Pecha Kucha for Boston!

After July 4th in the cute little town of Bristol RI, I’ll be heading up to Boston for the Teaching Artistic Behavior Institute.  While looking at the info of what to bring, they listed preparing a Pecha Kucha…had no clue, but do now (Japanese chit-chat presentation style of 20 slides for 20 seconds) and here is a link to mine for Mann!  Paige Pecha Kucha




Studio Habits of Mind

Learning about Studio Habits of Mind and finding these behaviors in our students has been exhilarating! Exhilarating because TAB is working. Our students are making choices that challenge their own capabilities, express their inner voice and tweek their observations. Here is what I’m talking about during the first 2 months in our new space approaching spring 2015!

Developing Craft

Gabriella in 2nd moves from exploring and storing materials from the Fiber Arts center she wants to use  to stitching an apron.


Max in 5th self assesses his work in his object study of old phone in classroom at the Observation Reseach Counter.


Engage and Persist

Chloe in 4th has been admiring a ballerina in the window.  She patiently continued through all-school projects of mandalas and auction stools, by returning each week to this figure in progress at the Sculpture center.


William in 5th expressed he wanted to learn more about painting in his Wow work plan form. After viewing Alma Thomas, an abstract expressionist, William grasps the composition effortlessly with color fields and mark. 


Fourth graders reflect in our art gallery meeting room during a printmaking critique. Two rounds include first, an artist statement and then classmate considerations. 

Stretch and Explore

Lucas in 3rd has moved from very planned compositions in pencil and watercolor for weeks. He freely accepts his marks and where they will take him in his self-portrait. Still with a steady hand, his ruler is taking a break nearby drawer.


Collaboratively Ava and Xavier envision this specialty store and hold an official ribbon cutting at the end of class!  Below, Ravi in 4th envisions one of the most ready to go RV’s ever seen, rigged with equipment and engineered to fly or float. 

Understanding Community

Second graders learn about the textile trade of Mozambique and The Netherlands in this unique opportunity.  A parent fabric donation after a recent trip is received at the same time a request of Teresa Clark our office manager expresses her love of children’s art and commissions their work for the office.  

Our studio often looks like this. They spread out, explore the materials of the center, support each other and here with Normandie, student teacher, articulate their experiences before the visit again.


Living as an artist…that’s it!

This past June I was fortunate to live as an artist in Spain for the very first time.  My husband, who teaches art as well was fortunate too and was accepted.  So off we went to El Bruc Spain for a month at the Can Serrat residency.  First, we must thank our schools for supporting this early leave and for supplementing part of the cost.  We learned so much in this experience for ourselves and to share with our students.  We shared this experience with 9 other artists and writers around this globe.  This creative community inspired our work, motivated our self expression and challenged us to create a body of work in the culminating exhibition.  The weekly events were documented in our blog.

Inspired Living from these people:

Kindness beyond imagine and consistent as the sea~Karine
Helpful and humble as when we praise your delicious creations, viva frittata!~Harry
Mindful, melodic and merry each day as you arrive with the sun~Mertxe
Always smiling, listening and sharing your life~Abdul
Appreciation for surroundings, space and beautiful mark making~Ariel

Acknowledging voices that need to be heard from all walks of life~Andrew
Awareness of imagery and moments of interest right in front of us~Amanda
Vibrant and veracious words to share stories of mind and heart~Vikram
Halting my pace to notice small creatures with humor and point~Helen
Giving relationships life, gusto, humor and understanding~Gemma
Greeting this experience with open mind and creativity~Geoff
Repeating and restructuring imagery that blends our past and present~Roya
Sharing the voice of our youth that offer more than we sometimes take time to hear~Susan

Super chic Helen writes delightful poetry for children about our little creatures~bee’s, silverfish, lizards. She wrote a poem after seeing my painting of the parrot stone from Monserrat.

Response to place

The small town of El Bruc at the base of Monserrat Mountains influenced much of my work, but we discovered Sitges a sweet/amazing…omg town…just a 20 min train ride from Barcelona.  This place inspired the book Seven Days of a Snail by the Sea in Sitges.  I donated this book to a local school called “Little Chair” named after one of the stones of Monserrat.


Sponging up our surroundings

This opportunity provided everything we needed.  We had a place to sleep, a table to eat and a room to work.  It really was that simple.  Our surroundings were so full of blue skies, dry heat, chirping birds, gentle breezes and quiet.  I’m not kidding!  There was no television, unpredictable internet and no noise from street.  We sponged up our surroundings through our work by going out to see the small town, the mountains and olive trees, the architecture of Gaudi in Barcelona and salty sea of Sitges.  We walked to town over broken tiles and along warm yellow facades.  Our open tour bus in Barcelona showed us the ornate and organic styles throughout the city.  The train to Sitges and funicular up Monserrat exposed the tunnels and tracks built along and around the protected landscape.  Every night at 7pm we gathered at this table to share our day and on Fridays we shared our work by the campfire or studios.  For our students we will share how everything we need is right in front of us to take us to new places.


Southern cooking night!


Geoff’s Art


Swimming at Sitges!

Storytelling with Narrative Art

Storytelling with Narrative Art will be the topic of tomorrows Professional Development Day and my presentation.  This PDF shares how narrative art is used in my classroom studio.  The ideas evolved from using local resources:  The Phillips Collection’s Jacob Lawrence series, The National Galleries professional development workshops and the Corcoran Gallery of Art collection and graduate courses.  Storytelling with Narrative Art is an excellent way for students to better understand their place, apply self-expression and show understanding of this world.

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10 Thesis Lessons

These are the 10 contemporary artists from the Corcoran Gallery of Art collection that I chose to practice in my elementary classroom studio below.  The awareness of these artists and the new art experiences were influenced by Olivia Gude’s Principles of Possibility and the use of thinking strategy:  See, Think, Wonder.  Each art experience was practiced with my K-5 students in the spring of 2013.

Contemporary art awareness was cultivated by two questions:  Where do the ideas for these artworks come from?  What materials would best represent the idea? Be the end of the school year,  my students responded to contemporary art with understanding, excitement and creativity.  In myself, a transformation in my methods and ability to facilitate conversation and not feel the need to fill up with my knowledge as I did in the past was starting to emerge and feel fantastic.  This experience of literally dropping everything to just try something new with every grade level through these artists has allowed me to never look back to my old ways and guide my students through their innate abilities.  Click on an artist below to see the PDF art exploration.  I’ll continue to use these contemporary art explorations as a foundation and always to spark something new.

Raymond Saunders        Kerry James Marshall

William Christenberry        Diebenkorn-PB

 Sam Gilliam PB         Martin Puryear and Ellsworth Kelly

Chris Martin         Joan Mitchell               Jessica Stockholder                  Warhol-Mao

Kindergarten “Things that are Circular”

Today we looked at the wooden art piece by Martin Puryear “Blue Blood”. Students were excited to see a simple shape so huge! They examined everyday objects gathered from our campus, described its purpose and shared how they would put it to use. Each student selected an object to trace once, twice or more to create a design with the circle. I was interested to see the recognizable planet Earth, circles in rows, overlapping amd random patterns! More contemporary art on the way to view and inspire our minds to create new!







Art in Action with Students


Yesterday was a professional development day.  We have been going to the National Gallery and I loved the experience.  At first I will admit, not a work of art I would observe for a large length of time in front of this work if alone, but this experience created a stream of thinking!

Our group simply looked at memorial for a few minutes and shared observations: all gold, facing the same direction, marching together, one man on horse.  Then we looked for signs of leadership:  drummer setting pace, pose of man on horse, readiness of horse, unity of group.  Our last interaction was to spread out and on the count of 3, take the position of someone in the work and freeze.  The docent then went around and tapped each of us on the shoulder to share one line of what we thought the figure was thinking.  The answers were thoughtful, touching, humorous, hopeful and empathetic and could inspire a larger act/performance.  The warm-up to a greater art response was excellent!  I especially loved this experience because after seeing how this teacher inspired taught history, connected empathy through performance art with his 5th grade

The exercise reminded me of steps towards performance art and what other paintings that could be used to inspire performance: Renoir’s Luncheon of the Boating Party.  Alix Pearlstein’s performance art study of the observer and observed inspired me to think of other behaviors or characteristics to explore with students.  Like Renoir’s Luncheon of the Boating Party. This painting strikes me as a good one to explore Communication.  Which character would we be?  How would the location be similar or different?  Where is your favorite spot to spend time with friends?  What has changed in our time since then?  How could my body language intentionally or unintentionally form a viewers opinion?