Friday, August 2, 2013

Scones and Bannock

As I was making a buttermilk scone recipe with Saskatoonberries from a local chef's dough mix, called WildSernedipity Foods, I discovered a teachable insight. The chef, Michelle Zimmer researched Bannock, thought to be an indigenous food, and discovered it originated in Scotland, in the year1000, and was cut into wedges called scones.

Read her insights here on her blog wildserendipityfoods with her blog entry:
Birthplace of Scones and Bannock

I will have to teach students how things come full circle (and are cut into wedges!) by making bannock and scones in class with them.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Gift Bags - With Watercolors and Out of Newspaper!

I decided to add my simple watercolor pictures to white gift bags as a way to showcase my art, make a practical item, and make a pretty bag to put in my art! I started with small white paper bags, glued on a few abstract paintings, then found some paper bags to reuse. These bags were in different colors so I had to make the art to go with the bag color. Then I purchased larger paper bags in forest green and purple and added more winter art for them. Here are some of my bags:

Here is a website for creating giftbags out of newspaper. Can't wait to try it out with my students!
How to Make Gift Bags Out of Newspaper 
I am hoping that the idea of recycling, and reusing can be combined with fine art. What do you think? Would you use a paper gift bag with a watercolor on it?

Monday, November 5, 2012

Help With Hurricane Sandy

Hurricane Sandy came upon us on a Monday, Oct. 29 when I was teaching Social Studies to grade 6's and 7's. We have time in a computer lab so everyone looked up images, videos and information on the impending Superstorm. Homework was to figure out "What Can We Do About It?" The students watched news, videos and looked on the internet and were eager to share the stories and pictures they saw. The homework was then looked at and they decided the best way to help was to donate money to help victims. Prayer for people was also suggested. So, having art class 2 days later, I was able to get students to make posters asking for help, showing some of the devastation they had viewed. The students wrote a prayer together, came up with a newsletter item, and also talked to the principal via the student leadership team about what they could do.
     Motivating the students to action was basically easy. You just have to give them awareness and the idea that they can do something about this. Facts were written down but the main question that I will ask them on the next test is " Why was it important to study Hurricane Sandy?" Was it really because we were studying trade in other countries?? Was it really because the U.S. is our neighbor? Was it really because it was current events day in class? They knew my husband is American, a teacher's aide had family in the New York/New Jersey area at the time, and that I had taught in New York on a teaching exchange. My reasons for having an interest in the U.S. were made known to them. But again I asked them why they thought we were studying about this current event. Was it really to make them aware of current events, or a better global citizen?? Hopefully, they can answer this why question.
     This also gives a chance, as a computer teacher to examine fake photographs portrayed on the internet. Look at the one below for a good topic opener:
or try this attempt at changing the reality:
I am hoping that the real image of this storm stays with them:

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Multicultural Art Education

I read an article posted by a grade 11 student who wanted to give reasons for multicultural art education. Its a good description of the reasons for teaching in this diverse way. So, I have shared some of the article by Lisa Wang who wants to reach a greater audience than her teacher who assigned the project.

Multicultural Art Education – What’s the Deal with That? 

What is it?
The goal of multicultural art education is to expose and familiarize students to cultural diversity. It uses examples of traditional ethnic art and art activities to encourage them to explore both their own cultural identity, as well as others. By focusing on the art of many cultures, this method intends to peak students’ interest in learning about different ethnicities, while putting emphasis on the diverse styles and elements that make each culture unique.
In multicultural art education, art is also used to look at the history and development of a culture. Students will be able to study the traditional styles, discuss them, and, later on, practice them. The objective of this is to engage the students and allow them to have both group and independent learning, where they can form individual opinions and comprehension through art.

Sample activities
For teachers who are thinking about trying this method, there are a number of activities which can be done in a classroom to introduce multicultural art. Some of the most common ones are listed below:
·         Traditional Art Pieces – Students can look at traditional art and be taught to observe the elements and styles within the compositions. Artwork can also be compared and contrasted between different cultures. For younger grades, it is best to focus on the basics. For older grades, the development of this artwork can also be looked at, as well as more complex analysis; questions such as why certain styles or elements were used, and why these styles may have been important can be discussed.
·         Practising Art Styles – Students can have the chance to create some of the styles and elements used in traditional painting. This is usually a lot of fun for them, and helps to keep them involved and interested.
The largest concern with most people is learning how to teach traditional cultural art. However, to teach multicultural art, you don’t have to be an expert. The main aim is to have some prior knowledge or background on the subject or culture; enough that you are able to lead a discussion and show examples.
There are many books and websites that outline activities and give instructions about how to learn a specific art style. This makes it much easier to learn the basics of cultural art, and from there, to create a step-by-step lesson plan.

Tips and Hints
Keep the class engaged. Although art is usually fun for most students, some do tend to get bored of it quickly. The key is to find activities that interest all of the students in the class, and to keep a steady pace when teaching. This might not be easy, but as students learn more about cultural art, you may find that they keep focused better.
Be prepared. There are many elements to every single kind of cultural art, and the best thing to do is to get to know them beforehand. Learn the background on the cultures you will be teaching, so that you can explain it well to the students, and answer their questions accurately. Study the artwork to understand some of the elements used before discussing them with your class, and practice the art styles before doing a lesson on them. Authenticity is huge when dealing with cultural art, so have traditional paintings by experienced artists ready to show to students as examples.
Keep it simple. Don’t give your class too much information at once. Begin with the basics, and build from there. Multiculturalism is huge area, and even simply looking at traditional art styles can take quite a while. Make sure that you develop the concept during each lesson, but don’t go too fast.
Overall, multicultural art education is an area which holds a lot of potential for any teaching situation.  Because it is still in development, there may have to be some experimentation in order to find a suitable lesson plan. However, the reward of a good education should be worth the effort.
Lisa Wang's report was revealing and hopefully her efforts at using multicultural art in teaching will be rewarded in students who are engaged. Here is the wiki she has on the full article and personal findings: Multicultural Art Education

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Thailand Teaching Experience

I have finally written an article about my teaching experience in Thailand. I would like to pass on my message to any teachers reading about teaching in another country. It was very easy to write and explain personal experiences and why I went to Thailand. Read and comment on it if you like. Traveling and Teaching in Thailand

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Visual Learners and Visual Aids

Visual learners need color, visual aids and repetition so they can visualize what they learn. These basic ideas were written in an article which I added the pictures to. The ideas are straightforward and are for any grade level. Read the revised article Catering to the Visual Learner Strengths in the Classroom and respond with any ideas of your own. I know I need a calendar in grid form to plan the month ahead!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Math Article for the Calculus Student

Since I wrote an article on how to solve limits in Calculus, many students have viewed this article. So, to be more helpful, and to create more views, I wrote an article on how to find the derivative. This should be helpful to the high school student struggling or the university student lost in the world of college professors.
See if it helps you. How to Find the Derivative in Calculus is the article with a media file of 25 examples to help apply the rules of derivatives at Derivative Problems and Solutions.