Arts Projects For Anyone to create for your entire Wellbeing. !

Arts Projects For Anyone to create for your entire Wellbeing. !
Inspiring art creation for the home, at school, and community. (Above image from the school meadow in bloom)

Saturday, May 22, 2021

2020-2021 Virtual/Hybrid School Year for Art Class

 Wow, 2020 flew by! Spring is finally here! Is it just me or does spring break vanish as quickly as it started? My school went virtual in April 2020, I was so busy and overwhelmed with all of the new information, I haven't have time to post on my blog due to all of the virtual information I was receiving every day. 

 Reflecting back to the 2019-2020 school year, I thought for the most part, it ended as well as it could have. I learned a lot. Since then, I have taken time over the summer to reflect, relax, and take a break from technology. Now I feel recharged and ready for our new virtual school year and more recently, hybrid 2021. My schedule has been good. I see all classes once per week for 45 minutes. My school uses google meet. I have explored and utilized the new programs and extensions for google classroom and look for new ways every day to engage all of my young artists. As our vigorous professional development is on-going, I've gathered some great tips and tricks to kick off your new virtual teaching/ hybrid school year 2021. 

  • Google classroom best extensions- Screencastify, Bitmoji, googlemeet grid view.
  • Bitmoji classroom-  Excellent for engagement and for students to see you inside a classroom space in your slides. 
  • SLSO, what is it?- Smart Learning Suite Online utilizes gaming and activity based learning and interaction. You can customize your own lessons, but it takes a while to make the slides. You use this with the google dashboard or the "waffle". Training is everywhere now.
  • Setting up your google classroom- Don't be afraid to customize your classes and organize your folders in your classes. You can make your assignments under a heading such as "first semester art projects."  
  • Organize your google drive- Did you know you can make folders and drop everything from lessons, to photos, and videos in your drive? Tired of the disorganization? You got this! It will help you and make you feel better. 
  • Ready your lessons- There are so many excellent lessons out there to get you started and you can customize as needed. Record yourself doing demos, so you don't have to keep doing the same demo 100 times or find good videos that assist with this by other art teachers. I've been creating my lessons on a google doc with clickable links, videos, and examples.  I noticed that students don't want to see long presentations, so keep the direct instruction to a minimum. I started my year the same as I always do: refresh or learn the elements and principles of art. I build on those lessons until I get to January. Then I open up the lessons using more elements and principles together with themes- Mandalas, Dragons, Flowers, Sea, Rain, Artists, etc. I have also included lots of process, expressionistic, and social emotional learning (SEL) into my art lessons this year. I have been adapting my lessons to grades in spans of K-2, 3-5th, and 6-8th with a few differences in between. I keep the themes the same. I've also had a chance to do virtual field trips, which the students really enjoy. One in-particular was the cave of Lascaux. The students loved this and we made our own caves too. Here is the lesson link: If you would like to modify- file< make a copy. 
  • Hybrid classroom tips- Teaching both in person students and virtual students can be overwhelming at times. Keep in mind, that you need to clarify your rules and expectations for this newly formed model of teaching. We are all learning this year, so don't be too hard on yourself if you feel a little overwhelmed when something doesn't go exactly the way you planned. A few ideas to keep in mind- have clear goals for the students in-person with materials. You can provide the materials they need and can therefore direct the goals of the lesson surrounding those material choices. For students online, keep their options open. Provide many examples, modifications, and accommodations for them to reach the same goal. Modification and accommodation review- modification could be simplifying the content of the lesson and accommodation could include helpful tools to complete the goals of the lesson. As the art teacher you could also scaffold or tier your lessons to meet all of your student's unique needs. I personally, encourage student's choose the final outcome of their art projects as long as they stick to the goals of the lesson. 
  • Safety- Masks up and socially distance. Any easy way to remind students in-person is to have them count the squares on the floor. Ours happen to be 1ft squares. Give gentle reminders and silent signals to students regarding classroom safety. They are stressed enough and you don't want them feeling upset for art class. Also, make sure you are the one passing and prepping your items. Don't let student's help themselves, or you could unintentionally contaminate your materials. Remember to quarantine and wipe down used supplies or wash them. 
  • Art à la carte- Whether you are in your own art space or stepping into the classroom teacher's room, there are many ways to safely handle materials for art. Preparation ahead of time is key. This means you also have to have your lesson plans ready a week prior so you have enough time to prepare those materials for the grades you need them for. 
    • Prepare general art kits for students in person (if possible). I used recycled plastic bags for this. Student's know to have their art kit ready for art class with the help of the classroom teacher. Clean up is easy when everything goes back in the bag.
    • I also created art kits for hybrid students that don't attend school on days I see their class, so they have the same general materials as the students in person. 
    • I drop off and leave materials in the classrooms that I don't want to carry on my cart- like water cups. Or a bucket of water for classrooms with no working sink.
    • I use gloves and hand sanitizer to pass out materials in the classroom. You could also sanitize/ wash your hands in-between, but this method works for me.
    • Bring extra on your cart because you won't be able to leave and get more. 
    • Bring wipes and hand sanitizer on your cart incase you can't find the classroom teacher's supply.
    • I prepared paper-paint pallets with tempera paint. (about 100) for a painting lesson. You hydrate the colors like watercolor but it is brighter, and easier to mix!
  • Materials- Don't stress if you couldn't get art kits together in time for the school year. Remember, utilize what you and the students have. Make the lessons very accommodating and modify as needed. No color? focus those students on utilizing value and line width. No paint? Try water-based markers and water. Recycled materials are great, and remind parents to get the paper bags for free paper at the store. Additionally, DonorsChoose has been super gracious to all who submit small projects $500 or less. Create a few projects. Go for it. It's easy.    
  • Setting up your teaching space- Whether you are working from home or in a hybrid setting, you must get a second screen! It makes life so much easier. Most people have them from out-dated computers, so ask around. Then you just need the right dongle and VGA or HDMI cord to hook up. 
  • Technology safety- My school has very specific requirements for online sites and applications for student usage. If students have to put in data, then it is a NO go. Always remind students about internet safety and search engine strategies. 
  • Additional Online Applications- My goto for art class! All the google apps especially google draw & presentation slides for digital art making. Jamboard is great for collaboration and sharing ideas. is an open drawing app that is easy to use, teach, and you can download or link your google drive to it. Sketchbook, IBIS paint, and Procreate (not free) are another drawing apps my students use. Mentimeter and Kahoot are both great customizable assessment options and fun. My school uses classdojo for parent-teacher communication. The Philadelphia Art Teachers Alliance (PATA) swears by Artsonia, a digital portfolio space for students and families. They are on FB if you would like to join their group. They also have monthly meetings and lesson/material sharing link- 
  • Self care and mindful practices- With so much screen time, it is super important to have breaks for your eyes and body. Get walks and sun. Make daily and weekly goals for yourself that you will look forward to doing. Don't be afraid to ask for help or seek assistance. You are not alone. 

1 comment:

  1. Very insightful. Keep up the good work! Thank you for all you do!