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My Art

I studied art at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago where I earned my BFA in 2007. My primary studio concentration was in painting and drawing. My medium of choice was oils and my style tended toward a modernist aesthetic. My paintings from that period have been displayed in galleries and private collections across the United States.

Over the course of my career, I started to shift my perspective. Teaching elementary art has informed my own art-making practice in a number of ways. In developing a curriculum to address the needs of diverse learners, I was forced to expand my knowledge base giving me inspiration from different styles and movements. Teaching children and having my own children has helped me to re-connect with art seeing things through the lens of a child. I started to approach work more in the way that I did when I first started making art- unabashedly taking elements from whatever I saw that I thought looked cool. I could prattle on about "the democratizing effect of synthesizing disparate influences in a direct manner eschewing the esoteric nature of modernist abstraction," but I prefer to simply say I do what I like and hope others like it too. I try to make work that my kids can enjoy and I have started making limited edition prints (pigment based inks on archival, acid free paper usually in runs of 50) all priced at a point that is affordable for the average person. My current practice mixes digital and traditional media. Typically I will sketch on paper then transfer the drawing to an iPad using photographs I take (often of my paintings) of various colors, textures, and patterns. I  digitally collage and hand draw over the top then print on museum grade paper. Every print is hand signed and numbered.

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My First Post!

Welcome to my elementary art blog. I will be posting various lesson plans and resources used for teaching k-5 Art. Check back regularly as I intend to update this weekly with videos and other resources that help in my classroom and they can help in yours too.

One thing that has been transformative in my teaching is video demonstrations of key skills. I started making videos after coming to the realization that when I did a live demonstration of clay or origami, half the class could not actually see what I was doing. By recording video, I could project it larger so kids could see better, but I also found that it freed me up to focus on my students and my instruction better. I no longer had to worry about the creation of a sample project, I could simply focus on the explanation while also looking at my students to find signs of confusion, anticipate problems etc. If you have not flipped your art room, I highly recommend it.

In addition to the relative ease of direct instruction, creatin…

School's Out- Time to Second Guess Plans for Next Year

This time of year is always a little bitter sweet. It is of course nice to go on to a long summer break, but as I pack up my classroom, I cannot help but start planning for next year. The most immediate concern is the supplies. I have been teaching for 11 years now, and every year I seem to struggle more with my supply order. For one, I always worry that I will forget some basic supply and start the year without paper or something like that, but also, it seems like every year I feel like I blow through my budget faster and faster. The irony of this is of course that every year, I have more money to work with. I am incredibly fortunate to have a generous budget from my school, a generous allowance from my parents organization and a healthy supplement to my budget thanks to Square 1 Art. If you don't use Square 1 Art, I highly recommend it. I had always stayed away from fundraisers because I am in a very privileged position and it felt greedy to ask for more, but Square 1 has been g…

Big Change for 2019

For quite a while, I have read about TAB and choice based art ed. There is a lot that appeals to me with the theory but I have never seen a structure that I felt would work for me in my classroom. In the weeks leading up to winter break, I started thinking more and more about gamifying the classroom. I decided to take the plunge and so now my 1st-5th grade students will have a range of choices but with clear structures and support to make it manageable.
I decided to utilize Google slides as a means of managing the game. It is free and a slide deck can provide secure, personalized communication between me and the students. I started by setting up a template. My slide deck has the rules of the game, a slide to track badges they earn and then numerous slides of challenges students can complete in order to earn a badge. The beauty is that since slides can have links, my challenge slides can have the learning targets then a picture of a sample project that would hit the targets. I make th…