Friday, March 14, 2014

New Glass Work

Peeps!
Now that I have your attention… yes it's that time of year again. Easter's coming, and those peeps are so cute. You can't deny it. But the taste? Yeccccccch! Glass peeps have all the adorableness of a peep, without having to eat it!

For my Fashion-Forward Friends…
Glass Belt Buckles
 The coolest thing about these colorful beauties is that they're interchangeable. You can wear a different color, different style each day but use the same leather belt strap.
 Millefiore was a popular item in the fall, so I made plenty more in time for spring.


Monday, March 10, 2014

Podcasts - Academic Aesthetic

TheArtGuy's Academic Aesthetic podcast could hardly be more in my wheelhouse. This K-6 art teacher covers a wide variety of topics related to art, art education, and technology. The episodes are short - 7-15 minutes - practical, and interesting for a fellow elementary school art teacher.

The episodes I listened to seemed to mostly be based on his personal opinion and interests. His opinions are agreeable to me, and he seems well-informed in his subject area, so I enjoyed listening to it.

Unfortunately, I could not access the podcast through his iTunes link, only via his website. so navigating an episode to rewind, etc. was not easy. I could click on a subject from the episode and see the transcript for it, but could not figure out how to scroll through that text. He mentioned his tumbler account, but the links only opens a dialog box to make suggestions. I for one have become too lazy to do much more than click on a link when I'm ON the internet. If I really want to access or contact someone, I will copy and paste the information, but if the link is there, glowing at me, I might click it out of curiosity.

I hope if this ArtGuy is serious about his web presence he will add some key links that will help navigate and find relevant information. No new podcasts have been dropped since the fall, so maybe it was a passing phase, but he seems to be excited about what he does, and filled with many good ideas to share.

academicaesthetic.com

Podcasts - Energize Students

EnergizeStudents.org is an education website with resources and information for teachers, parents, and students. Their podcast was hosted by Dr. Jane Bluestein, who brought various professionals on as guests. They covered a wide range of topics, from parent involvement, to bullying, to homework, to autism.

The knowledgeable host is well prepared, and seems to have chosen her guests carefully. They offer anecdotes and practical advice within the half-hour time period. Unfortunately they have not put a new episode up in about 9 months. There is no mention of whether they have permanently discontinued the podcast, although their blog and website are both current.

Technology in the Art Classroom

Technology is just a tool, we all say. But the reality is that we have to keep up with the things that grab our students' attention. At this point it's rare to find an elementary school student who can't navigate a tablet, so I love ideas that utilize my classroom iPad.

I recently installed a QR reader on my iPad, using a free app by scan.me. My 5th graders are weaving, and for years I've handed my students a packet full of stitch instructions, and for years they have promptly ignored these papers. I generated and printed a QR code for the website that has these same stitches. Once I showed my students the app and how to use it they were hooked.

Looking ahead, I'd like to print QR codes to hang near artwork that's on display. A visitor in the school, assuming they have a QR reader on their device, could scan the code to learn more about the project, the artist, or the inspiration behind it. The possibilities are endless as to what we could connect.

I've also created a Pinterest board specifically for projects, activities, and other ideas that interested kids and motivated parents can do at home. There are so many things I'd love to do with my students that are too costly, time intensive, or advanced for many. But they'd be perfect for a motivated student to do with a supportive parent at home. It's been harder to spread the word to my school community about this though, as most parents don't follow my other Pinterest boards. But if I give them a QR code, they can find my board instantly.

Cool Art with the Kids - Mrs. Maurer's Pinterest Board
I think it would be a lot of fun to set up a scavenger hunt using this app. QR codes that go to plain text could give a clue about where to find the next QR code. We could even generate and print QR codes that would become part of students' artwork. When you scan the code you get an embedded message!

We are in the midst of a Flat Stanley-style project with our 2nd graders. They have mailed their "Flats" off to various people throughout the world, and are waiting for them to return from their adventures. Parents could easily help their students generate and print a QR code related to their Flat's destination. Or we might be able to use QR codes with they display their final project, to show where all our students travelled to.

It's exciting to realize the various possibilities with this simple app. With so many people carrying smart phones, it just got a lot easier to direct them to precisely what we want them to see.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Podcasts - A History of the World in 100 Objects

In a search for informative, engaging educational podcasts, I came across "A History of the World in 100 Objects" by The British Museum and the BBC. http://www.bbc.co.uk/ahistoryoftheworld/about/british-museum-objects/

Each episode focuses on an object at the British Museum, starting with an Egyptian sarcophagus from 254 BC, and working through time to a Chinese solar powered lamp, made in 2010 AD. It's a nice way to look at history through man-made artifacts and art, as opposed to the history of events and conquests. That type of historic overview is especially useful in the art curriculum. Although the content is too erudite for the elementary students, it's a good resource for the teacher.

The segments are short; less than 15 minutes each. And the website includes photographs of each object, as well as a transcript of the podcast for those who prefer to read. You can also read comments from other subscribers on the website, although the comments don't appear to be moderated.

The series is a few years old, and is not adding new episodes. But since 98% of the content is ancient history, that should not be a factor for most listeners