This is your life; are you who you wanna be?

This summer has blasted by. I can’t believe it’s already the end of July. Wanna see my classroom? ๐Ÿ˜‰

 

My first time seeing my room.

My first time seeing my room.

So… Big things are in the works. I’ve dissected my room and have cleaned it (mostly from top to bottom).ย  The teacher before me was apparently a legend. For a while I feared I may have big shoes to fill, but then I decided today that I don’t want to fill anyone’s shoes. I would like to make my own footprints, please and thank you.

About a week's worth of work, and three other sets of helping hands. Still not finished, but so close.

About a week’s worth of work, and three other sets of helping hands. Still not finished, but so close.

Open House is Wednesday night. How is my career already here?

And of course, my classroom wouldn't be complete without a bit of Bowers.

And of course, my classroom wouldn’t be complete without a bit of Bowers.

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Day 13 (and fourteen) – Every day blogging is kind of hard.

I love my life, y’all. I really do. When I feel like things are insane and don’t make sense, something happens to make it better. A few posts back, I mentioned that I lost my social media job. This past week, I found two new jobs to help with bills. Granted, they aren’t going to take care of everything I have, and it’s still going to be a tough run the next few months, but I am so excited to be working with Sue and Libby.

Mary's awesome new mixed media work. She's gessoed the surface and is attaching dyed book pages and bleeding tissue paper to the canvas. It reminds me of stained glass.

Mary’s awesome new mixed media work. She’s gessoed the surface and is attaching dyed book pages and bleeding tissue paper to the canvas. It reminds me of stained glass.

I only have a few short weeks left at GWA, and I am dreading leaving. Not necessarily because I am moving to elementary school (although, I am terrified of that) but because I have to leave these kids. Today, Gloria, my supervisor, came to visit and observe my first period class. They were so well behaved and I feel needed and wanted with them, which is something I feel that maybe some of my fellow student teachers do not feel as much of. Working next to Rebecca Bowers has been so good for me. She is the grounding factor — the person who has truly brought this experience to life. I can’t imagine what student teaching at any other school would be like, nor do I want to. I found out today that the yearbook is doing a page on my visit. Who does that? Amazing. They make me feel so special.

Olive, doin' work as always. First period started their mixed media pieces. Olive has big plans for this work.

Olive, doin’ work as always. First period started their mixed media pieces. Olive has big plans for this work.

So first period started their mixed media assignments. So far, everyone seems pretty pumped about the projects they have planned. I am eating it up because I ADORE mixed media — this facet of art making is where my heart resides the majority of the time.

Katherine decided to be brave and try a new medium today -- encaustic. Bowers and I are so excited and want to put melted wax on everything now!

Katherine decided to be brave and try a new medium today — encaustic. Bowers and I are so excited and want to put melted wax on everything now!

The Homage project is going so well. I feel like our fourth period is really getting the hang of the different processes. Bowers and I discussed the project some last week… I was nervous because students seemed a bit frustrated and lost. She told me though, that she was never able to teach more than one process at a time because she could only be in one place at a time. The students have been given three options for this: throwing, coil building and pinch pots. It’s truly amazing what some of them are making:

Taylor working on her coiled vessel.

Taylor working on her coiled vessel.

Ashley smoothing out several rows of her coils.

Ashley smoothing out several rows of her coils.

Dustin has already completed both cups (pinch pots... aren't they stunning?) and has now moved on to his storage vessel! So proud.

Dustin has already completed both cups (pinch pots… aren’t they stunning?) and has now moved on to his storage vessel! So proud.

I’m continuing to work on a mixed media piece of my own — I believe it will be the piece I use in my exit show this spring. It has grown and shifted and is a piece that discusses ups, downs, and constant searching. I’ve decided to be brave and do a self-portrait. Bowers and I discussed (PS – I LOVE how many times I can include those four words in a single blog post… she’s so amazing) the feelings my piece provokes, and I agreed with her when she said a self-portrait is a very vulnerable work. It will pair well with the layering and handwritten text I have going now. I will photograph it tomorrow and post, so you can see the update (if you care to).

This time has passed too quickly. Every day reveals something more beautiful than the last. AP stole my heart today (they do every day, of course, but today was the best one yet). I watched three students try a brand new medium/process they have never done before, I laughed until I cried, watched Aud and Kelly pour too much tempera, made stamps next to Stephen, admired Pellegrino’s portrait, added another layer of gesso and talked a lot about wax… (AB).

I thought a lot today during planning when I was working on my piece. I wrote on it “if teaching is easy, you’re doing it wrong.” I think tomorrow I will add “if teaching is everything you could ever want and more, you’re doing it right.”

I dunno. I am the learned and the learner. The art educator and the artist. It’s becoming harder every day to separate these roles, and I think that is perfect.

Song of the Blog:
THE LIGHTHOUSE SONG // NICKEL CREEK

Day 8 – My first lesson went without catastrophe.

To be more than what you have to be, or to feel more, or to allow yourself to be open and to embrace being scared and afraid, or to embrace being happy and to relish in your failures and your successes. And to find a way to translate that into your everyday life, and into your classroom, and making those ideals relatable to your students.

Today was magic. My Homage lesson plan was a hit.

Today was magic. My Homage lesson plan was a hit.

Today was a whirlwind of emotions, but by some miracle, it did not include nerves. I was a bit jittery during planning, but once I picked up Professor Wilson and escorted her back to classroom, I felt relaxed and excited. I reminded myself to focus on the smallest parts of today and to cherish it. And after I decided this, I noticed the details: asking about Cedar’s weekend, checking in with Parker about his leg and MRI, learning that Camille loves Paramore… It became so easy to just melt into them, and Professor Wilson sat with the students. She’s so wonderful and easy to be around, it was almost as if she was one of us.

Hailey, Parker, Wes, Nick and Ivy looking over their new project (HEHE!) while we get the hot tea going.

Hailey, Parker, Wes, Nick and Ivy looking over their new project (HEHE!) while we get the hot tea going.

Here are the requirements for our assignment:

  • 2 cups (may be thrown or hand built)
  • 2 coasters
  • Box/vessel
  • This vessel must hold both cups (which can be stacked, side by side, or nested)
  • This vessel must have a lid that has a found object for a handle

I will also be looking for a connection between your cups, vessel, and individual. In your handout, I will provide prompts to help you explore various qualities and traits about your individual. These prompts are meant to help you make aesthetic decisions and to develop a theme throughout all parts of your โ€œteaโ€ set.

Faitlin, working with paint dripping. So gorgeous and eerie.

Faitlin, working with paint dripping. So gorgeous and eerie.

Should you be interested in our next assignment, try our brainstorming activity we did at the beginning of class today:

On a sheet of paper or in your visual journal, think of 5-7 people who have influenced or changed you. Write them down.

After thinking about our requirements and introduction, select 1 person from your list and answer at least five of the following questions:

  1. Who are you paying homage to?
  2. How does this person make you feel?
  3. If you could pick 2 colors to describe them, which would you choose?
  4. If this person was an animal, what would they be?
  5. List 3 qualities this person possesses that you either see in yourself or wish you had?
  6. How has this person changed the way you see the world?
  7. How did you meet, find, or come across this person?
Lindsey finished her Loki piece! This photograph doesn't do it justice -- I was just trying to prevent a 'prisma sheen'

Lindsey finished her Loki piece! This photograph doesn’t do it justice — I was just trying to prevent a ‘prisma sheen’

This morning, Kristy came in and said something that really made me happy, “Last night, I was telling my dad about how much I like having you in class.” Le grin. I also was thrilled to help Caroline come up with an AMAZING project. I will be posting progress pictures of it, because I think it’s going to be amazing. It’s mixed media, and revolves around this idea of “unfinished” because Caroline really dislikes having to continue to work on things after she’s “over it” to make it look finished. So we’re playing off that idea and including a LOT of color. It’s gonna be awesome!

Bowers doing a value/shading demo to our 8th graders today.

Bowers doing a value/shading demo to our 8th graders today.

Awesome watercolor. Skills and skeletons are pretty popular in the classroom right now.

Awesome watercolor. Skulls and skeletons are pretty popular in the classroom right now.

Panorama of this amazing classroom.

Panorama of this amazing classroom.

Overall, I’m feeling fantastic. Today was exciting and new and fun, but I think it was interesting and I am hoping the students are looking forward to it! I’m going to take a few photos of sketches and brainstorming tomorrow — Cullen had mentioned paying homage to the Mad Hatter — that could be so gorgeous.

Song of the blog:
TAKE IT FROM ME // THE WEEPIES

I survived. I flourished. I am tired. Today was an amazing day.

Day 7 – Our Friday

Hi, friends. Today was a very big day for me.ย  My first period class has burrowed into a special place and I’m beginning to feel very welcomed and accepted with them. Yesterday, I was doing my walk-around and noticed Ashley’s visual journal out on her table and asked if I could look at it tomorrow (today). She sent it home with me and I made a page (remember my post yesterday?) for her to glue in if she wanted to. Ashley is a girl after my heart — she loves music (and by love it I truly mean she loves it. Unconditionally). Nearly every page was covered in music lyrics — things that seem hard and true and real and a struggle. It included things that some people may never share with anyone. Knowing Ashley trusted me to see that much of her was a true honor.

My first period has connected with me on so many levels. Yesterday Ashley allowed me to take her visual journal home with her... it was beautiful and packed with song lyrics. I made a spread for Ashley with Incubus lyrics: "There's something about the look in yours. something I notice when the light is just right. It reminded me twice that I was alive, and it reminded me that you're so worth the fight."

My first period has connected with me on so many levels. Yesterday Ashley allowed me to take her visual journal home with her… it was beautiful and packed with song lyrics. I made a spread for Ashley with Incubus lyrics: “There’s something about the look in yours. something I notice when the light is just right. It reminded me twice that I was alive, and it reminded me that you’re so worth the fight.”

Today after she read the page, she walked up to be and gave me a huge hug. “Thank you so much, it’s beautiful.” She walked away and then came the tears. How do you teachers do it? I’m going to cry every day. I’m already at four in a row. I can’t handle it. It’s amazing. She also started a new project today. She’s going to use india inks! So excited:

Ashley's new project!

Ashley’s new project!

Mary's incredible chandelier.

Mary’s incredible chandelier.

Second period, Bowers gave me the courage to help teach. We introduced contour line drawings today. Bowers spoke on contour and gave a mini lesson on line quality and drawing through shapes and line, then transitioned into a contour drawing of their bookbags.

My eighth graders working on contour drawings of their bookbags.

My eighth graders working on contour drawings of their bookbags.

photo 4

Bowers working alongside our eighth graders today. One of the things I love most about her is that she makes art with her artists.

Bowers working alongside our eighth graders today. One of the things I love most about her is that she makes art with her artists.

So after we worked on contour drawings, I read an excerpt from a book called “The Things We Carry” by Tim O’Brien, an account of his experiences as a Vietnam soldier.

The things they carried were largely determined by necessity. Among the necessities or near necessities were P-38 can openers, pocket knives, heat tabs, wrist watches, dog tags, mosquito repellant, chewing gum, candy, cigarettes, salt tablets, packets of Kool-Aid, lighters, matches, sewing kits, Military Payment Certificates, C rations, and two or three canteens of water. Together, these items weighed between fifteen and twenty pounds, depending upon a man’s habits or the rate of metabolism. The things they carried were determined to some extent by superstition. For the most part they carried themselves with poise, a kind of dignity. They carried all the emotional baggage of men who might die. Grief, terror, love, longing – these were intangibles, but the intangibles had their own mass and specific gravity, they had tangible weight. They carried shameful memories. They carried the common secret of cowardice barely retrained, the instinct to run or freeze or hide, and in many respects this was the heaviest burden of all, for it could never be put down.

After I read the excerpt, I explained to our students the difference between tangible and intangible — things we can physically touch and the things we carry inside us. I listed out some quick examples of what intangible burdens may be. We then asked our students to talk about ten things they carry – in the form of a list, a poem or a narrative. As they were working, I passed on student’s paper and saw on their list “regret, envy, need.” Tears filled my eyes as I realized that big things happen before high school. Students of all ages feel so much and they trust us with that information. How beautiful. After they walked out and I wiped those silly,ย  insistent tears from my face, all I could think was “how can this possibly get any better?”

Bowers took a dried paint palette today and turned it into this... she amazes me.

Bowers took a dried paint palette today and turned it into this… she amazes me.

During planning today I decided to write out my ten things I carry in my bag:

visual journal – for the words I can’t find
pencils – to create and erase
fear – of disappointing
pressure – to be perfect, kind, calm, collected, intelligent, funny, professional, wise, responsible, charming, spontaneous, put-together…
worry – that I may not be successful or accepted
mio – to flavor my water… and bring sweetness to the ordinary
harry potter book – to remind me to be brave, even in the midst of dementors
pride – in my accomplishments, in my love for life, in the investments of my heart, and the works and minds of my students
courage – in hopes that one day, when I need it, it will be there
self-worth – if I don’t have it, no one else is carrying it in their bag for me.

Shelby and Animalions in 5th period. :)

Shelby and Animalions in 5th period. ๐Ÿ™‚

This weekend Bowers is running a half marathon in Charleston, so she gave me the day off tomorrow to work on writing my curriculum unit that I start teaching Tuesday (EEEEEEEP!).

Even the substitute folder is beautiful.

Even the substitute folder is beautiful.

Madison's gorgeous prisma.

Madison’s gorgeous prisma.

photo 5 (2)

Bowers and Fellows experimenting with more paint dripping!

Bowers and Fellows experimenting with more paint dripping!

So I promised my likes and dislikes. Here goes nothing.

  • I don’t like gossip. It makes me sad.
  • I like movies, cars, and jokes. Share those all day long.
  • I don’t like things that look or resemble blood or needles. Don’t joke about that. It will never be funny. Especially when I throw up everywhere.
  • I love Star Trek and Harry Potter.
  • Dogs, chai tea, film photography, Tuscan Red, and small lights make me so happy.
  • I don’t like brussel sprouts. Or asparagus. Ew.
  • I don’t like people talking when I’m giving instructions or saying something important. Rude.
  • I don’t mind cell phones – if you don’t touch them, leave them in my class, text on them, send Snapchats, troll Instagram or Tweet the stupid things I say. There’s a time and place for all of that, and it isn’t in my class.
  • I like weird words, making up words, and using the wrong words. The struggle is real, y’all hang in there.
  • I like Tommy. He’s the coolest person I know. Ask me anything about him. I love to talk about him. (You’ll see)
  • Grading is hard. I don’t like doing it, so don’t give me a reason to give you anything other than an A.
  • I don’t do nails on chalkboards, or anything that resembles that sound. Please, don’t.
  • I’m not into people who talk over others, or who love to hear themselves talk. Give everyone a turn.
  • I’m so into awkward. I love awkward like it’s my job.
  • If I could be any fictional character, ever, it would be Hermione Granger. If you don’t know who that is, take a lap.
  • I love to read, knit, collect dogs and eat sweet potatoes

And I’m sure it will be added to… That was surprisingly funny. It’s almost like an “about me” on MySpace. I haven’t written one of those in ages.

Today’s inspiration pieces:

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Song of the blog:
ECHO // INCUBUS