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.

Blog Post #2 Classroom Environment

Summer Camp Art

During the summer I work at a day camp for children ages 2-16 from New York City, Westchester, Rockland and New Jersey. I teach art for the “upper” camp which consists of ages 8 through 16. My classroom environment during the summer is so different from the school year. It is a change of pace, ages, materials, classroom management and expectations.

The environment for my summer art cabin is fast paced, filled with high expectations and and organized chaos. The camp requires each child to go home with a finished art project every Friday. My students come to art twice a week for about 25 minutes each class. The project expectations set by the camp are disproportionately set for the amount of time and materials I have for my students. Because of this my classroom management during the summer has to be airtight. Early in the summer students get reminded of classroom layout, materials, expectations, behavior and overview. Each lesson is planned and students always know that projects go home on fridays. We have some of the quickest “10 second tidies” because we work until the last minute to get the most out of the time.

My students come from all different areas of New York City, Westchester County, Rockland County, and New Jersey. My students are ages 8-16. They come in classes of 26. They are divided into “Inter girls 1 (ages 8/9)” “Inter girls 2&3 (ages 10/11)” “Senior girls 1(age 12)” Senior girls 2 (age 13)” and “teens ages 14-16)”. The students call me “Melissa” rather than “Ms. Akey” in this setting and they know I am an art teacher during the school year as well. Most of my students are female. The teens are my only class with both boys and girls.

Some of my positives to the summer art classes are that all the students sign up to come to art classes so they all want to be there. Because of this they are willing to work hard and prepare to have their projects ready for Friday. For me, the entire art program layout needs to be reevaluated. It kills me that my students are pressured to produce a project by such a short time frame. My philosophy is that the process of artmaking is more important than the product. The owners of the camp believe that the product is the most important and thats the only measure of what is happening in the art room. You (all of you reading this blog) and I both know that is ridiculous. I wish my students had the ability to continuously work on projects and techniques that they enjoy and get to enjoy their summer. I wish it was more relaxed and they spent the summer working on skills they want to improve or explore. My students are so good though. They are curious, hardworking and so so creative. Once I give them the main idea of the project I let them make as many of their own artistic decisions as possible and they are always so well done and thought out.

The daily routine of camp follows an 8 period daily schedule. The camp day takes place from 9:30-3:30pm. Students have 7 different periods of art, music, swimming, sports, drama, nature and outdoor adventure and a lunch period. I typically teach 4 studio classes, 2 knitting classes and a period of set design for the camp musical a day along with a lunch period.

The difference in my summer and school year environments are always a challenge and makes me appreciate the pros to each environment and the challenges I face with the cons are always brushing up my skills and ability to think on my feet.


Blog Post #1 Teacher Identity

I knew I wanted to become an art educator before I had any knowledge of theorists, issues, and theories in art education. I knew I wanted to be an art educator when I was a high school student falling in love with color, line and my sketchbook. My education grew as well as my love of mediums, art history and the work of Mark Rothko, Sam Francis and Gustav Klimt. I grew to appreciate the work of artists and cultures and to recognize their impact on the contemporary. The work of Mark Rothko and Sam Francis will always hold a special part of my art education because their work taught me how a piece of work can cause a reaction in the viewer and that can be a positive or negative. That great work makes you think, appreciate, and question. In an art history class I was introduced to Rothko’s Blue and Grey, painting created in 1962 and it made me so furious to accept yet it was so peaceful to view. That is when I learned how powerful art can be. I wanted to be an art teacher to facilitate the same exploration and admiration into the arts for my students.

My philosophy of art education is constantly in flux but the basic principals remain the same. My art room is a place of self-expression and learning. In my art room patience is abundant and art making is plentiful. My students will learn to value themselves along with the artwork they create. My students will also explore the history of art and its impact on the contemporary. The artists that develop in my class will leave with an appreciation of the arts and the skills to incorporate them in their everyday lives. I believe in the sketchbook. I believe the sketchbook is an integral part of my student’s life as an artist. It is in their sketchbook that my students can explore the elements and principles of art along with mediums and artists. It is a safe place to escape when life or other subjects are feeling overwhelming. They can open the blank pages and get lost in their exploration of the arts. The sketchbook is continuously used in lessons and in assessment during the class and my students have a place to look back and see all the progress they have made throughout their journey.

Art Education is a difficult subject to define. In a literal sense art education refers to the learning, instruction and programming based upon the visual and tangible arts. Art education includes performing arts like dance, music, theater, and visual arts like drawing, painting, sculpture, and design works. Its definition is constantly changing along with the world we live in. Different media and processes in which art can be made in the classroom can broaden the curriculum taught by art educators. My definition of art education encompasses so much more. Art education is where fine motor skills are developed and creativity and problem solving strategies are practiced. Art encourages observational skills, communication and cause and effect.

Issues in art education are always evolving along with the definition of art itself. One issue in art education that is both personally and professionally significant is the lack of funding for the arts. My career is in jeopardy more often than other subjects in the educational field. The student’s art programs are in jeopardy more often than their other subjects they have in school. There are very important skills and lessons taught in the arts that aren’t prioritized during large budget decisions. Art education is so important because it is here in the art room that students can tackle issues facing themselves and the world today in another creative outlet. If a student can’t find the words to express him/herself in art maybe they can by a variety of mediums and processes. It is in my art room that together, my students and I, we can discuss and explore difficult content, issues facing society , and even issues within visual culture. Art education gives students a chance to express themselves differently than they can in their other classroom settings. A personal issue in art education that I would also say is a challenge for myself is the requirement of using formal assessment in the art room. Introducing the use of exit tickets and having students tested on their knowledge through more formal approaches rather than in-class critiques and rubrics have been a learning process. One of my strengths in art education would be lesson planning. During undergrad I had an extensive and in depth education in lesson planning. Then I got into the classroom and learned quite quickly that its great to have it on paper but you cannot account for everything and in art, such as life, it gets messy. I learned to think on my feet and to allow for variation and modification without reconstructing the entire lesson.

In art, one’s education is never complete and I look forward to gaining more knowledge on how to incorporate more art education theories realistically in my classroom. I also want to learn more about formal assessment in the art room and how it can drive my future lessons using feedback from my students. I hope to achieve these learning objectives by research, and learning more from my instructors as well as my fellow students. That is what I am looking forward to the most. Being a part of a community of art educators that can bounce ideas off each other as well as give advice from past experiences and knowledge. As a young teacher that is so valuable and I plan on taking in all this course and fellow art educators have to offer.




About Me

Melissa Ann Akey 

Art: Watercolor & Pen and Ink

Hometown: Bronx, New York

Students: Pleasantville High School, Pleasantville, New York

Undergrad: BFA Studio Art & Art Education K-12, Manhattanville College