Fall 2 Blog Post #3

Melissa Akey

Fall 2018

Blog Post #3


My research has been a mixture of different methodologies that I have been introduced to throughout our course. Early in the semester I read about the social research methodology of ethnography. Ethnography is the study of culture, which in my case, I connected to the study of my classroom culture. This research approach requires participant observation, interviewing, field notes, audio/visual documentation as well as artifact collection and archival study. “Ethnographers usually begin their study with pre-fieldwork motivated by the selection of a problem or curiosity toward some aspect of the lives of the people they wish to study (Beach,2005; Delamont, 2008; Hammersley & Atkinson, 2007).” This type of research requires the prolonged engagement in everyday contexts to gain a deep understanding of the culture that you wish to study. At the conclusion of my research I will have studied the culture of my painting class from September- January everyday for 40 minutes a day. What makes this methodology unique is the semester long study of the same group of people. It is a holistic and intensive study of people and culture. “Ethnographic research allows teachers to examine the practices, problems, and policies of art education in a holistic and complex way as they exist in the real world (p. 143).” This methodology also lends itself to meaningful, direct, benefits for the people, class, and schools being studied. My hope is that through this methodology I will develop a deeper understanding of my student’s needs, wants, and feelings about their art and art education.

Another methodology that my research uses is the Narrative and Autobiographical research method. I was drawn to this methodology when reading the quote  “I use narrative inquiry to remember and revision experience, and to study the complexities of classroom life from multiple experiences (p. 222).” This is what I wish to do with my research, learn about the benefit of the use of critique from a multitude of perspectives. Narrative research is a qualitative research methodology that focuses on stories of experiences such as those of my students. Clandinin and Connelly (2000) explain how personal and social experiences in continuum are central to narrative inquiry. The data collection in narrative research works through artifacts, photos and other art based methods to engage in telling personal narratives. In my own research my student’s critiques on each others art as well as stories and thoughts about their own artistic choices are my collection of narrative works. I collect these artifacts by conducting interviews as well as observation and note taking during class critiques.  

To supplement my current research I am going to continue to record the audio from my painting classes until january when the class ends to listen for trends in responses as well as study how their word choice and vocabulary evolves over time. I will also continue to conduct interviews during the critiques on student opinion. I will take note of their opinion of critique and how the use of student choice affects the outcome of the critiques. After I collect all my ongoing data when my class comes to a close in january I will have collected a completed course of data from start to finish.

After the completion of my research I will use the evidence which I have found and supplement with the journals and other research I have accumulated during our course. I will then start writing my research paper.

Fall 2 Blog Post #2

This fall I have spent the last few weeks at a loss for a research topic. I felt as still being a new teacher, going into my second year of teaching I was interested in everything! How could I choose a research topic when really i’m just still trying to learn everything and feel my head above the water. I also started a new district this year and tomorrow will only be my 5th day of the year. Then while writing my role of a researcher paper it hit me. The one thing I focus on in all my classes across the board is the use of class critiques. I feel like I have talked about them at length this course and I feel they are just so beneficial for my students and important. So now i’m thinking, maybe my research should be on the use of critiques in high school level courses.

  1. How can art educators at the secondary level use critiques as assessment rather than rubrics and other forms of written assessment?
  2. How can I measure the success of the use of critique with my students?
  3. How can I prove and document the progression of my students during critiques to my department head and administration?

How have you addressed these issues/questions? How could you address these issues and questions? How are the courses so far affecting your classroom practice?

I have been incorporating the use of critique in my teaching methods and units at the high school level all year last year and I already laid the groundwork for my courses this year to start beginning them probably in a week or two for their first projects. I am still thinking about my research questions and how I am going to address them. My classroom practice is being affected because I am constantly giving my students opportunities to talk about their work and use the specific vocabulary casually with each other while working so that when we come together for a critique in a week or two they are comfortable with the terms and talking to one another. I could document my findings by taking notes during the critiques. I want to look into if legally it would be an issue to voice record our class critiques as well as possibility video taping them as well.


Fall 2: Blog Post #1

Baglieri, S., Valle, J. Connor, D. & Gallagher, D. (2011). Disability studies in education: The need for a plurality of perspectives on disability. Remedial and Special Education, 32(4), 267-278.

This reading focused on education’s need for perspectives on disability to be fluid and evolving. The article resonated with me because when I think of my classroom and my students with special needs, none of them are the same. Even if two students of mine are diagnosed with the same disability, they never behave exactly the same way nor should be expectations or teaching be the same for both. “In the process, they asserted that the medical model’s objectivist depiction of disability was neither as straightforward nor as sufficient as it appeared (Taylor, 2006).” Disability was defined by different individuals ideas. “It is not that people do not vary or differ from one another in sometimes very noticeable ways, but to call or think of some of those differences as “disabilities” is to make a social judgment, not a neutral or value-free observation. Put differently, it is not the way in which people vary or the differences they have in comparison to others but what we make of those differences that matters.” The social model of disability deals with the society attitudes towards diversity. It includes how we understand the ways that race, class, gender, language, culture, and sexual orientation shape the experience of disability. Also the time period in which disability is being discussed and modeled affects how society views a disability. What is considered “normal” in that time period based on social and cultural norms.


Universal Design For Learning: Theory and Practice, Chapter 3: “The Variability for Learning” pp. 49-82

This chapter discussed how the Universal Design for Learning theory changed from individual differences to individual variably after discovering that the original theory was limiting. Again, in education theories and strategies are always evolving just as the needs of our students are also always in flux. It was discussed that because of large class sizes and the multitude of different needs the extensive analysis required for each student may not be possible. Another limitation of individual differences compared to individual variably is the subtle hints to the old medical model of disability. Using the terms and ideas of “typical” and “atypical” which is so subjective. Like “typical” compared to what? And in what time period? Individual-context interactions evolved from individual interactions because studies began to show what we knew, that students are not immune to their environment and context around them. What happens around them also effects themselves. It connects to the idea of “epigenetics” which is the the study of the very strong effects of the environment on gene expression.  Cognition and affect had always been thought of as two separate entities, affect being the “why” of learning. The feelings, values and emotions that can influence attitudes towards learning. Cognitive scientists are addressing feelings and emotion, motivation and behavior, and they are now coming to realize that emotion organizes, drives, amplifies, and attenuates students’ thinking and reasoning.

Universal Design For Learning: Theory and Practice, Chapter 4: “Universal Design for Learning” pp. 83-108

Universal Design for Learning presents three teaching strategies (Provide multiples means of engagement, provide multiple means of representation and provide multiple means of action and expression) based on the three networks for learning (affective, recognition, and strategic). In the art room there are possibilities to include the strategies included in the Universal Design for Learning.  With engagement it is important to design learning contexts that offer flexibility so that each student can find a way into the learning experience, remain persistent in the face of challenge or failure, and continue to build self-knowledge. Students need to have options for self regulation, where they can develop self assessment and reflection. Students will build personal coping skills and strategies. In my art room I try to incorporate lessons that can be taken by students and given an individual spin. I give them the umbrella idea or topic and they can use materials they decide or a subject matter of choice. “Learners’ ability to perceive, interpret, and understand information is dependent upon the media and methods through which it is presented.For learning environments to support varied learners in all of these recognition processes, three broad kinds of options for representation are needed: options for perception; options for language, mathematical expressions, and symbols; and options for comprehension (p. 54).” To promote resourceful, knowledgeable learners we have to provide options for comprehension. We do this by activating background knowledge and highlight patterns, big ideas and relationships. In my art room I demo so my students can see an example infront of them but then I also have the information given verbally as well as having step by step instruction up on the board if anyone ever loses track of where they are in the project. Expert learners need to be able set appropriate goals and monitor their progress towards those goals. This involves setting a goal at an appropriate level of difficulty and being flexible with strategies (trying a different approach when one method is not working).These skills develop as learners mature in age as well as in skill level with a particular discipline or subject (p.98).” To achieve this as teachers we need to provide options for executive functions such as guiding appropriate goal setting, support planning development, and enhance capacity for monitoring progress. Art courses have the ability to provide options for expression and communication all the time. In art we use multiple media options for communication as well as the multiple use of tools. Art also provides options for physical action such as giving lots of access to assistive technology around the art room.


Universal Design For Learning: Theory and Practice, Chapter 6: “Designing for All: What is a UDL Curriculum?” pp. 127-156

In chapter 6 the authors discuss the difference of summative and formative assessments. The authors feel well-crafted, thoughtful summative assessments can be important but only when used in conjunction with an array of other types of assessments designed to improve both teaching and learning. Formative assessment tends to be more immediate and informative to instruction than summative assessment because it offers the opportunity to improve teaching and learning during the course of instruction. The UDL model favors formative assessments that are planned and intentionally part of instruction — assessment by design, in other words. Where students seem to be falling down, the first place to look is to the curriculum. Formative assessment gives teachers a concrete and visible means of getting the data they need to inform their instructional decision-making. I have mentioned previously in my responses that at my current school they don’t require us to use rubrics to grade our students. This past year I have been using in-class critiques to grade my high school students. I have them about 2-3 times a project. We put all the art in the center of a table and I prompt “questions/comments/concerns” about each piece of work we put up and students discuss the work using the specific vocabulary from the lesson. I believe it is very important for my students to learn how to talk about their art, how to have different views from someone else and still discuss, how to give and take constructive criticism, and how to put their thoughts about what they created into words. I’m able to grade their work, their use of vocabulary and their collaboration with other students during the critique.


Art and Disability, Chapter 5, Emotional Disturbance and Behavioral Disorders

Chapter 5 does a great job of explaining emotional disturbance and behavioral disorders and how they manifest themselves in your classrooms. Some challenges that individuals with emotional and behavioral disorders face are hyperactivity such as short attention span and impulsivity. Aggression or self injurious behavior such as acting out or fighting. Withdrawal, which can be not interacting socially with others or excessive fear and anxiety. Immaturity is also a challenge for individuals with emotional and behavioral disorders. This can be seen with crying, temper tantrums and poor coping skills. Sometimes students will also have excessive anxiety and abnormal mood swings. One strength that comes from emotional and behavioral disorders is creativity. This year I made a poster to hang in my room that reads “The best use of imagination is creativity, the worst use of imagination is anxiety.” There are some days that I read that poster 10x a day even for myself. A mind that is never at rest is always forming new ideas and concepts its just how you channel that energy to be constructive. This chapter wasn’t the same as other chapters with outlining both challenges AND strengths. I re-read pages thinking I was missing something. I was stuck on reading about the young african american males and the number of them labeled E/BD by their white female teachers. I wanted to read more about this and the weight of the cultural differences and the ethical questions they pose. It took over my mind for the chapter and I felt it could be an entire book itself.


Verbal to Visual. (2015, October 29). Curriculum Design Part 3: Producing The Material. Retrieved from https://youtu.be/mljZhTaq-mo

Doug Neill walks through his planning steps for preparing a series of lessons on note taking. He lays out outcomes and their context and then works his way to teaching the activities. Beginning with what he terms “The High-Level Planning,” he looks at the big picture the reasons for this, the students (or audience) to design an overall rationale for the course, including a survey to find out what the students know or need to know. In the second video, Neill lays out a strategy in the form of a sequence, for brainstorming and sorting bits of knowledge. In the third video he actually creates the course materials by organizing all the bits of knowledge in video 2, while keeping in mind the “big picture” of the first video. The fourth video describes a reflective exercise, in which Neill thinks back on the course activities and makes adjustments and improvements for the next time through. Backward design is a way of planning with a desired outcome in mind. After watching the videos I considered what part of my classroom I could change to incorporate and apply the three steps of backward design. After watching the video series I created a clothesline diagram that I refer to when sharing how I would use backwards design when teaching coil pots in Intro To Ceramics.  

Spring ’18 Blog Post #3

Spring 2018- Annotated Bibliography


Michael Ray Charles in Consumption. (2001, September 28). Retrieved April 25, 2018, from https://art21.org/watch/art-in-the-twenty-first-century/s1/michael-ray-charles-in-consumption-segment/

Michael Ray Charles shared in the Art 21 episode details and examples of his work as well as the major idea and themes that are reflected. Michael Ray Charles spoke about how some people view his work negatively and that he is perpetuating a stereotype of black face and other negative representations of African Americans. Michael Ray Charles wants his work to acknowledge the presence of this in the past. He talks about how history tried to cover it up and not acknowledge that this existed in United States advertising. He mentions the use of black face and other negative stereotypes in early advertising as a way to “reminisce” about the Deep South. How also in toys it can be seen. How Tarzan is seen as this positive, round edge, blue eyed figure yet the enemy is this black figure that is animalistic and rough edged and negative. It implies at a subconscious level that “black is bad”. Michael Ray Charles asks the question “what were we emancipated from?” He wants his work to evoke thought in the viewers and make people ask questions. He wants his viewers not to shy away from the past but acknowledge and not continue the same wrong doings.


Darts, D. (2011). “Invisible culture: Taking art education to the streets” Art Education, 49-53.

Darts discusses how he had to employ different strategies to make his student-driven approach to curriculum and assessment successful. He wanted to address the evolving realities of living in a rapidly transforming and globalizing world. He made his classes so that students were personally invested in the topics being taught. To make this approach successful he made sure there was framework that outlined the expectations and responsibilities of students. Darts strategies made for a very successful curriculum and assessment that was student driven.


Mitchell, W.J.T. (2002). “Showing seeing: A critique of visual culture” In Michael Ann Holly and Keith Moxey (Eds.), Art History, Aesthetics, Visual Studies. New Haven: Yale University Press, 231-249.

Visual culture aims to “overcome the veil of familiarity and self evidence that surrounds the experience of seeing, and to turn into a problem for analysis, a mystery to be unraveled (Mitchell 231).” The question is raised in the reading “Can visual studies be an emergent field, a discipline, a coherent domain of research, even an academic department? Should art history fold its tent and, in a new alliance with aesthetics and media studies, aim to build a larger edifice around the concept of visual culture? (Mitchell 234).” He formed a list of eight counter-theses of what visual culture is. This is where my understanding of visual culture was solidified. “3. Visual culture is not limited to the study of images or media, but extends to everyday practices of seeing and showing, especially those that we take to be immediate or unmediated. It is less concerned with the meaning of images than with their lives and loves (Mitchell 237).” Also, “there are no visual media. All media are mixed media, with varying ratios of senses and sign types (Mitchell 237).”


Van Laar, T. and Diepeveen, L. (1998). Chapter 3. Active sights: Art as social interaction. Mountain View, CA: Mayfield Publishing Co. (p. 51-69).

In the reading Van Laar and Diepeveen describe how artists are assumed into five social roles. They explained the myths and the exaggerations that went along with the roles. The roles are the artist as skilled worker, the artist as intellectual, the artist as entrepreneur, the artist as social critic and the artist as social healer. In 2018 it can be argued that art teachers today take on bits and pieces of all five social roles discussed by the authors. There are excerpts of this reading that I believe can be relatable to each and every art teacher, thier classroom and their students.


Wiggins (1998) “Promoting Student Understanding” Chapter 4, Educative Assessment, Assessment in Art Education, Chapters 1

The first chapter in Assessment in Art Education provides an introduction to assessment and the book. In Wiggins discusses the difference between knowledge and understanding. “Understanding is arguably the intellectual achievement we are poorest at improving- and not coincidentally, the achievement we have the most difficulty assessing ( Wiggins 72).” Understanding is central to all other achievements. Without understanding our thinking is constrained, habit bound, and borrowed. “Understanding revolves around rethinking- reflecting upon, reconsidering, and perhaps fundamentally revising the meaning of what we have already learned and what we believe to be knowledge or adequate account (Wiggins 85).”

Spring ’18 Blog Post #2

Ai Wei Wei “Sunflower Seeds”

Ai Weiwei was born in Beijing, China in 1957. Ai Wei Wei infuses his sculptures, photographs, and public artworks with political conviction and personal poetry, often making use of recognizable and historic Chinese art forms in critical examinations of a host of contemporary Chinese political and social issues. In his sculptural works he often uses reclaimed materials—ancient pottery and wood from destroyed temples—in a conceptual gesture that connects tradition with contemporary social concerns. He also employs sarcasm, juxtaposition, and repetition to reinvigorate the potency and symbolism of traditional images and to reframe the familiar with minimal means. He is also one of the earliest conceptual artists to use social media – Instagram and Twitter, in particular – as one of his primary media.

In October 2010 he unveiled his commission for the Unilever Series at Tate Modern. The work consisted of millions of porcelain seeds made in the workshops of Jingdezhen, a town once famous for its porcelain and now struggling to find its place in the modern world. Ai Weiwei shows what can be done to help communities like Jingdezhen through art. Porcelain is almost synonymous with China and, to make this work, Ai Weiwei has manipulated traditional methods of crafting what has historically been one of China’s most prized exports. Sunflower Seeds invites us to look more closely at the ‘Made in China’ phenomenon and the geo-politics of cultural and economic exchange today.


  1. How does Ai Wei Wei critically examine contemporary Chinese issues though the use of his chosen materials?
  2. Ai Wei Wei incorporates symbolism of traditional Chinese images in his work reframed though minimal means. What is an example of this in his work?
  3. What is the significance of the use of Porcelain in “Sunflower Seeds”?


Ursula von Rydingsvard “Luba”

Ursula von Rydingsvard was born in Deensen, Germany, in 1942. She received a BA and an MA from the University of Miami, Coral Gables (1965), an MFA from Columbia University (1975), and an honorary doctorate from the Maryland Institute College of Art, Baltimore (1991). Von Rydingsvard has described her background as influential within her practice. Born to Polish and Ukrainian peasant farmers, her early childhood was marked by the strain of living in eight different refugee camps over the course of five years in postwar Germany. She immigrated with her family to the United States when she was still a small child. In form, process, and meaning, she sees her work as responsive to eastern European peasant traditions (Stormking.org).


Ursula von Rydingsvard’s primary material used in constructing Luba is four-by-four lengths of cedar wood, a material that, as the artist has said, “it seems to be I’m able to speak through.” Von Rydingsvard stacks, glues, and cuts into these beams freehand with a circular saw—an intuitive process that the artist has likened to the freedom and creativity that many artists associate with the process of drawing. Luba is the first work on a large scale that von Rydingsvard created in solid cedar.  On one side of the main form of Luba, a delicate appendage extends down to the ground; von Rydingsvard has said that it is intended to resemble the arm of a mother cradling a baby. The lower portion of this arm, supporting its spindly reach, is made of bronze and marks the first time von Rydingsvard has combined bronze and cedar into a single work. Highlighting the handiwork and a physical, tangible connection to her sculpture, von Rydingsvard then rubbed graphite into areas of the surface of Luba, emphasizing the shadow and depth of the circular saw’s cuts. I have seen this work in person a number of times at Storm King and when you get close to the sculpture you begin to smell “pencils” which is the use of the graphite in the work.


  1. What is Ursula von Rydingsvard’s process when creating “Luba”?
  2. How does Ursula von Rydingsvard’s childhood influence her practice?
  3. Why does Ursula von Rydingsvard incorporate the use of graphite in her large sculptures?


Minerva Cuevas “Feast and Famine”


Minerva Cuevas was born in Mexico City in 1975. She’s a conceptual and socially-engaged artist who creates sculptural installations and paintings in response to politically-charged events, such as the tension between world starvation and capitalistic excess. Several of the artist’s works take the form of re-branding campaigns—exhibited as murals and product designs—that question the role corporations play in food production, the management of natural resources, fair labor practices, and evolving forms of neo-colonialism.

From early inquiries into the use of cacao as currency in the pre-hispanic era, Cuevas began to investigate the cultivation of cacao in present-day Mexico, as well as the surrounding conflicts and commercial interests through Feast and Famine. Among the pieces produced for this exhibition are 500 chocolate ears, made especially from a crop of native cacao, Grano Real Xoconusco. Cultivated in the state of Chiapas, the majority of this cacao as well as the cacao produced in other parts of the country is exported for consumption across Europe. This piece functions as the nexus of various investigations that Cuevas has carried out in recent years. Conceived as a playful essay, Feast and Famine is an interdisciplinary project combining different aspects of anthropology, product design and economics.

  1. What roles are questioned through the re-branding campaigns exhibited through the murals and product designs?
  2. Why do you believe the artist incorporates the use of major chocolate brands in her exhibition?
  3. How is Feast and Famine considered an interdisciplinary project?

Spring ’18 Blog Post #1

DATE: 2/14/18
TIME: 2:02-2:42pm
CLASS:Painting I
LESSON: 4 Corner Painting Techniques
TEACHER: Melissa Akey
OBSERVER: Jim Maron, Department Chair 

This week I had my department chairperson, Jim, observe me on wednesday afternoon (2/14/18). Our schedule allowed for him to have some time to come into my painting class for about the first fifteen minutes of my forty minute class. Wednesday I had a split class of some of my students ready for the next project and a portion of my students still finishing up the previous project. This is the third week of this course so the project I was introducing is an introduction to a handful of different painting techniques. The students divide their canvas into 4 equal rectangular sections, then draw four circles within each section. My students then have to use four different techniques to fill the canvas. A grayscale section, an expressive impasto section, a wash section, and a pointillism section. In addition to the different painting techniques my students have to consider form and light.

The class started out with getting everyone situated with the materials they needed, my students who needed to finish the previous project and then I got all the students sitting together who needed to start the new project. Jim sat off to the side behind me. After class we sat down to go over what he observed. One of his observations was he wrote “super advanced- review”. He explained that I told the students that once they get the basics down we will move on to portraits and landscapes and more advanced paintings and he said I may have scared off some of my students that were hesitant or nervous to start painting.This is something that I could work on and breaking up lessons into smaller pieces and not explain the entire timeline all at once. He also wrote that since I had two projects happening at once I kept getting interrupted by my students that were working on the previous project and my students that were listening to my demo were waiting around for me to come back. I find this one hard to find a solution to when in a large class there are always students at different work speeds that will need help all at the same time but with different aspects of the lessons.

Another comment he made was he asked if “I forgot to take attendance” because he didn’t see me go up to the computer to take it. I explained that I take attendance on my ipad quickly so I don’t lose time signing into the computer and having to go to my desk rather than just being able to do it in a minute in my hand on my ipad while still working with my students at the tables. This is something that is working for me and I will continue to do. Today (friday) was the last day before a week break off of school so when I get back to school I will scan the documents from Jim onto my blog post because I forgot them in my desk at work. Also when I get back to school I will have another chance to edit my demo with the rest of the students who had now finished our previous project and are now ready to start the painting techniques one.

I will update on 2/26/18 when I get back to school after February break.

Fall’17 Blog Post #3

Walker, S.R. Artmaking as Sensation. pp. 1–47.

The reading introduced a new idea into our course regarding the role of sensation or affect in art and artmaking. The painter Francis Bacon refers to sensation in art as something that is experienced through the nervous system rather than intellectually through the brain. Sensation, according to Deleuze, is first experienced unconsciously and then consciously experienced as emotion or feeling. Every form of communication where facial expressions, respiration, tone of voice, and posture are perceptible can transmit affect, and that list includes nearly every form of mediated communication other than the one you are currently experiencing (Walker 13).” Artists like Alfredo Jarr and Richard Serra’s work rely on people’s bodily reactions and reactions on the senses. After this reading during our discussion it was asked if I knew of an artist that also played on the senses and I brought up my recent field trip at the time with my class to DIA Beacon. The piece in particular, was “Untitled (from Ten Vertical Constructions [rust red variation], 1977-79) by Fred Sandback. The work made my students uncomfortable. They made my students ask “can I step over it?” “can I walk through it?” and then I watched them (along with myself) cautiously step through the squares and over the thread like we were tip toeing around a sleeping bear. When walking around the thread you question if it is a glass panel, and you move your body cautiously around them. It was a very interesting experience for my students and I. This theory made me think of all other past artwork from my art history courses and visits to museums and how those artworks affect the body and the senses. This reading also gave me another way to challenge my students and their thinking.

Ingold, Tim. “Chapters 1 & 2 .” Making: Anthropology, archaeology, art and architecture. , Routledge, 2013, pp. 1–45.

This reading was one of my favorites during this course during fall semester. The title, “Knowing from the Inside” is appropriate for this introductory chapter because it introduces the concepts that Ingold was taught when starting out in his field. He was told to learn through the process of being. Through a process of self discovery, “from the inside.” Through this chapter we learn what he was introduced to and how one learns not from facts themselves but what they get us to learn, study and explore. He writes how the world itself teaches us and we learn from our experiences. He introduces terms in anthropology that follow that thought process. Throughout the reading I made connections between his processes in anthropology and the ways that artmaking can be practiced. Art making is a very active learning process. Artists also learn from within. We take in information from our environment, experiences, and people and then we create. We also learn by participating in the process. Learning new mediums by creating and learning about art and art history by experiencing and taking in all that is around us. “One makes through thinking and the other thinks through making (Ingold 6).”

Kaprow, Allan. “Just Doing.” The MIT Press, vol. 41, no. 3, 1997, pp. 101–106.

The purpose of this reading is to think more critically about the everyday and how it might become a source for artmaking. The reading considers the fact that the everyday often goes unnoticed, but through artmaking might gain our attention and raise questions about aspects of our daily lives that go unnoticed. Kaprow writes that anything can be used to create new art; paint, chairs, food, electric, dogs, pretty much anything an artist decides is art. There was a line that I really loved “Young artists today need to longer say, I am a painter or a poet or a dancer (Walker 6).” I really loved that, that you aren’t defined by your medium or process. Through the reading, Kaprow tends to go through trial and error with his expansion in his artmaking process including his materials. He expanded into happenings using people, places and new experiences as his art materials. The role of control also evolved through Kaprow’s work. As Kaprow evolved the Happenings, later simply referring to them as ‘activities’, he modified his approach with less rigorously scripted scores that permitted greater simplicity and open-endedness. I liked this reading because I felt it was very relatable for my high school students. High school is pretty much four straight years of trial and error for them so I feel this reading and the artwork inspired by it can be very reassuring and relatable to them.

Fall ’17 Blog Post #2

November 2, 2017

What did the students do?

So between the time that I wrote my Big Idea Lesson Plan and now when i’m writing this the lesson evolved. It also isn’t finished. When I brought it up with my department chair to incorporate it into the curriculum we needed to find a place for it so we put it under our Surrealism block. Students still chose their own social justice issue but then had to give is a surrealist flair. Another evolution was instead of marbling paper and then creating one in a warm color scheme and another in a cool color scheme, my students made a bunch of marbleized paper and then have began to collage them together to create the backgrounds of their silhouettes. We are still currently in the process of creating. Students will continue to create their backgrounds and silhouettes using their chosen social justice issue theme. Some of their social justice issues have been bullying, poverty, pollution, lack of education, and health care.  


How did you implement the plan?

After discussing with my department chair we agreed to fit it under our surrealism unit. I began creating my powerpoint on surrealism. Students got introduced to the unit and then introduced to Kara Walker as a contemporary artist. We spoke about silhouettes and social justice issues in art.  After sketching their ideas and sketching silhouettes, I brought up the idea of marbleizing our own paper and showed them some videos online of demonstrations. I then demo’d for the class the method that we would be using. Currently students are at different stages of the project. Some are sketching still, some are creating silhouettes and others are marbelizing paper and beginning to collage.


How do they compare?

Students are all doing well. Some needed more help than others with developing their silhouettes and theme based on a social justice issue.


What were some challenges?

Marbleizing the paper with the large class size! It takes a lot of prep and a a lot of clean up. With 9 periods of the day and only 3 minutes in between each one, it’s almost impossible to keep it all under control. I ended up leaving it out in the corner of the room and just making a barricade around it when not using it.


What were some successes?

Most of my students really took the time with their ideas and sketching them out. (Which is why we are so all over the board with progress) but they really are taking their time. For the first time trying this out, I am really pleased with the ideas that I am seeing.


How does your environment affect the teaching big ideas and questions?

I teach high school art in Westchester, NY in a affluent community. I feel my environment affected my student’s ability to think large and think of social justice issues outside of their own communities. To have them think larger than themselves, their friends and their school. I told them to think of issues they want to solve in the world, think of issues that make them feel uncomfortable. Think of issues they never want to experience. These are the issues that need awareness, which is what art can do.


How did this lesson plan fit in with your larger curriculum?

With my school, they have a set curriculum. You can update and change projects but there is a set curriculum of mediums and styles that need to be touched upon. To accomplish this, my department chairperson and I fit this lesson under surrealism. My student’s silhouettes based on a social issue also had to have surrealist elements.


How do you think this experience will affect your future practice?

Its definitely a learning curve. I will have to fit this better into my timetable for the marking period. So it doesn’t fall between the end of one marking period and the beginning of another (next wednesday). I also have to figure out the chalk/water bin situation. I need to make that more streamline. I will definetly attempt this again during the summer at the camp I work at see if it goes more smoothly.

Fall’17 Blog Post #1

Name: Melissa Akey

Lesson Title: Kara Walker Silhouettes (Social Justice Art)

Date: TBD

Rational: In this political and social climate, I wanted to introduce my students in my Studio I class (which is a survey class) to the history and ability art has in activism and awareness. I want my students to know they have a voice and their art can play a big role in that. Kara Walker and her work is such a powerful contemporary of example of this. I wanted my big idea to be that artmaking is the production of new thought about self and the world. Art can be used to promote social justice and give individuals a voice. I want my students to choose their own issue that they feel strongly about to create their artwork on. After getting to know my students in this course I feel they can handle the responsibility of the subject matter as well as the freedom of choice in their art. I wouldn’t recommend this project as a first project of the year but after working with them I believe they can do this. Along with the student choice and the topic of social justice issues I also wanted to incorporate a new art medium for them to learn as well. This process also builds on previous skills and concepts that they have learned.


Content Area to be taught: Art

Grade Level: 9-12

Class: Studio I

Number of Students: 24

Prerequisite Knowledge:

  1.  Students will need to know how to draw using line.
  2.  Students will need to know how to cut using scissors and exacto knife.
  3. Students will need to activate prior lesson knowledge on color schemes.

Characteristics of Students:

  •      Students come from different cultural and linguistic backgrounds, Spanish and English.
  •      There are a few students who are English Language Learners (ELLs).

Classroom Environment:

  •      The classroom is bright and well lit with artwork on all walls.
  •      Students sit in the classroom at tables that have 2 students per each table.
  •      There is a large open area in front of the smartboard for demonstration.

Goal: Students will create two pieces of art inspired by artist, Kara Walker. One piece using cool colors and one piece using warm colors. Both pieces of artwork will be based on a current social issue in our country today.

Big Idea: Artmaking is the production of new thought about self and the world.

  • Art can be used to promote social justice and give individuals a voice.



  1.   Students will gain some art history knowledge of artist, Kara Walker. (Art History)
  2.   Students will learn how to dye paper using chalk pastel. (Studio)
  3.   Students will learn how to make silhouettes using construction paper. (Studio)
  4.   Students will learn to evaluate their art to that of Walker’s artwork. (Art Criticism)
  5. Students will learn about the use of art in social justice movements. (Art History)

Length: This lesson plan will take about 1-2 weeks to complete.

New York State Learning Standards:

  1.   Standard 1: Creating, Performing and Participating in the Arts
  •      Students will actively engage in the processes that constitute creation and performance in the arts (dance, music, theatre, and visual arts) and participate in various roles in the arts.
  1.   Standard 2: Knowing and Using Arts Materials and Resources
  •      Students will be knowledgeable about and make use of the materials and resources available for participation in the arts in various roles.
  1.   Standard 3: Responding to and Analyzing Works of Art
  •      Students will respond critically to a variety of works in the arts, connecting the individual work to other works and to other aspects of human endeavor and thought.
  1.   Standard 4: Understanding the Cultural Dimensions and Contributions of the Arts
  •      Students will develop an understanding of the personal and cultural forces that shape artistic communication and how the arts in turn shape the diverse cultures of past and present society.


  1.   Students will view photos and videos of Walker’s work and listen to history of the artist and her work. Students will be viewing a slideshow on the significant of Kara Walker’s Work. We will also discuss the time period in which her work was being made as well as the meaning.*Also introduce the idea of art being used in current events and show examples* (Day 1)


  1.   On the table there will be a shallow basin of water with water filled up a third of the way. (Day 2)
  2.   Students use a Popsicle stick to scrape away at pieces of chalk pastel into the basin. They must shave colors into the basin until a layer of color forms on top, where almost no water is visible.
  3.   Then, they lay the paper flat on top of the water for about 5 seconds, and carefully remove it. The paper will definitely start to curl, so they should have somewhere that they can put it down on quickly like placemats where the color didn’t take properly, students shaved some extra chalk shavings onto it, which blends well since the paper was still wet.
  4.   Students will make two of these dyed papers. One with warm colors and the second with cool colors which is a concept they learned previously.
  5.   As the paper dries students will leave them to the side and draw their silhouette shapes with pencil on black construction paper. While paper is drying they should be working in their sketchbooks to create their social justice issue art ideas. (Studio Time)
  6.   After they draw their silhouette shapes they will cut them out and glue them to their dyed paper once it is fully dry using the glue sticks.  


  •      Pastel Chalk
  •      Popsicle Sticks
  •      Water Basins
  •      White Watercolor paper
  •      Black Construction Paper
  •      Scissors
  •    Exacto Knives
  •      Glue
  •      Pencils
  •      YouTube Videos of Kara Walker and her work

Interdisciplinary Connections:

History: Connecting to what was going on during the time period of Kara Walker’s life and work.

American History: Connecting to the history of the American south to gain appreciation for the artist’s work.

Current Events: Learning about current social justice issues and working through how they could spread awareness through their art.


Intended Student Learning Outcomes/Assessment:

  1.   Students will be able to answer questions about the artist, Kara Walker and her artwork.
  2.   Connection will be able to be seen between the artist’s work and the student’s work and their choice of social justice issue.
  3.   Students will be able to dye paper using pastel chalk.
  4.   Students will be able to make and define silhouettes using construction paper, scissors and exacto knives.  


  •      Kara Walker
  •      Contemporary Art
  •      Silhouettes
  •      Pastel Chalk
  •    Social justice  


Blog Post #3 Annotated Bibliography

1. Morris, C. B. & Carpenter, S. (2014). On being invisible and passing through walls: Toward a pedagogy of seeing and being seen. In (S. Goncalves & M.A. Carpenter, Eds.) Diversity, Intercultural Encounters, and Education. NY: Routledge.

This autobiographic and autoethnographic study is presented by two educators and scholars that tell their stories as “invisible others.” Their intended audience is fellow educators and scholars. While aware that autoethnography has been questioned as a research methodology because of its tendency to be narcissistic and self-indulgent (Holt, 2003), their research is supported by autobiographical theory, critical race theory, and critical pedagogy. the goal for their study is to describe and deconstruct their own specific, personal examples of invisibility, so that we as the reader might move toward a reconfiguration of how these subjectivities survey and are themselves surveyed (Berger & Luckmann, 1966) as both invisible and passing bodies. They encourage readers to go beyond the self of the authors and to engage with their own identities and power as they seek means by which to impact the curricula and methodologies available in various educational environments. When they were writing their stories that were shared they asked, why are we telling these stories? They agreed that stories not only convey information but they also have the power to instigate change. The telling and sharing of stories help overcome ethnocentrism and viewing the world in only one lens. The study serves the interests of those who identify as “invisible others” but then also those individuals who do not. The sharing of stories promote the thought process of all individuals to question their own cultural identities and how that affects their life, thoughts and actions. “Various aspects of personal and cultural identities are in transition and are dynamic. Recognizing our own individual sociocultural identities and biases makes it easier to understand the multifaceted cultural identities of others. It may also help us to understand why and how individuals respond as they do (Ballengee-Morris & Stuhr, 2000).” They state, “Educators who guide their students to make meaning out of this complex and ambiguous world of personal and external identity construction help them to make sense of their own places and spaces. Learning how to make connections and not see subjects or people in isolated, unrelated ways is a lifelong skill that is vitally important for students to learn.” And conclude with “a curriculum of personal and external identity construction, with the goal of social responsibility, helps students to view images in a thoughtful manner so they develop democratic ways of thinking and becoming informed consumers.” As an art educator I wish to accomplish this in my classroom. The world is a large and frightening place and if I can make my art room a safe place where we can talk about these issues and discuss how the students feel then they know they don’t have to struggle alone. They have a class full of others trying to learn and express themselves along with them. The art room is also where the discussion of the effects of damaging visual stereotypes can take place. If art educators can try this in each of their classes there is the potential to have a large population of the next generation to be socially aware and make a positive change.


2. Cliatt-Wayman, Linda. Linda Cliatt-Wayman: How to fix a broken school? Lead fearlessly, love hard | TED Talk | TED.com. N.p., May 2015. Web. 28 June 2017.

Educator and Administrator, Linda Cliatt-Wayman, gives a inspirational TED talk to an

audience at the TED Women 2015 event. She speaks about how her experiences at

the principal of Strawberry Mansion H.S. in North Philadelphia, PA. How in a year she

and team of educators got the “low preforming and persistently dangerous” to make

improvements in such a short amount of time.  Within a year the high school was taken

off the list of persistently dangerous after being on the list for five years. The ELA and

Algebra test scores had notable growth after 1 year. On her first day as principal she

had a student yell out “this is not a school!” and she knew she had to be a leader and

make change. She felt a connection to that outburst because she to, was a student of

this low preforming, persistently dangerous environment and with her mother’s love

knew she had to make a difference. Cliatt-Wayman has three slogans that she uses at

Strawberry Mansion. 1. “If you are going to lead, LEAD” She accomplished this by

starting small (ex: locker locks, no chains on the doors, cleaning classrooms) and then

moving to larger issues like budget, new schedule, and new discipline programs

2. “So what, now what?” using professional development, facing excuses head on, and

using a new lesson delivery model. 3. “If nobody told you I loved you today, remember I

do.” To reach all her students that come from a multitude of social, emotional, economic

problems. She talks about how she manages the lunch room everyday to get to know

her students personally. She sings them happy birthday and holds monthly town hall

meetings. This relates to my world of being an educator by incorporating Cliatt

Wayman’s slogans into my daily classroom life. Use her words as an inspiration and

share the same thoughts with my own students.


3. Rodriguez, Giovanni. “Why Arts Education Matters In The Age of Tech and Diversity.” Forbes. Forbes Magazine, 09 June 2015. Web. 28 June 2017.

Written by Forbes contributor, Giovanni Rodriguez, expands on his definition of

diversity to include a more comprehensive view: diversity in thinking. His background is

commenting on diversity in the tech world. He began researching a pitch from a Silicon

Valley org called the El Camino Project. The project is looking to implement a pre

college curricula with culturally relevant musical content for hispanics. This project is

very important and necessary because of three reasons according to Rodriguez. First,

as noted by a recent report commissioned by the White House Initiative on Educational

Excellence for Hispanics, students with an education that is “arts rich” tend to achieve

better outcomes in school and the job market, including tech. But with the poorest

schools cutting arts education, Hispanics are among those receiving the most “arts

poor” education because more than 33% of Hispanic students live below the poverty

line. Another reason is that the project is addressing challenges of bringing art

education into these schools. They are keeping the cost low buy being mostly digital

and they are using an app which based on research is most accessible to hispanic

communities. Lastly, the project is using their own hispanic culture in the education. The

mission of bringing back hispanic’s culture is continued by seeking to augment art

education to have a more profound effect. This article is relevant to my life as an art

educator because where I teach has a very high hispanic population and I am interested

in researching the El Camino Project more and incorporating its values and ideas into

my own art curriculum.


4. Elementary Teachers Share Arts-Integrated Lessons at the Getty Center

Elementary teachers present their unique ideas for how to connect Impressionism, a still-life painting, and poetry to their classroom curricula. This video was excerpted from the 2012 Culminating Event of the Getty Museum’s Art & Language Arts program. These teachers spent a year long training of professional development and share what they learned. I LOVED the game the teachers introduced from the still life. I will be including that in my curriculum this year and trying them with my class. I noticed that their ideas and training followed along with Bloom’s taxonomy and I was able to recognize the connection from the last few modules previously.


5. Chang, E. (2012). Art trek: Looking at art with young children. International Journal of Education through Art, 8(2), 151-167

Eunjung Chang, professor from Francis Marion University, writes about the process of looking at art with young children. Art Trek is the name of the program being spotlighted in this paper. The Art Trek is a leaning program for families with children between the ages of 5 and 12 at Metropolitan Museum ofArt (Met). It interactively exposes children to different artworks across cultures and styles in multiple artistic experiences, by questioning, listening, discussing, playing and drawing in a group setting. With access to museums at an early age, children can experience impressive images, explore cultures and develop skills ta interpret visual language. Early childhood educators often limit art experiences for young children to include only artmaking with little or no time devoted to looking at or talking about art (Shaffer and Danko-McGhee 2004). Art criticism allows children to question, acquire new vocabulary, increase perpetual awareness, and strengthen their descriptive power. Throughout Art Trek, children are introduced to artworks housed at the Met and are encouraged to engage in art-related experiences. Children are art explorers, and by doing this children learn to be listeners and have options and preferences. Also, the paper  states what we, as art educators, always knew, that children are artists.