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Looking Back/ Looking Forward

“Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success.”

– Henry Ford

Today was the last middle school visual arts PD in SMCSD.

Building a community of learners takes time and dedication.

The visual arts program in SMCSD has built strong collaborators, reflective minds, and thoughtful educators.

Today the teachers were asked to reflect on 4 questions. Using watercolor paper and many different materials, teachers were asked to respond to the questions. The art work was then placed in an envelope that was addressed to the specific artist, and the envelope will be mailed at the beginning of the 2011-2012 school year.

Each teacher approached the reflection differently:

Some worked with paint.

Some responded with words.

Some stood to do their work.

Then everyone was asked to pull one word out from their reflection book that was then painted on paper.

These words will be added to the MLK studio word wall.

THANK YOU SMCSD teachers for all of your amazing work and support!

Engagement in the Studio……….

Carmen Rivera focusing on the surface of her piece.

There was a steady “hum” emanating from the MLK art studio this past Wednesday afternoon.

Students had all gone home, and all of the SMCSD Middle School teachers had gathered for their monthly Visual Arts Profressional Development session.

“Art is therapy for the mind.” Said one teacher.

“I immediately felt like an artist when I put this apron on and got to work.” Said another teacher.

Mr. KDub has been working on an identity project with his students, asking them to wonder “Who Am I?”  The project began with tracing the different artists’ forms on wood panels.

“How does how you carry yourself show the world who you are?”

The artists are then filling their sillhouettes with elements that define who they are. The forms will then be cut out from the wood panels, and installed against the fence on the periphery of the MLK garden.


So the teachers were asked to experience the same process.

Student work fills the light-filled studio. An inspiration to all visitors.
Student work fills the light-filled studio. An inspiration to all visitors
Natasha Griffin is shown here tracing Mr. KDub in an action pose.

Matt working towards completion of his project.

Natasha takes her time making choices about color.
Making artwork takes time and focused energy.

Stepping back and looking at finished work.

Teachers Learn About Visual Arts Empowering Students

“How do the visual arts encourage both classroom teachers and students to envision solutions?”
“How do the visual arts empower students?”
“What does arts integration support in the classroom?”
“What can classroom teachers learn about their own teaching through the arts?”

These were some of the questions discussed at the SMCSD middle school visual arts PD session.

We gathered in the MLK art studio, and talked about arts integration, student learning, and project ideas.
Then teachers got to work. Using the Youth in Arts WHO AM I? curriculum, teachers honed in on one question that they wanted to consider while creating a tunnel book :
Read more…

Encouraging Literacy through Art Making

Bayside School and Willow Creek Academy Elementary teachers came together for their monthly Visual Arts PD.

Vibrant paint chips were the catalyst for inspiration.

In pairs, teachers were given the challenge to create a story using all of the words listed in the paint chip color strip.

The writings were playful, collaborative, and incited ideas for further extensions in different classrooms.

Teachers were then given strips of canvas paper with three drawn circles.

The next challenge was to explore color mixing, and to create three new colors.

How can these colors represent a moment in your day? A smell you experienced, an emotion, or a vision that inspired you?

Once the colors were painted on the canvas, language was connected to the mood of the color.

As a group we reflected on what we noticed, and ways these explorations could be used in different areas of the curriculum.

Arts professional development builds partnership & community

This past Wednesday, December 8th, all of the Elementary teachers in the Sausalito Marin City School District came together for their monthly arts PD session.  As the rain was coming down hard outside, the teachers were inside reflecting, creating, collaborating, and experimenting.

To begin, each teacher drew one SHOM word from a bag to think about and work with.

The teachers were then asked to think about how they utilize that practice in their own teaching, or perhaps they have observed Ms.Brooke using it within her teaching, or perhaps they dream of using it in a certain way in the future.

The teachers then pulled out an aspect or aspects of their reflection that could then be visualized using materials:

Chalk, watercolor, Sharpie, graphite pencil, collage matierals.

The classroom space was filled with a buzz as materials were chosen, layered, blended.

At the end of the session, the orb-formed pieces were stretch out across a table for reflection.

What do you notice?

What do you think?

What do you wonder?

The responses were positive, and the willingness to look and listen and explore was inspiring.

Learning Arts Community : Teachers Teaching Teachers

In the Sausalito Marin City School District we are flying into our second year of the Arts Demonstration grant, generously funded by the Marin Community Foundation. The SMCSD community recognizes that Professional Development is vital for supporting the arts and developing strong integration practices. Some goals we have are:

  • Teachers in the SMCSD are provided with consistent professional development sessions that encourage and inspire team building.
  • Through professional development sessions, teacher leaders will be distinguished, and they will be vital resources and advocates for the arts.
  • By the end of the 2010-2011 school year, teachers will be implementing aspects of the professional development meetings into their daily teaching practices.
  • Through the professional development sessions, teachers will be exposed to multiple approaches to teaching and learning art.  Teachers will also learn about different arts education pedagogy, and ways of engaging students in the curriculum through arts integration.
  • Through the professional development sessions, teachers will begin to recognize the vitality and importance of the arts supporting all areas of the curriculum.
  • Through the professional development sessions, teachers will build a stronger sense of community; sharing best practices, brainstorming with one another, and developing unified relationships and partnerships.

Last week was the first Middle School PD. These teachers from MLK and Willow Creek meet on the 4th Wednesday of every month to explore, share, collaborate, and develop ideas.

Mr. K-Dub opened up his studio space for us, and the collective looked at an article about the 8 Studio Habits of Mind, the teachers experimented with drawing materials (charcoal, Sharpie, graphite, and colored pencils), and then K-Dub led the teachers through a value lesson that he has been working on with his 6th, 7th, and 8th grade students.

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