Exploring Art Educators’ Blogs

Teacher Blogs

After reading Weblogs: Learning in Public by Jill Walker, I am further intrigued to see how this blogging phenomenon may be useful to my developing teaching styles and methods and how it may play out in this class with my fellow classmates. My favorite quote from the reading, that I plan to keep in mind throughout this process is, ” [Blogging is…] taking control of your own learning, finding your voice, and expressing your opinions. It’s about responding to the world around you and listening to the responses you receive in return.”

In looking out for some teacher blogs that I find useful, I realized that I already had a couple on my Bookmarks list. I don’t “follow” these regularly or anything, but I have found them interesting when surfing “teacher stuff” in the past. I will use this opportunity to dig a little deeper.

First off: http://www.schoolartsroom.com/

This is a Blogger blog that is hosted by the School Arts magazine editor, who is an experienced teacher herself in all levels from elementary to graduate. I found this because I was being cheap and didn’t want to pay for the magazine subscription and was hoping this blog may be an interesting substitute. (that’s a plus for blogs- they are CHEAP resources. and by cheap i mean FREE).

This blog contains all kinds of blogs and resources for teachers and pre-service teachers. There are some blogs that are personal reflections of teachers- such as the most recent post from a teacher encouraging that students are prompted to find artistic connections to nature. Other posts contain advice, lesson ideas, professional development topics. In the editor’s profile she notes “I am here writing for my like-minded compatriots, aiming to share your world of art education by providing timely art news; entertaining or thought-provoking artists, ideas, stories, and issues; professional opportunities for you; and project and lesson ideas and exhibition possibilities for your students.” I think she does an adequate job here on the blog- especially with the links to other websites and other blogs that she advocates and/or follows.

Second: http://linesdotsanddoodles.blogspot.com/

This blog is from a local teacher in Bowie, MD. I like her site because she seems to keep it updated and her teaching position is unique since she is an “art-on-a-cart” teacher with 3 elementary schools that she teaches at. She posts lessons and pictures of student work which is always helpful. I found this when looking for photos of classroom setup. Since I have no space of my own yet, I like to research ideas. I feel like this blog is most helpful because of all the photos that she includes. Since art is so visual and we as art teachers are likely most easily stimulated by visuals, I think her blog could have wide appeal for art educators and may be why I enjoy the blog so much.

Third: http://ms-artteacher.blogspot.com/

Again, a blog by a female teacher that incorporates lots of photos. BUT I do enjoy looking at this blog more than the last simply because I find the design, layout and colors so much more pleasing. I guess that is definitely something to consider when creating a blog! not only should your writing be relevant, but neon green letters on a black background are not that appealing. also, the labels she provides along the side of her blog make navigating to specifics SO easy. She also encourages interaction and community by posting questions to fellow art teachers- such as “when do you have students dump their dirty paint water during a lesson?’ I love this example b/c it is SO geared towards art educators. No one else would find this questions remotely interesting, yet it’s completely relevant and even important to her audience, making this blog very much geared to a specific audience. She received 11 very involved comments to this post- proving that the question was very engaging to it’s audience.

SO, in conclusion, I believe that there are a few key factors in making a blog useful and helpful for teachers. First, I think that the writer needs to have some kind of credentials in their field, and I think they should make their goal clear in their profiles. I found that blogs that were just labeled “all things art” were just not engaging enough because they didn’t have a clear purpose. I preferred that the person spoke from clear experience and had clear intentions. Second, the layout/format of the blog has a big influence on the page’s “stickiness” or how long I, as a reader choose to spend on their site. A site can only be helpful if people look at it and spend time reading the posts and linking to a blog roll or commenting on posts. If the layout is not user-friendly, you are likely to have users leave your site and not take in any information. Lastly, I think that for teaching specifically- pictures are very helpful. Just because of the nature of art and teaching art, step by step lesson photos and finished student work photos are extremely interesting and helpful.

peace, love and art,

-L

References:

Jill Walker, Dept of Humanistic Informatics, University of Bergen, Norway. Published in On the Horizon, Vol 13, Issue 2, 2005. Pages 112-118.

 

***UPDATE*** Found a new blog to follow! http://artwithmre.blogspot.com/

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About Maybe It's Time

yogi-runner-artist-gardener who is a food-lover and cooking-enthusiast, while teaching art and being a woodworker's wife and parent of two pups, spending free time camping and studying urban homesteading.

5 responses to “Exploring Art Educators’ Blogs

  1. I also enjoyed Becca Ruth’s blog. I read through some of her posts and came across the one about the art test that she gave her first graders. When I read the title, I was afraid thinking how dare she give a test to first graders in art? As I read along, I saw she approached the testing procedure in a different manner. The test was simple draw a flower giving them three different approaches to draw the flower. She went around questioning them about their decisions and checked to see if they were using the correct procedures for each medium. I think the “test” was quite clever. The students were told that it was a test, but based on her documentation and her tone of writing, it seemed as if the “test” factor did not bother them at all. I think the test did not cause much anxiety, because it was opened ended and allowed creativity. I am curious to know how she would apply this test to other grades as well. Assessment in art is a common issue that we discuss in our education classes; how do we assess art? I think Ruth found a way to asses her students knowledge that works for her classroom. A rubric was not involved and she did not discuss grades, although I am curious to know what did she to do about the two students who “forgot a couple of things.” Did she penalize them or was the test strictly for her own personal use to see if she was communicating the information well?
    On another note, I think your key factor about having pictures is very important, because as teachers especially art teachers; documenting our experience is a part of the teaching portfolio. As art teachers it is important, because we are teaching visual concepts and as artists we are always told to document our process. Having a visual reference, also contributes to the “sticky-ness” of a blog, as you mentioned. Since our class is about digital media for art education, it would also be cool to have a digital camera in the classroom. Students can take turns documenting their own work and taking photographs of others. It could be an alternative job for a student who finishes quickly or has some behavioral issues. The tools and processes we use as art teachers will be important to share with our students as well.

    • Thank you aselinlands! I love your idea about keeping a digital camera in the classroom. I am fascinated by the perspective in children’s photos and in giving them the freedom to document the everyday. I think you have a great idea for early finishers and other students as well.

      i also am always curious about assessment and I think the key to the success of Becca Ruth’s “test” was that it wasn’t just a black or white answer she was looking for and she didn’t leave her students in the cold. She left the answers to be open-ended (encourages creative answers) and then she walked around and had discussions with students (challenging them to push further and scaffold).

  2. I was quite taken with Becca Ruth’s blog. Her blog titled “That Little Art Teacher” was concise, well structured, and gave great insight to her lesson plans.

    For me this blog was easy to read because her comments were brief yet comprehensive. It was easy to follow since she wrote about the projects and paired it with pictures of her students work. This helped me see their progress during the lesson Becca Ruth is teaching her students by guiding with the outline of the classes structure.

    This is a great way to structure the blog because it kept me viewing her site to see images and captions about her students next phase. I thought it was also neat to see the variation of projects and the different projects created with each grade. To the left of her blog site it is set up so one can easily click on each grade to get ideas for lesson plans and other unique I ideas to incorporate into one’s classroom. The border for her blog is also very inviting for art teachers and artists in general with image of paint flowing to spur one’s creativity. I can see why you chose this blog as one to follow.

    On the other hand, I would like to see more current blogs about what her students have been working on the past several weeks. Because I felt this blog was easy to view and I wanted to check out what her students were up to and was disappointed when there were no recent posts.

    As for her lessons in general as she discussed on her blog, I thought it was great how she gave step by step phrases describing the projects the students did along with images and vocabulary to support her lesson.

    I appreciate you sharing this blog link in your post and I hope to have a similar blog like this one day with sections for each grade level along with images to support the context that I am writing to display the lessons I will one day teach.

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