!My students love International Dot Day. However this year I got our teachers involved as well. I gave every adult a small square sheet of paper with the following instructions “I need your help, can you please make a dot for international dot day. These will be displayed alongside our students dots.” I gave this same assignment to my students they asked zero questions and started using paint, markers, scissors, glue, all kinds of stuff. Some of my students dots were spiky some were ovals, some were ever squares. However the teachers when asked to do this task had a hayday! They asked a lot of questions. “Well what kind of dot do you want? Does it have to be round? What colors does it have to be? Can I use paint or does it have to be markers?” It was so much fun for me to see both sides of this assignment. In the end all our educators, and students had a dot to display. We all became artists and great ones at that the week of International Dot Day!
Have you ever had that day where you go home, and you think “what just happened.” You think you have a handle on a class, but come to find out they played you like a fiddle. It's ok we have all had those days. Even when you have a great classroom management system set up in place you just sometimes have those, ‘Oh My Goodness, That did not just happen.” Kind of days. Well, to make those days a little bit easier I have my own classroom management system. I love it because I do not have to do much. My students are in charge of it. Let me explain.
I have five tasks (rules really but my kids want to break rules, so we don’t have “rules” in my classroom) that they have to do each class. Those tasks are...
I have all five of these tasks posted on the front of my room with smileys beside them. The moment one of those tasks are broken I replace it with a red sad face. If the class gets two red-faced we go to silent art for five minutes, and then if they lose three, I take their artwork away and I have a refocus form that they fill out. So they are writing about their choices, and how they are losing wonderful fun art time. But if the class keeps all the smileys I put a paintbrush in their pocket. The first class in each grade that gets 5 paintbrushes will get a trophy that goes back to their classroom. Then everyone in that grade starts over, and the next class to get five paintbrushes will go steal it from the previous classroom. Doing this type of management has helped my students a ton because they get to own their successes and mistakes visually.
My students love these art trophies. Because they are proud of them and want to have them in their classroom. However during class when a student starts to break one of the five tasks other students will redirect their behavior because they do not want to lose any points. This has been helpful for me, and I hope it can be helpful for you as well.
I am forever changed because of the impact that this class and this experience has had on me. This class is one that pushed me to my limits. You have to memorize quite a few artists, as well as artworks. So many, that it may seem impossible to remember them all. However, everything that happened within this class is one that is needed and meaningful! The content within this class is Italian Art. However, that is a broad term. Italians have changed their ideas and culture quite a few times. The first part of Roman history is pagan, and the last part is Christian. This can make it hard at times to understand what icons are being used and what they mean. This class has prepared me extremely well to understand the content within the artwork.
The experience itsself has been one that I will never forget. My time was spent between Rome and Florence. Rome and Florence are both beautiful cities. The amount of beautiful artwork and architecture cannot be matched anywhere else. Saint Peter's Basilica is one structure that every person should see. It is beautiful at night when it is all lit up. It also has a ton of historical elements to it that other churches and such just do not have. This building also houses Michelangelo's first Pieta sculpture.
In Florence there are many many wonderful things to see. The Florence Cathedral that houses the Duomo is such a beautiful structure! The engineering within the duomo is also such a fascinating site to see. Florence also has some really cool graffiti that you can follow along the streets, and see multiple artist’s works. None of Banksy works are here in Florence, but displays many others who are very talented. This was neat to explore because you can see what the people of Florence cared about. Believe it or not, a few times these artists were putting their own spin on art works that are important to art history. This was neat to observe, and walk through the city trying to find.
Even though the graffiti experience I had was wonderful, the experience that spoke to me the most was the Academia Gallery. This gallery is one that houses Michelangelo's David sculpture. it also houses his Slave sculptures. Seeing the Slave sculptures was the exact experience I thought it would be. After writing many papers about these sculptures, and studying them in a few different classes, it was so wonderful to finally see them in person. These sculptures are ones that many people debate about, whether they were finished, or incomplete. That conclusion is one that you can decide yourself, but regardless of your choice, seeing these sculptures was one that is wonderful!!
This trip has been great!! I have learned a lot, and I now understand a little bit better the ideas behind the Italian history, and Italian Art. The impact that this class has had on my way of thinking and knowledge of art will go on to influence the students that I will teach, as well as the community that I will be involved in as well.