First and foremost: Have any of you ventured out to see “Midnight in Paris” at your local movie theater? If not, you have GOT to run out and see while it is still in theaters. I don’t watch too much T.V., hadn’t seen a promo, and ended up seeing it on a hot day wherein I really just wanted the escape of the heavily AC’d theater. I saw that it was advertised as a typical Woody Allen film about how people relate etc. etc. and had Paris as a very romantic backdrop.

And, well, the film IS all of that with one minor exception. The protagonist, played by Owen Wilson, is a writer who accidentally ends up slipping back into 1920’s Paris. While there he meets Ernest Hemingway, Gertrude Stein (and her partner, Alice), Pablo Picasso, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Zelda Fitzgerald, Salvador Dali, and Man Ray. . .For a few minutes he slips further and meets Monet, Degas, and Toulouse-Lautrec. Yeah, I actually gasped out loud when I figured out someone was Dali. It was such a fantastic treat. Please, do go and see it.

And, in another recommendation is a mixed request. This Fall -well in 2 weeks really- I begin my work at my new school. My new school is a very different environment from my homogeneous private school experience. The student body reflects a wide range of diversity culturally, ethnically, and monetarily. Also later this Fall, I will be presenting a workshop at my local Art Education Conference about creating and participating in collaborative online art education communities. As I mull both of these important topics (well, in my life at least), I’m struck by one thought: Our online community doesn’t reflect much diversity other than the fact that all of us art education bloggers live in a variety of different places.

We don’t talk about the challenges of diversity, culture, and various financial issues bring into our classrooms. Well, at least not, as a major theme. And, if I look at myself at the very least, I see a long range of projects that aren’t particularly diverse and do not address the interests and backgrounds of a diverse set of learners.

Knowing the little I do about what my Fall is due to bring, this a is a major issue. It leaves me in a place wherein I am doing research about creating a more diverse set of lesson plans, behavior management etc. etc. When I think about what we can do as bloggers it is simple, we can work more to introduce such hard topics as culture and race into our writing. I don’t mean just introducing lessons that reach out to different cultures (although that is good and I want that too). I mean more writing about how to overcome the challenges we face when we come from a different culture than our students, and what we do to bridge the gap (if one even exists).

The other thing I think we can do as bloggers is to encourage our colleagues to blog as well. We can’t change who we are, what our interest are, and where we teach. And, a vast lot of us, teach in environments that are similar to how we grew up and/or what we relate to. . . I think we need a more present voice of those who teach in environment vastly different than our own. I think that this will help us to grow and it will open our eyes to addressing concerns of which we aren’t even yet aware?

Finally, when I look through my cache of art education bloggers, I would say at least 85% of us have blogs that address the needs -primarily- of the elementary art room. We need to encourage those teaching in older age ranges to participate in this community. I secretly think that the strongest force is elementary because those elementary kiddos finish projects quick and elementary art teachers need a huge battery of projects! 🙂

Does any of this make sense and/or does any of this resonante with you?


5 thoughts on “Recommendations”

  1. Hi Amy, I've been DYING to see that movie, and it just made it to our local “dinner & a movie” venue (way preferred to the typical popcorn theater that books all the horror movies and other shlock. Anyhow, I expect to get there next week hopefully. I've been intrigued by the premise.As for the other stuff – first of all, I haven't forgotten about our similar themed workshops. I'll send you an email in a day or two, I promise. I do think there are secondary bloggers, but having taught both, I must agree that elementary art teachers need a MUCH bigger repertoire, (and better shoes, since we're always on our feet!). I'm teaching my workshop primarily because I feel the online blogging community is such a profound resource, and, since so many of us work in isolation (no other art teachers in district or building), building such a community is very relevant. At the end of my career, it is a resource I wish I had years ago. We've tried to get regional art teachers together from time to time, but geographically we are quite distant, with mountains and snowy roads between us, so it never gets off the ground. Blogging forms that same type of community from the comfort of our couches. That said, we must remember that the bulk of art teachers NEVER take the time to attend a conference, and will not bother with the time involved in blogging. They may READ blogs to get ideas, but not take the time to share in return. Perhaps you've noticed that there are a # of bloggers like me, at the end of careers, with children that have left the nest and very little home obligations, or younger teachers like yourself who do not yet have the intense obligation of family. Those in the middle are busy with little league games and scouts and music lessons and all the day-to-day stuff of parenthood, and while some of them blog, many of them are less likely to invest the time in blogging. The instant-ness of Facebook and twitter seem to have really engaged those in the middle, and frankly I don't find either to be as useful as blogging for what I need. There's a lot of “taking the easy way out”, as was the case of the former high school art teacher in my district. When the administrators observing us do not have a clue what it is that we actually should be doing, it's easy to get away with bad teaching.Enough for now; hubby is waiting to go out for a “Friday night bite” (I don't cook on Fridays).

  2. Phyl,I love what you have to say here! As someone without children it didn't even occur to me to think of the massive time strain it must be to rear children, teach AND blog! As always, thank you so much for your insight!

  3. Thanks for the movie recommendation. I hardly pay attention to what is out right now, but I will have to put that on my list. I just returned to teaching this year after 7 years away (including having children.) I started an art ed blog toward the beginning of the year, because I love having an online community for things that feel so isolating (why I also blogged about my children, and quilting.) However, I felt so overwhelmed with just doing everything for classes, that blogging fell by the wayside. As far as diversity in the classroom, this is a subject that I find a bit uncomfortable. Yes, there is diversity in my classroom. I try to pull in artists and art forms from diverse backgrounds. However, to actually acknowledge that my difficulties in classroom management this past year was in part because of a cultural difference feels embarrassing or wrong or something. I am working on my classroom management plan this summer. I'm taking a hard look at MYSELF to see what I need to change.

  4. Thank you soooooo much for the movie idea. I went tonight with my 15 year old daughter. We LOVED IT! How clever and unique. I only wish it was longer. It was really a great idea and YES SUCH A TREAT! 🙂

  5. Lauralee, Awwwww, I'm so glad you and your daughter had fun. Angie, I very much relate to what you are saying. I worked for just one year in a very diverse environment and I constantly worried that first year that admitting I didn't always “get it,” was admitting failure.I don't know if I feel that way anymore, but I can't say that I'm right or wrong in thinking that.I do know the first few days of school I was very much myself – a tall, awkward, nerdy white lady who has been very privileged- and that didn't get me very far.I'm going to do a quick post about it. . .And I'll link back here for you to see as well.

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