Tuesday, June 25, 2013

exciting mail today!

I was just thinking earlier today that I needed to post something today. But I didn't have anything to post. Then I went home for lunch and found this waiting for me in the mail:

I'm so excited! I also got all my paperwork from the human resources department to fill out and return to the school. That's probably not exciting to most people but it was to me. :)


Thursday, June 20, 2013

some interesting data.

In my Internet Research class (which I still don't like), I'm writing a research paper. I chose to write about variables that impact student scores on the National Assessment of Educational Progress test for Visual Arts. I found some pretty interesting things. (All of the below graphs were designed by me using data from NAEP Data Explorer.net. (2008). National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) Home Page, a part of the U.S. Department of Education. Retrieved June 20, 2013, from http://nces.ed.gov/nationsreportcard/naepdata )

PS all of these graphs are much more legible if you click on them for the full view.
Two things that we often assume will help our students learn better, allowing them the freedom to choose their own projects and having them write about their art, are actually detrimental to their scores when we make them do it too frequently. Moderation is the key here. Give them freedom sometimes and structure sometimes. Have them write some but not always. 

This next graph shows sort of the same thing with exhibiting artwork. 
Students who have to exhibit once or twice a month didn't do as well on the test. Maybe they didn't have time to learn because they were always having to stress about making their art "good enough" to exhibit. Students who just did it once or twice a year did much better. Both groups scored above the average score (150) but I would rather my students be in the 1-2 times a year group, wouldn't you?

This last graph is about what kind of room you teach in. This may not be up to you, but maybe you can talk to your principal about this data and see if you can make some changes. Students who are taught art in their normal classroom or just a regular art room with no equipment score below average on this test. 

Interesting stuff, don't you think?

Again, all of the graphs are made by me with data from the National Assessment of Education Progress Visual Arts test. This data (and SO much more) can be found at http://nces.ed.gov/nationsreportcard/naepdata/

Thanks for reading,

Monday, June 17, 2013

supply lists.

So, as this is my first year teaching, I was absolutely terrified about coming up with my supply list to give to my principal. What if I spent too much? What if I didn't spend enough? What if I run out of paint halfway through the second semester?

One thing that helped me out immensely was the previous teacher's list. She had a list of what she'd ordered the last year and how much of everything. That gave me at least a guideline to go by for things like glue and construction paper and scissors. But I'm planning on doing several projects that she didn't do. The classroom has a kiln (which I am beyond excited about) and she never used it. I want to use it but I have no idea how much clay or glaze to order. I had to make an educated guess.

Additionally, since I'm doing different projects and need supplied that Mrs. T didn't, I had to cut some of the things that were on her list. I had a lot of trouble with that.

My final total came to about $3800. Mrs. T told me she usually spent about $3600. Yikes. I sent it to my principal this morning with the assurance that I would cut some things if I needed to. It was still scary. I hate to be needy, especially my very first year. So we'll see how it goes. Hopefully I'll hear back from her soon.

TwitterPinterest, comment. :)


Thursday, June 13, 2013

a bit of this and a bit of that

I really don't have anything to write about. I just think I should probably get in the habit of writing so that maybe it will stick. So here's what's going on. I'm taking three classes this summer; two right now and one in July. Right now I'm taking Teaching Content Literacy and Internet Research in Education. IRE is kicking my butt. I'm kicking TCL's butt. IRE isn't really hard, it's just confusing. It's difficult to tell what the professor wants you to do. I wrote a nine page research paper today that I'm not sure is right at all. </whine> I'm really enjoying TCL though. English is my second favorite subject, behind art. It's second nature for me to include reading and writing in my teaching practice. Dr. J is being really cool too. The class is actually for 6-12th grades but she's letting me turn in K-4 lesson plans since that's what I'll be teaching next year. I'm really glad to have had her as a professor. She's really down to earth and practical which I appreciate.

While I'm on the subject of my classes, I'll tell you about some of the other ones I've taken. Last semester I had curriculum design which should have been fun but was torture, due to the professor. It was a bummer. I also had Foundation of Special Education which was fantastic, also due to the professor. In fact, he was the one who suggested I check out the school district where I got hired. He was really a great professor and just an overall great guy. The class was a lot of fun and I learned SO much. And finally, I had Educational Assessment. I know a lot of people in my class thought it was boring and didn't care for the professor, but I liked the class and the professor a lot. It was a little drier than SPED but I happen to love rubrics so I really enjoyed the class.

The semester before that, I had Teaching Diverse Adolescents which was okay. It taught me a lot of the learning theories I needed to know (speaking of which, I should probably start studying for my PLT Praxis soon...). I also had Curriculum and Instruction in Art Education which was a joke. Dr. M didn't care about that class at all. She's already accepted a position somewhere else and mentally checked out the first month. Luckily there were a lot of people at different stages in that class, some of us just starting out, some in their first year of teaching, some who had been teaching for 10 years or more. We formed a little community and learned from each other which was nice. I also had Instructional Skills and Classroom Management with Dr. J. She was as great then as she has been this summer. She's a great teacher.

With that class, I also had to do 30 hours of observation in a classroom and teach two lessons while being observed by someone from UALR. It was pretty intense to be thrown out there like that my first semester, but it was good for me. I met Lauren then; she was my cooperating teacher. She taught me a lot. I observed her every Tuesday and Thursday morning for a couple of months. She let me sit and watch and get comfortable first and then really let me start helping out when I was ready. She let me teach way more than the two lessons I had to teach. She helped me get prepared to teach my observed lessons. I learned a lot of things from her. I'm very glad I got placed in a middle school and not a high school. It really opened me up to the possibility of teaching younger kids.

Okay, this has been extremely boring for anyone who has made it this far and I apologize. Here's a picture of a teapot I made in my undergrad to thank you for reading. :P
Again, connect with me. Comment on this post. Tweet me on twitter. Follow me on Pinterest. Whatever. I'm interested to hear your experiences with classes you didn't like or did like. Or how you handled your first year of teaching. Or a picture of a teapot you made in undergrad. Whatever. :)


PS I'm thinking my next post will either be about my personal artwork or my process of creating a supply list for my first year. If you're reading this and would prefer one or the other, comment and let me know. 

Monday, June 10, 2013


Well here we go. This is probably the third or fourth blog I've started over the years and I never stick with them for more than a month or so. I'm hoping this one will be different. I'm not planning on telling anyone about this blog for now. If people find it, they find it. If they don't, they don't. It doesn't really matter to me right now. I'm making this blog for me as a form of journaling I guess. My life is about to get really crazy here in a few months and maybe I just want a small piece of sanity to cling to. I suppose I should introduce myself on the off chance that someone reads this blog.

I'm Kelsey. I'm about to be an art teacher. I've always been a teacher and I've always been an artist but I've never been an art teacher. This will be a really new experience for me. I hope I'm prepared. I'm finishing up grad school right now, getting my masters in secondary education. I have my BFA in graphic design. I took an accidental and non-traditional route to get to the point of being an art teacher. I spent a few years trying to figure out where my passions really were and how to combine them. I'm beyond ecstatic to start teaching, especially at the elementary level. I thought I wanted to teach high school at first. High schoolers have attitudes but they are also really talented. Then I was placed in a middle school classroom for observations and I fell in love with middle schoolers. They were more talented than I'd ever imagined but not quite as sassy yet. I applied for a job at a middle school. I left the interview feeling odd. It should have been a dream job. It was four minutes from my house and it was the age group I loved. But I wasn't really excited. I didn't get the job. I wasn't very upset. A few weeks later, I got a call to interview at an elementary school 45 minutes away from my house. I decided to go. Every interview is more experience.

After I got the interview set up, I called my mom. I told her I was glad to get an interview but that elementary schools are my least favorite.  I don't like the setup of only seeing kids once a week and having 25 different classes a week. Once I got off the phone, I sat and thought about the job for a little while. And then suddenly, I remembered that elementary kids are my favorite kids in the whole wide world. I've been working with elementary-aged kids at my church since I was in middle school. I've spent the past five summers working at the same daycare (and it was a real struggle not to go back this year, I'll be honest). Elementary kids are the best. Yes, the structure isn't ideal, but I stopped focusing on that once I realized how much time I would be able to spend with my favorite kids.

Here's me with some African kids so you don't get bored from all this text.

So I went to the interview excited about the possibility of teaching there. I knew it was a long shot. I don't actually have my masters yet or even a teaching license. I could get a provisional license if I got a job but a lot of schools are hesitant. I've never even done student teaching, for crying out loud. But it didn't matter. I connected with my interviewers and fell in love with the school. I left the interview feeling more excited and confident than ever. I got a call from the principal that very night. She said I was the top choice of the interview committee and that she would love to meet with me. Long story short (just kidding, this has been really long), I'm now the K-4 art teacher at a visual and performing arts magnet elementary school. Well I will be on August 12th, when my contract starts.

I guess I just want to keep this blog as a way of talking myself through the dreaded first year of teaching. Maybe some other teacher will find it in a few years and know that there is hope. From what I understand, if you can make it through your first year of teaching, you can make it through anything. I'll  let you know if that's true here in a few years.

Anyway, if you're reading this, be prepared for some posts this summer about lesson plans and supply lists. Once school starts, I don't know what I'll post. Maybe some completed lessons. Maybe just whiney posts about how hard teaching is. Hopefully some classroom management tips. If you're an experienced teacher with some tips, a first year teacher like me, or you're still a student, shoot me an email. Comment on this post. Tweet me on twitter. Follow me on Pinterest. Just connect. Let me connect back. Let's do this together and learn from each other.