kids’ creativity.
    2. The fierce woman tour upstairs blew my mind. I’ve lived in DC my whole life, was raised by a woman artist, and somehow have completed missed this museum. I can see so many ways a connection to NMWA could have fit in to my students’ interests this past year and I already look forward to taking advantage with my next group of kids. The collection on its own is awesome, and additionally can support conversations about what boys/girls are allowed to do, which are constantly coming up in kindergarten. Now I have a place to look so that if I’m going to teach about an artist, I can challenge myself to choose a woman artist (and to even teach explicitly about why I am choosing a woman, because they have historically been left out). And I bet my kiddos would love seeing the Faith Ringgold quilt.

    • Rosemary Fessinger says:

      I agree that students need access to high-quality art supplies. If you wouldn’t use it, then it’s not good enough for your students! Right? I appreciate your goal of integrating more women artists into your curriculum. I know the museum support staff would be happy to help with suggestions.

    • Deborah Rice says:

      I am ashamed to say that I also had never heard of NMWA before Caryn told me about the institute. I am so happy that I have come here and experienced even a small portion of what the museum offers and totally plan to provide my students with access to more women artists in the future.

  6. Kay Hones says:

    I have often had students do bookmarking & writing in the library. Today’s clear art/books/creativity focus was so helpful with short & succinct info.
    The brief introduction tour of fierce women in art was an exciting basis for the rest of the day’s activities.
    I posted photos & brief title on Facebook & am excited to share resources with staff & district librarians😜📚👍🏽

    • Rosemary Fessinger says:

      It’s wonderful that you have the academic freedom to offer learning activities that support the unique needs of your students! I bet the content area teachers love taking their students to the library–because you’re working to improve skills but in a different context. Well done!

  7. Peju Okungbowa says:

    I was inspired by the different portraits I saw at the gallery and the books in the library. I have always seen pop up books as something that will require unusual expertise in art, but in the library today I was able to demystify the skill by taking a close look at the books on display. I also have a deeper understanding of the writing traits and the similarities between writing and art.

    • Rosemary Fessinger says:

      Doesn’t Denise make book-making easy? Her instructions are clear and are a great model that you can use with your own students. Did you notice how she always held the book in front of her, demonstrated the fold, and then put the book on the table to complete the fold? She wants to make sure that everyone can see what to do! It makes paper folding so much easier!

      • Peju Okungbowa says:

        Yes Rosemary, Denise made the art of book making very simple. I will certainly follow her model when working with my students.

  8. Laura Kolhoff says:

    Today was packed with information and activities!

    The Fierce Women tour made me think about what has been normalized in museum tours. At most museums, rooms filled with work by male artists is the norm. Seeing room after room of incredible, varied art by exclusively female artists really made me wonder why I haven’t been as bothered as I should have been by other museums’ collections. I loved the connections our guide made between female artists of different periods and how they each had to fight against the expectations of their times to succeed. I am now wondering if NMWA includes the work of trans and non-binary artists. I am excited to learn more about the museum this week!

    Another thought this day brought up was about teaching writing and art. I am a kindergarten teacher and yet my curriculum does not require me to teach art except as illustrations for things that the students write. I focus on the need for detail, the importance of the picture and words matching, and how labeling can be helpful. I don’t focus on art for art’s sake. The discussion today about the ways in which art and writing can be taught similarly intrigues me. I want to learn how I can teach art much more intentionally and learn evidence as to why it is important to do so.

    • Rosemary Fessinger says:

      Young writers are capable of transacting and responding to art. You may have to provide scaffolds (sentence strips, stems, etc.) but over time and with practice, your students will be able to express their thoughts in writing.

  9. Caryn Michael says:

    Today was inspiring and informative. I enjoyed meeting everyone and getting to see things from their perspective. 1st connection: new ways of making art books and ways they can be bind them. 2nd connection: gallery walk- learning the content of the day and the different ways my peers interpreted it.

    • Rosemary Fessinger says:

      Aren’t gallery walks cool? It’s a great way to students (us, too) to see what everyone else is doing. That’s how I get my best ideas.

  10. Dara Case says:

    I enjoyed the tour of the museum and the depth of focus on the artwork. A couple of pieces took me outside of my comfort zone as I am a traditionalist. It’s also interesting to hear the same types of things (how the elements communicate stories) that I impress on my students in the context of music. (Yes, I am a music teacher) I also have seen comparisons drawn between the elements of writing and the elements of art. I am looking forward to having more shared vocabulary so I can help advance the mission of writing well.

    • Rosemary Fessinger says:

      We all have comfort zones. When confronted with uncomfortable material, it’s important to have a knowledgable person to talk to. This is bound to happen with your students and they’re going to turn to you for support. Thanks for raising this issue.

  11. Camila Salvatierra-Sinn says:

    First, I have always known my co-workers to be creative, which is why I encouraged them to enroll in this workshop as a group, but I was completely proud of how genuinely creative and productive they were without any hesitation! Second, I found it very exciting to make the Flag book. So easy, but so much fun to see the different ways of attaching pages/writing on different sides to create a visually elegant repetitive space when all the pages are standing.
    I had so much fun today and I can not wait to learn to make more books and walk around the entire museum at my own pace.

    • Rosemary Fessinger says:

      We appreciate the affirmations…plus, it’s great to come to a professional development workshop with friends! It’s good to have colleagues to talk to!

      • Camila Salvatierra-Sinn says:

        And to take back art lessons back to our school! Hopefully our instrumental teacher and possibly our RELA lead teacher will be teaching others to print!

    • Louise Snyder says:

      Camila – I found the flag book a tremendously accessible and applicable style, too. I am thinking about ways to use it in science and social studies in particularly: life cycle representations, parts of plants, body systems, timelines, biographies. Looking forward to working one of these ideas into the lesson concept on Friday.

  12. Elizabeth Jacobi says:

    I really enjoyed hearing the stories behind the pieces about the women artists. One thing I knew is that I am not well versed in women artists at all. I need to learn more so my students learn about women artists when they’re 9, not wait until they’re 49! (I was happy that I recognized something familiar about Faith Ringgold and now I realize she’s the illustrator of Tar Beach.)
    Another connection I made was Mickalene Thomas’ work was familiar to me too and I wondered whether she was the same artist who created the Portrait of Mnonja at the Smithsonian American Art Museum. She is! So, maybe there is some hope for me when it comes to women artists!

  13. Sonya Braddock says:

    It is an honor to have the opportunity to collaborate and learn with such a diverse and knowledgeable group of fellow educators:) I know that art serves as a vehicle for teaching content.
    However, today I learned that there are many forms of art that can inspire students to write, share cultural experiences and make connections with past and present societies. I also know that women have made many contributions to all aspects of art. Today I learned about female artists who boldly and strategically shared their expressions of creativity.

  14. Deborah Rice says:

    What a fantastic first day! I have to admit that everything about the women artists we learned about today was new today. I knew Sarah Bernhardt was an actress, but never had I heard about her work as a visual artist. What an amazing woman she was. On the bookmaking side of the day, I had made accordion books before, but not with the technique we learned today. I actually felt like an artist today. Now to ponder how I can use this with my students and how Caryn and I can use what we learn here to co-teach again!

    • Rosemary Fessinger says:

      I think it’s best to start small…what’s one thing that you learned to day that you can share with your students? Accordion books? 6-Traits? Spiraling curriculum is always a great idea…and it reduces stress, too!

  15. Megan Leong says:

    I really enjoy stamp making in my free time and today I learned a simple and economical way for students to make stamps as well! While I inherently knew that creativity is important to all people, I was really struck when reading that artists and writers use observation to formulate and create ideas. It helped me consider the process of creativity and art that needs to be taught and modeled for students.

    • Liz says:

      I really liked your point about modeling the process of creativity and how observations help artists formulate ideas. Modeling is so important for students and the type that you mention is essential. I didn’t think about the parallels between writing and art, but observation is at the heart of it.

  16. Rachel says:

    Two connections between what I already know and what I learned today

    Today was an amazing and inspiring start to our one week institute. I learned many things today, one being something more concrete and specifically related to my previous instructional experience and the other being related to myself as a learner, and resultantly, a teacher. I found the process of creating the flag book to be very informative, particularly the aspect that involved learning about the different types of paper that are commonly used in visual arts activities and also which are good to use with certain media. In my classroom, I’ve learned the hard way that regular copier paper isn’t the best for water colors, I was grateful to learn about water color paper a few years ago. Today, I found it very helpful to have learned about other paper weights of as well, and also which materials do and do not work well with them. Another connection I made today was understanding how much perfectionism impacts my willingness to freely explore and experiment with art materials. I more naturally prefer writing because I find it overall to be more gracious. If I need to make changes to something I’ve written, I can edit or revise my writing or even rewrite or reprint it with ease. Visual arts, in my opinion, are less forgiving and more permanent, which can be terrifying for a perfectionist who isn’t experienced with the techniques we used today. At times today, I found myself feeling nervous and fearful that I would make mistakes and ruin a piece without the opportunity to redo it. One of my table mates shared how these art activities may come more easily to our students. I agreed particularly because it seems as though some students may complete an art activity more freely, without feeling the need to perfect it or fearing the possibility of ruining it. I’ve known that I can be a perfectionist about the things I create (which is part of the reason why art is something I’ve often avoided), but saw this so clearly today. When we were told that we could come in tomorrow morning to try re-printing in different colors using our plates, I helped me to see that there are aspects of the visual arts that easily allow room for modification. I hope to continue to experience how art, like writing, isn’t immutable, but can be easily altered and refined.

    • Rosemary Fessinger says:

      Some students have a lower affective filter. To that end, they often approach projects without fear; they don’t worry about perfection! Adults can get caught up in the perfectionist trap…if it can’t be executed perfectly, then we’re not apt to try at all! But, over time and with practice, our skills increase and we’re able to do things that previously, were outside of our comfort zone. So, it’s important to offer a variety of activities to your students and provide them with opportunities to re-work and re-do. Knowing that they multiple chances will lower their level of fear! Nice job.

  17. Jen Clontz says:

    Before today, I “knew” I was not an artist. I learned today that I CAN create art! Day 1 was so much less stressful than I imagined in my “non-artist” mind. The lessons are engaging and the instructors are incredibly knowledgeable and helpful. I especially enjoyed creating the flag books and relief print. I’m a little nervous about the narrative writing coming up later this week, but I’m sure it will be just as fun and easy to follow along as today’s projects. It’s neat to see such a wide variety of specialties in our cohort. I’m looking forward to hearing how each of us can incorporate what we’ve learned into our own content areas.

  18. Rosemary Fessinger says:

    I appreciate your comments. I’ve made many flag books and I always find a way to make each one a little different! Flag books are a wonderful entry-level activity. Later in the week, Denise is going to brainstorm things that you might do with flag books! And don’t worry about narrative writing. I have a feeling you’ll be fine.

  19. Payal Arora says:

    I have incorporated the accordion book strategy during writing activities with my students. Today, I learned how to make flag books. I can’t wait to teach my students this strategy and incorporate it in my writing lesson. Flag books is another creative way of scaffolding their writing.
    Another technique that I could connect with was using a picture card that ‘spoke to us’ and draw our own representation of that image. I have used pictures/artwork as a writing prompt to generate ideas for writing activities with my students. Now, I can provide my students with another strategy of introducing several pictures/images to choose from, and draw their own interpretation of the image they are inspired by, to generate answers to I see/notice, I think, I wonder and create a rubber band book.

  20. Rosemary Fessinger says:

    Pictures, illustrations, and artwork are always good writing prompts. Soon, you’ll be introduced to Visual Thinking Strategies; VTS provides a firm foundation for writing activities. I appreciate that you’re thinking of ways to integrate this book forms into your content area.

  21. Payal Arora says:

    Today’s experiences reflection: I have incorporated the accordion book strategy during writing activities with my students. Today, I learned how to make flag books. I can’t wait to teach my students this strategy and incorporate it in my writing lesson. Now I have another creative way of scaffolding my writing lesson.
    Another technique that I could connect with was using a picture card that spoke to us and draw our own representation of that image. I have used pictures/artwork as a writing prompt to generate ideas for writing activities with my students. Now, I can provide my students with another strategy of introducing several pictures/images to choose from, and draw their own interpretation of the image they are inspired by, to generate answers to I see/notice, I think, I wonder and create a rubber band book.

  22. Louise Snyder says:

    Before our work today, I did not know the word “codex.” I’ve been reading bound books all of my life–how cool to add a new word for naming them!
    The Fierce Women tour today provided so many great items to reflect upon. As I shared with Deborah, her talk about Judy Chicago pulled a long-dormant memory from the back of my mind–viewing the Dinner Party with my eccentric 9th grade history teacher and classmates when it was on exhibit in Frankfurt, Germany, in the late 1980s. I enjoyed seeing additional works by her and learning more about her life and career.
    I also have to say thank you for the reassurance provided by the well-scaffolded lesson on how to build a flag book today. In reading the syllabus and other in-advance homework, I was a bit nervous about being thrown into the deep end of the pool. My fears were allayed by the clear instruction and great support!

    • Rosemary Fessinger says:

      Make sure you share your ‘codex’ moment with your students! It’s a good teachable moment! And I agree, some of the book forms are challenging. Your students are going to feel nervous, too! You can share those feelings, too!

  23. Timothy Herzet says:

    I really enjoyed making the flag book. As an art teacher, I am used to working with all types of paper; however, I never really thought about how the type of paper can contribute to the artwork by how it interacts with the other media and materials used (especially with glue and water).
    I also really enjoyed learning more about the artists and the stories behind individual pieces. I am familiar with Judy Chicago’s work and have seen a number of her exhibits, but I never knew that she underwent such rigorous training in male-dominated fields like air-brushing in auto-shops. You can see this experience come through in her artwork.

    • Rosemary Fessinger says:

      Paper can make/break a project. I’ve seen students put hours into an illustration…on loose-leaf notebook paper! They may not have thought it through…but their teachers should have! Also,we’re going to talk about all of the different we could do with flag books! It’s a versatile book form.

  24. Harlan Kinzer says:

    Coming in to today I was nervous and excited all at once. I was excited to meet new people but was nervous how I would fare in terms of my artistic ability and art knowledge (or lack thereof). I already knew that learning experiences are more valuable when students are the individuals doing rather than the educator doing everything. Today was a reminder of that! I was able to learn about technique, mediums, and pedagogy through doing.
    I also knew that material covered is usually reflective of the dominant group. Today was a reminder that art and our knowledge of art is no different. It greatly reflects our society’s male dominant culture. However, it was so refreshing to learn about strong women artists from strong museum educators, while being surrounded by a vast majority of strong, educated women. I can now say that I know far more about women artists than my previous limited knowledge of Frida Kahlo.

    • Rosemary Fessinger says:

      I think everyone was nervous–but the best learning contexts are those that strive to lessen the cognitive load. I enjoyed sitting next to you and watching your work through those accordion folds. And I laughed at myself…I’ve made that flag book a hundred times; it took me a couple of tries to get those folds right! Make sure you share your experiences with your students; it will help to build their confidence.

  25. Keith Pieschek says:

    Today was a great introduction to not only the stories behind art in the galleries but how we can each be artists and in turn teach our students to think like artists. I knew very little about the artwork and the artists that we learned about today. I really appreciated how we learned about each artwork and artist in a way that connected them. Rather than seeing different, individual art on walls, we were given background information that connected characteristics through similarities or differences between them. While I have made an accordion style books before, it was exciting to add the “flag” pages to that type of binding and see the artistic design of how the pages form their own pattern. While making the flag book, I was already imagining the excitement students would feel making it.

    • Rosemary Fessinger says:

      We made a basic flag book…if you add more accordion folds, you’ll be able to add more flags. It’s an impressive book form that, once students break the code, is fairly simple to create. And the possibility for content are endless!

  26. Virginia Bute-Riley says:

    I was familiar with flag books and have made them with my fourth and fifth graders. I never thought about making them with the other teachers at my school. I loved the way we were lead through the process and learned technical things in a practical way and also had time to explore creative techniques. I could see myself doing something similar with the staff at my school to help them engage in art-making in a non-anxiety-causing way.
    I also enjoyed the time in the galleries. I realized that there are some works of art that I’m familiar with but I can never remember the artist’s name (like Lavinia Fontana) and that’s not very respectful on my part. I need to make more of an effort to honor the women by at least knowing their name.

    • Rosemary Fessinger says:

      Teachers need those aesthetic experiences, too! Making flag books is a good way to relax and socialize while meeting with colleagues. Challenge the teachers to brainstorm uses for the flag book in their content area; they’ll come up with ideas we’ve never thought of!

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