Thursday, December 13, 2018

Season 1 of The Maker Mentality Podcast #MakerEd

If you are looking for some podcasts to fulfill your Maker needs, The Maker Mentality is exactly what you need.

The first season is available to binge right now! Season 2 will be dropping in the New Year and it will be filled with some amazing guests.

Check it out here, or you can go to the following podcasting places to hear The Maker Mentality.

Apple Podcasts
Google Podcasts
Radio Public
Pocket Casts

Thanks for listening and let me know if there is anything you'd really like me to cover or someone you would like me to have a conversation with in a future episode. 

Hugs and High Fives, 


Wednesday, December 5, 2018

An Art Library at @UniLiggett! #ArtsEd #EdChat #MakerEd

I received an email the other day and it blew my mind. Email don't generally do this, but this one shared an idea that I fell in love with right away. I asked if I could share it out and I was given a big thumbs up, so here it is.

Here is the email,

The Liggett Art Library is finally live!

What’s the Liggett Art Library?

Over time, The Curators (a group of Upper and Middle School artists) hope to collect and create a body of student artwork from all divisions in order to:

-Loan artwork to faculty and staff to brighten classroom and office spaces
-Add artwork to empty wall spaces in common areas
-Refresh old displays with more recent artwork
-Regularly rotate art displays throughout the school
-Take a select number of space- or classroom-specific commissions annually
-Build an evolving art collection by keeping student work for a year or more before returning it to make room for new work

How does it work?

It’s pretty similar to any other library.  You can borrow artwork for the school year to hang in your teaching or working space(s).  Each June, artwork must be renewed or returned to the library.  This allows work to be shared, rotated through different spaces, and/or returned to graduating students.  

What’s the difference between the three collections?

The Permanent Collection is work that has been gifted to the library. Since these pieces do not need to be returned to students, they can remain in one location (upon annual renewal) for longer periods of time.

The Temporary Collection is work that student artists have loaned to the library upon condition that the art be returned to them when they graduate (sometimes earlier). If you’re interested in borrowing Temporary Collection pieces, please be sure to check the return-to-student date.

Commissions is the body of custom work The Curators will create for particular individuals, spaces, and/or units of study. Curators is a small group, and there are only so many commissions we can create in a school year, but we’ll do our best to honor your requests as we’re able.

How can I borrow work?

Please email me with your requests.  For now, please keep requests to 1-2 pieces unless you are looking to curate a larger shared space.  Requests received by this Friday 12/7 will be matted and framed for you by The Curators (Art Library Team led by Hope K ’19 and Lizzie L ’20) and hung over break by Jim K (thanks, Jim!).  Requests received after Friday will be hung in the new year.

Thank you for supporting this project.  We’re looking forward to bringing student artwork out of the galleries and into your classrooms!

Helen (& The Curators)

Isn't this idea amazing! I love everything about it! I've already put in a request for a mural for the Makerspace and piece of art done by one of my favorite Liggett artists, Hope Kulka. Here is what I requested,

I am a strong believer in the power of the arts to give a voice to those that feel like they do not have one and the Knights Forge Innovation Lab is going to be a place for all makers, including all artists, to showcase their work and make amazing things. I hope all teachers take advantage of this amazing program and fill their classrooms with amazing works of student art. 

Monday, December 3, 2018

Where's Your School Culture? #EdChat

One of the things that stood out to me about my trip to Iceland was the culture of learning throughout the school. Everything was geared toward the learner. As I walked through the school, I didn't need to the examples of the learning culture pointed out to me. I could see it in the classrooms as students interacted with one another. I could see it in the hallways where student work was on display. I could see it in the way the teachers connected with others in the morning. Everywhere I turned, the culture was there and it was amazing.

As I talked to different teachers while in Iceland, I asked about culture and I wondered about how school mandates or new initiatives were rolled out or how teacher voice was part of the conversation. The one big thing I took away was that the culture of the school makes it easier to change whatever needs to be changed. The shared sense of community in the school is a culture that supports change for the good of everyone. Everyone feels like they have a voice in their school. Students feel like they are part of a large community supporting them in their studies. The culture supports the changes that need to be made and lifts everyone up when some are hesitant. They understand that changes are part of the evolving nature of any community. That is what is key. Change is part of any community.

As I talk to teacher across the country, the culture of their school shapes their teaching experience. I think this is one of the biggest obstacles of any school or district that is trying to make sweeping changes in their institutions. You can't expect complex changes to occur in teachers' thinking when a culture does not exist to support those changes. A culture of support needs to be in place before you can ask people to change what they do day to day. Without the established culture, resistance to any new ideas is going to be widespread.

Culture doesn't solve everything. You could have a great culture, but it could be destroyed by poorly thought out plans, ignoring teacher input, focusing on anything other than students, and much, much more. I've seen great school cultures killed. It is sad.

My school is a pretty progressive school and there is a concerted effort to build school culture for the teachers and for the students. In the Middle School, we instituted the House System to bring the sense of community across all three grades. We believe that we can bring everyone together with this system to help make any changes that might be needed over time. If everyone is on the same team, we can all support one another for the good of the school.

I was going to title the post, "What is your School Culture", but I wanted to ask where is it. You might think you have a particular school culture, but can you point to examples of it in your school? What does your school culture look like? Is it inclusive?  Can others outside of your school see these examples without have it pointed out or explained? Ask yourself these questions and think about how you can be a force of change.