Category Archives: art

Let them eat Cake!

At this time of year, when all things at school are winding down, it is important to still keep our students engaged. I think sometimes this is a challenge – but I love it!

We have this great unit of work for Year 8, that we always want to spend more time on, but run out of room in the year to fit it in in-depth. I have a bank of resources and ideas that I really want to use and get the kids involved in, but time is always my enemy.

But what this does mean, is that I can teach it at the end of the year, with no worries about deadlines for assessments. I can just teach it for the enjoyment of the content. Which is great, because the topic is

Food Glorious Food

Starting with the Amazing videos of Heston Blumenthal to demonstrate the design process

Please explain you say?

Idea -> Proposal -> Research -> Experimentation -> Evaluation -> Re-design ->Presentation to User/Audience

This unit of work focuses on food as subject matter historically and in popular culture.

Another great resource is this series called Eating Art

When I tell the kids about this topic, they get really excited. And this year, I had a boy bring in a cake for the class to use as their source image.

Let them eat Cake!

Let them eat Cake!

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We then do a series of drawings, much like a stop frame animation…. of the cake disappearing. One bite at a time. All students have to draw the whole slice of cake first, and I tell them that if one person takes a bite before they have drawn it, then no-one gets the cake. They all have to put their hands up and tell me when their drawing is finished for me to approve them to have a bite and move onto the next drawing.

It is AMAZING how quiet the class was! They were silently drawing and LOVING IT! Their drawings we really good and some of the more challenging kids who don’t usually love art, were even into it.

I don’t often bribe my kids… but this was a great way to get them involved and keep them engaged!


To Teach is to Learn

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I am at an interesting point in my career….

I love what I do… but I want to do more! I feel like  have a lot to offer other teachers and sometimes my brain feels like it is going to explode with all the ideas that I have that I want to try. I have been so lucky with the experiences and opportunities that I have had in my school. I guess I am one of those keen beans who gets asked to participate in lots of different things. This has then led to the development of my own ideas, new approaches to the classroom and changes in my teaching values.

Last week I was inspired by two things. These things have made me further think about what I am going to do in the future.

ONE

I have often wondered why I thrive off being given new challenges. Many mornings I walk past my Deputy Principals office and she stops me… “Jess….. I have this idea…….”. For the past 8 years I have been at Mosman High School, I have accomplished a lot of things and am always busy.

It began with a literacy project, then the completion of my NSWIT accreditation and involvement in an Element 5 professional development project for this, then I did my Masters of Cross Disciplinary Art and Design for 3 years, had a studio residency and an art exhibition, have been involved with different technology roll outs, gone to and presented at MANY conferences, worked towards and received the Ministers Quality Teaching Award, done my maintenance of accreditation, have been teaching Year 12 HSC Visual Arts, done HSC marking, have been teaching the GATS class and have gotten engaged and married.

This is just a brief summary of my accomplishments – but I won’t bore you with more!

After watching this TED talk by Kelly McGonigal, I realised that I have embraced the stress around me – and I LOVE it! It opens my mind and it inspires me to do new and better things.

TWO

In a staff meeting last week, two colleagues presented on their learning at the GATE Conference. At first I was frustrated and annoyed… and then I was sort of happy.

Why?

Well, they were focussing on differentiation and some strategies they had heard about at the conference. Then one teacher was saying how she had learnt about ideas that focussed on a student- centered classroom. And that she was slowly trying to change her approach to how she teaches, getting students to ask the questions instead of her. This annoyed me at first, because I have been saying this for at least 2-3 years when I present to staff!!!! But then I was happy, because FINALLY, maybe, a shift was happening! The teacher commented that it takes 2 years for reflecting and change to happen…. and she claimed she was only at the beginning of her journey!

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*sigh*

Thinking about these things made me think of this graph:

A graph of Everett Rogers Technology Adoption Lifecycle model

A graph of Everett Rogers Technology Adoption Lifecycle model

I wonder where to from here?

Change is slow, despite the forces that push for it to happen. And it is frustrating for me, out here, by myself, seeing how this change can be good. (I am not really by myself – there are many people like me, and I am not discounting the role they play in my life – this is just a figure of speech!)

I believe that as I teach, I learn. I am inspired to try new things and this has led to some exciting lessons in my classroom.

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I like to take risks and challenge my students think creatively and problem solve. I have embraced technology and the potentials that this offers. Now I want to see a shift into more blended learning with cross KLA projects and collaboration across schools and across the world. I have researched differentiation, Project Based Learning, collaboration, Games Based Learning, gifted and talented strategies, an array of assessment strategies and creative thinking.

So, for the future, I see myself as a leader who wants to make change happen. But this is not as easy as it may seem. What type of leader should I be?? Where can I be most effective? Would I miss the classroom? Would I miss my school? Does the role that I think I want even exist? Would I be a good leader??? These are crashing through my brain right now. I think I can only do so much within my classroom context and see potential for more.

I think I am lucky to have a great PLN around me and great friends to keep me stimulated… but I will still keep looking for an answer to my conundrum…

To teach is to learn. 


Connectedness

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connect |kəˈnekt| verb [ with obj. ] bring together 
or into contact so that a real or notional link is established

I like to be connected.

I confess that I am a social network addict and love to share aspects of my everyday life. My partner has rolled his eyes at me plenty of times, and asked if just this once, our meal could remain private. HAHA! (Sometimes I appease him, but I really do enjoy taking pics of my food – sorry!)

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It is increasingly easier to share your everyday comings and goings with the virtual world and it is rare to feel alone. Using Instagram, I feel a sense of community with many like minded people, also sharing photos of their daily lives. Twitter is where I share my teaching ideas and Facebook is a more personal space for me and my close friends.

In my own little world, I have noticed how this sense of connectedness makes me so happy. And how it has helped me to become a better teacher and a better friend. I have my own little ‘communities’ or ‘networks’ that provide me with constant laughs, challenges and ideas.

Besides my partner (who is amazing), my colleagues and my uni friends, there are 2 groups of people that I talk to everyday… and without those conversations, I think I would feel stifled.

CONNECTION #1

The Work Ladies

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Jude, Lorna and I at Lorna’s Wedding in Wales, July 2012.

After training on Mondays and Wednesdays, we have breakfast together. This gives us the chance to debrief and gather our thoughts. As friends and work colleagues, we can talk about anything: from assessment tasks to weekend adventures. Having such a great support network at school is seriously undervalued. I know not all teachers are lucky enough to have friends in their workplace, but I can tell you, without these ladies – some days at school would be more difficult.

CONNECTION #2

The Edmodo Ladies

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Me, Bianca and Monique

We met in the most random way. While we had already been connected on Twitter, we had never met in real life. Until Edmodo brought us together. All three of us were selected to present at EdmodoCon 2011 – an online Virtual Conference. In preparation for the conference, we thought it would be a good idea to meet up and discuss what we were going to present. The random thing was, we all lived a suburb away from eachother and were able to meet. (Edmodo had no idea about this – they just thought we were all from somewhere in Australia!!!!) This random meeting developed into great professional relationships… and awesome friendships. I think the highlight of this connection has been the EPIC group SMS that we have been sharing over the last month or so. These ladies are great to bounce teaching ideas off, have a laugh and reflect upon our day in the classroom.

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So….

With all these connections in my everyday world, I started to think about how important it was to replicate this dynamic into my classroom.

It is written clear as day in the Quality Teaching Framework document:

 ELEMENT

What does it look like in classrooms?

What does it look like in assessment tasks?

Connectedness

Lesson activities rely on the application of school knowledge in real-life contexts or problems, and provide opportunities for students to share their work with audiences beyond the classroom and school. Tasks apply school knowledge in real-life contexts or problems, and provide opportunities for students to share their work with audiences beyond the classroom and school.

While a traditional classroom exists in the one space… in-between the four walls that are prescribed to us by a school

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In the amazing 21st Century classroom, there are no boundaries as it can exist in an online space

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Modelling the way I connect using Social Networks, I have tried to develop this sense of collaboration in my classroom. Building up the students understanding of how to communicate and share with their peers as a community.

But I wanted to take this a step further. 

This year I was allocated 3 Year 8 classes.

*sigh*

I thought I was going to go mad if I taught the same thing three times in a week. I had to change the programme, not too much, but just enough, so that while it was more exciting for me, it would still cover the outcomes that the other teachers were covering.

I reflected upon the way I connected… and how it had opened up my eyes and has helped me everyday to understand my teaching practice more. Why not bring this into the classroom???

I reached out to my Professional Learning Network and asked if any teachers here or overseas would want to connect with my Year 8 classes who were studying the topic of ‘The Suburbs’.

Bingo! There was a teacher from Alabama who said yes… and from there my idea developed. Inspired by the blog/photography project 52 Suburbs, I wanted the students to not only look at their suburbs and their small worlds, but compare this to other students experiences.

What am I going to teach then?

I decided that I wanted my students to study the artists we would normally study, but instead of writing about them, they could make little videos that we could share with the class overseas. This will be particularly interesting, because the two key Practitioners are Reg Mombassa and Lin Onus. Mombassa is an Artist who uses many Australian icons in a humorous way. Onus uses his art to reflect upon his identity as an Anglo Saxon and Aboriginal living in a white community.

I also wanted them to make art to share with this new audience. While they are sharing images of their different communities using Edmodo, I thought about how cool it would be to be PenPals with these overseas students. Going back to old school letter writing to compare their lives on the other side of the globe. So, the students are going to design their own postcards and send them to this new connection overseas.

Exciting times ahead!!!

Check out the outline for the unit of work. I have used Bianca‘s PBL model to nut out the ideas that the students are going to explore.

How do you get your students to connect in the classroom?


What kind of WILD THING are you?

Can you believe we go back to school this week?? After 5 weeks of Holidays, I am so relaxed but am also looking forward to getting back into it!

This is also an exciting time for the new Year 7 kids… coming from Primary school into High School! They must be excited and scared all at the same time!

Back to school

As part of transition at our school, for the first time, we have developed a cross-faculty unit that will allow the Stage 3 students to come to high school and settle in with more ease.

The theme is based upon the text, “Where the Wild Things Are”, and the Project Based Learning Direct Question is:

What Kind of Wild Thing are you?

One representative from each faculty all sat down and brainstormed ideas for how this could be adapted to each of the syllabus outcomes in each subject area. Some teachers were reluctant and not sure how to approach this, but together we slowly made it all come together.

During Orientation Week the students will have mini lessons on how to cope with high school. These include internet logins, study skills and bullying classes. This week will also see the students go to the zoo and get in touch with their wild side. They will also watch the film, read the book and have a CSIRO science exploration day.

In my excitement, I developed this booklet for the Visual Arts Faculty….

What kind of Wild thing are you? Why don’t you build your WILD SELF….


Taking risks

Today I decided to challenge myself coming into the new year and release my creative potential……

I have created a new blog to document my leap into art making and hope that you enjoy my flailings…


Xmas Gift ideas…..

Yes, you may think it is too early to think about Xmas, but if you want unique handmade items, the time to order is NOW!

 

In incube8r at the moment,  I have just stocked some awesome umbrellas!! Created from the Alphabetism collection of fabric designs, at $45 they would make great Xmas presses.

 

 

There is also U for Umbrella and J for Jewel designs to choose from….

Can’t see one here that you like???

Please tweet, email or comment on this post to have one custom ordered just for you!!!

And don’t forget there are cushions too…..

 

 

 

 


Rain Rain Go Away…

Have made a few new things to go into in.cube.8r and thought I should give everyone a preview first…

For those spring time rainy days, how about a U for Umbrella umbrella?

At $45 you can’t really go wrong!

 

And some new rings that combine perspex and my fabric!

Want one??

Just contact me and let me know!

Only $30, great idea for Christmas pressies!!


Vote for me? Or them?

So, I am doing a unit of work on T-Shirt design with my Year 9/10 Visual Design class. I wanted them to complete a real design brief. So, I found the THREADLESS t-shirt design compititions and set them the task to enter one.

One student got into the t-shirt comp to design an image that promotes 826 National, a literacy school that helps students one on one.

His design is great –

However, this comp ended and some students hadn’t entered, so they then worked towards a two colour design for a TOTE BAG. With the entries having to be in by the 19th September….

To help the students with file sizes, I whipped up an example and entered it to see what would upload….

Now my design has gotten in and I know 2 of my students works that didn’t get in…. OOPSY!!

It wasn’t meant to be about me… it was their chance to enter….!!!!

So, here is my design…. I guess you can vote for me it if want? Or vote for my students???!!!

Skully Tote Bag design

 

Skully - Threadless T-shirts, Nude No More


I heart shopping

I have just spent some time updating my online store…!!

Coming into Spring, I thought it was time to reduce prices and add some stock!

Cushions and Bangles are now available online! Just choose your fabric and items will be made to order!

Or, if you are in the Mosman area, my stock is also available at in.cube.8r!

A swatch book of all my fabrics is on show at the in.cube.8r store, or check out COPYANDPAINT to see all fabrics in the  Alphabetism Collection


Linen and Lace

 

I decided to enter the The Tessuti Awards….

The theme this year is….

Linen & Lace

This year’s brief is simple, fresh and pretty and follows one of the trend forecasts for next Spring/Summer. Design a dress in any length using a combination of Linen and Lace in Neutrals, Whites or a combination of both tones together – see the TessutiAwards collection in our online store.

 

Inspired by the design brief, “Linen and Lace – everything old is new again”, I looked to Vivienne Westwood and her appropriations of 18th Century Men’s clothing. I wanted to add an edge to soft silhouettes of the lace but putting a contrasting black line that references the punk juxtapositions in Westwoods garments. The buttons, collected from the Tessuti collection are an embellishment that adds a touch of difference,femininity and edge. I have also used glow in the dark thread to make a fun and playful effect when wearing this garment at night.

“Westwood recalled: ‘I didn’t know what to do … Malcolm said “look at history”‘” as retrieved from http://nga.gov.au/westwood/Wilessay.cfm

The bodice of my design refers to 18th Century Men’s clothing, making what was old, new again. The fresh look of the linen and lace adds a contemporary feel to the retro style dress that is a fresh and bold look.

No matter what happens – I have loved making this dress and am really proud of my sewing efforts. This is only the 6th dress I have ever sewn and think that my craftsmanship has improved by completing this design brief.

 

 

Please vote for my design in the PEOPLE’s CHOICE AWARD!

There are only a few days left to vote…. so do it NOW! Thanks!