A couple of years ago I read a book by Daniel Pink called "A Whole New Mind; Why right brainers will rule the world" It was a great read and backed up what us Arts teachers have known for a long time. The Arts are actually pretty useful in the big scheme of a well rounded education.
There were several initiatives from the book that I use in my teaching practice today. The one I value the most is the FEDEX(Atlassian;the company who started this has been asked to change the nam Day. Once every month or couple of months I take a day and work on my own artwork in the classroom along side my students. I get all my teaching done early in the week and have them prepped so that all they have to do is come in, sit down and get on with their work. Corporates such as Google and their 80/20 policy have been doing this for a while and some schools are starting to take note.
My school is low decile and a lot of my students don't have the cultural capital to feel comfortable to engage with the highly academic art world. Entitlement; could be another way of explaining it and sometimes there are other more important things to worry about for our families. This makes it easy to pitch to high and what I might think should take a week in a higher decile school to do, can take 3 weeks in my class. Throw in my teachers college art tutors 1hr for me 3hrs for them and time can get away.
As you can imagine it doesn't take long for frustration to creep in. Sitting down in the class and making can be the best way to deal with it relieve the stress. In fact the other day I started a lesson with the statement "I started a really cool drawing last lesson and I'm going to sit down and finish it!". I had started an exemplar the previous lesson, it was period 5 Thursday, they weren't particularly thrilled with drawing practice, so what else was I to do. I got the 35-40min of focused drawing out of the class. I'll take it!
On my FEDEX Days I've found that the students feel more comfortable engaging with artworks. They'll tell me what they see, picking up on different elements of my work and wanting to know more. They get me thinking about my work. It's a good way for me to step back and let go so they take charge of their learning(I think we teachers with the pressure of the curriculum and achievement data forget to do this sometimes).
Give one a go and let me know how you get on.
Some of the best PD discussions are had in the staffroom over a coffee. My posts are intended to be like one of those conversations. Feel free to join the conversation, we just might help each other out. My opinions are my own.