Professional Development for Art Teachers: What does that look like?

Part of our staff meeting yesterday was sharing what has been meaningful in attending PD days.  This past year has been incredible for art teachers and here is why:

PD#1 Smithsonian American Art Museum

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From this PD day, this identity accordion book idea found its way into our 5th grade curriculum assignment: About an Artist. The experience of researching an artist and creating a book has been an excellent mini (yet grand) lesson. They exercised the similar information we will ask them to gather of themselves for their end of year “Self-Portrait” box.

PD#2 Corcoran Gallery of Art

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On this day we met Mary Hall from our local Atlas theatre.  She shared her technique of teaching performance art using “One Day, but…., and so…”  Using a very simple rolled up sheet of paper that was “a pencil”, Mrs. Hall demonstrated how the situation can take many twists and turns depending on just “who is using the pencil and where they might be”!  This experience lifted the purpose and meaning behind the foil figures, comic strips and as you see here clay figures by Fourth grade.  These two are great examples too of how shapes and styles make their way in different mediums.  This artwork was also featured in the class books designed to raise funds for our school!

PD#3 Corcoran Gallery of Art

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Artist Ai Weiwei  is a Chinese contemporary artist active in photography, installations, architecture, social, political and cultural criticism.  His hand made sunflower seeds are amazing and his art work includes so many different mediums!    As we revise our visual arts standards, philosophy and vision, I appreciated the viewing of Ai Weiwei along with 2 others in the PBS Art 21series because the the word that carried through was COURAGE.  As I open my mind and grow from my traditional ways of teaching art, the word courage will carry me through in bringing in contemporary art.  We will still learn the fundamentals of art making in all art mediums, but I will encourage students, “How can you take this skill beyond for yourself?” We have creative students, ready to communicate through the arts and this PD day inspired me to “listen”.

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