Sunday, February 26, 2012

STEM to STEAM - Adding the Arts to Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics

New stem to steam presentation
View more presentations from tagartteacher.

Video links that may not work in slide 3 of uploaded presentation:
Sir Ken Robinson's video - RSA Animate Changing Education Paradigms

Nick Okafor from the School for the Talented and Gifted in Dallas ISD coordinated a STEM to STEAM Festival last Saturday bringing students, parents and members of the community together to discuss the importance of adding the Arts to a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) curriculum.  You can visit Nick's STEAM Through Education website here.

Nick asked me to make a presentation about the importance of the Arts in education as well as strategies to incorporate the arts into STEM curriculum.  Attached is my presentation.  I am grateful to Nick for inviting me as I am learning more about it myself.  Plano ISD is set open a STEAM Academy fall of 2013 and I have a lot of interest in it.  Not just because it's in my school district, but also because I think this is one of the most exciting times to be in education.

There is a strong movement across our country to change the way we teach our children.  Our students want their education to be relevant, collaborative, include the technology that rests in their hands, and be more student-directed.   Fortunately the Arts do all of that and much more!  Please join me in the rethinking of our children's education.  Find out what's going on in your community and support the efforts of your schools in changing education to meet the needs of our students in the 21st century!

Monday, February 20, 2012

A Letter to my Students

Dear Art Students,

First, I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for participating in the VASE competition this last weekend.  Making that kind of commitment to your work is really admirable!  It was a cold, rainy day and I know that alarm came really early!  But we went and had a great experience!

It's one thing to talk about your art in our classroom, but quite another to do with someone you've never met!  I know it can make you feel nervous - I was nervous for all of you!  I believe we did everything to get ready for the experience - matte and pack all of your work, get all of those darn papers filled out and turned in, take pictures of the art and practice the interview in class!  I hope you felt we did all that we could to prepare you for the event (especially the first timers!).

I hope we can have conversations looking back on the experience.  Let's look at the evaluation forms and see what comments were made about your pieces.  Some of the evaluations I agree with, some I do not.  This is really very typical for competitive art events.  I've been putting my work in art competitions for many, many years, and I still can be surprised (happy or frustrated!) by a judge's opinion!  And, I have been a judge in many different kinds of competitions, so I've also looked at the work from their perspective.  Try to think back on times in our class when we didn't agree on art!  Often when I've shown the Artist of the Day videos, some people will like it and some won't.  And so it goes with judges' opinions.  In the end, it's helpful if you can be open to what they are saying, but you have to take it with a grain of salt.

Sometimes in these competitive events we lose sight of what's really important about participating.  Let me tell you what I think the great advantages of showing your work are:

  • It propels you to do work and to get it ready for competition.  There is an energy about that and it can be very positive and fulfilling.  (Sometimes it can be very frustrating and exhausting to meet those deadlines too!)
  • I believe you strive to do your very best work when you enter competitions.  I've seen so much growth in all of you, and I am super proud of the hard work you have put in making your art.  
  • You see other artists' in the process, and how fun is that!  So many ways to express yourself - I never tire of seeing what other people think of doing.
  • And from all of that, you grow as an artist.  The more you do, the more seasoned you become.  I've been entering contests for over 30 years, so you would think I'd be used to them!  But I feel just like you - excited, anxious, nervous, joyful and frustrated.  
  • The judges' opinions are just that - opinions, not "truth".  We can be open to hearing what they have to say, but in the end you have to check in with your own truth about the work.  
So I wanted to celebrate your fantastic efforts by showcasing each VASE entry here in a special online exhibit of its own.  Here are all of your pieces (in alphabetic order by artist).  Hats off to all of you!  I am incredibly proud of the risks you took, the problems you overcame and the beauty you discovered.  Let's celebrate the accomplishments you achieved!  

Yours truly,
Ms. Miller

Nazia Ahmed - Intersections
Cardboard sculpture

Jordan Anwer - Big Idea
Mixed media

Jedidiah Berhanu - Broken Yet Bold
Colored pencil

Jedidiah Berhanu - Climb

Alec Bob - Pop Art
Cardboard sculpture

Amber Brown - 524
Mixed media

Soneri Chaturvedi - Birds of a Feather
Colored pencil

Soneri Chaturvedi - Cough Syrup
Mixed media

Sahiti Cherukuri - The Point of Speech
Colored pencil

Jennifer Chhoa - Pish Posh
Mixed media

Mandy Cho - Don't Lose Track of What Matters
Mixed media

Mandy Cho - In the Depths

Ryan Desmond - Mr. Mogu's Insta-serrating Servicer
Paper & cloth mache, mixed media

Tara Dunlap - Consumed by Fire

Meghan Duong - Masquerade
Paper and cloth mache, mixed media

Grace Hseu - The Night Sky
Cardboard sculpture

Maria Lopez - Beaucoup De Couleurs
Colored pencil

Maria Lopez - Fashion Statement

Felipe Ramos - In the Shadows

Brenda Segura - New Ending
Mixed media

Brenda Segura - Squared Belief

Hanna Sirak - The Little Things
Mixed media