Wednesday, May 30, 2018

First Annual Middleton STEAM Carnival!

Early this year I found myself engaged in a conversation with one of the most creative teachers I know, Barbara Deeley (4th grade teacher). We had just learned about STEAM Carnivals taking place in schools around the country and asked eachother, "would it be crazy to try to do this ourselves?"

Well, we do look a little crazy!

6 months later we had recruited a group a teachers who were 
crazy enough to take a chance and join us.

And like that, the first ever Middleton STEAM Carnival was born!

We started out by researching fun but achievable STEAM challenges.  We found so many it was hard to limit ourselves.  With the help of our fellow teachers, we selected a group of activities that teams of teachers were excited about taking on.

Check out our line up!

The week of the Carnival arrived and we worked tirelessly to tie up all the loose ends.  Supplies were gathered and organized, student volunteers were recruited, sample projects made,  
and festive decorations drawn and created by eager student artists.

As the night approached, I was excited but also worried.  What if no one came?  I convinced myself that however small the turn out was it would be ok.  After all, it was our first time.  
If fifty people showed up that would be good.

I was not prepared for the turn out we had.  Throughout the night family after family came into the gymnasium.  Each booth had a stream of participants visit and work through the challenges.  
It was so much fun and there was such energy in the room.

I loved seeing families learn from each different station and share in our excitement.
In the end we had close to 300 visitors!  I think we can safely call this a success.

The special WHMN News segment on the STEAM Carnival
gives you a peek on what the night was all about!

Hope to see you next year - we look forward to this being an annual event!

Did you attend this year's STEAM Carnival?  
What was your favorite booth?

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Student Engagement: Finding a Hook For the End of The Year!

I have been working with children in the arts for almost 15 years! 
In that time I have come to realize that art is definitely not for everyone.  
There will always be the kids that are an art teacher's dream, they love every project!  For everyone one of them, there are also the kids that begrudgingly come to class and kind of do their work. 
At the end of the year, it seems even harder to get everyone on board. 

                                          No better time than now to dive into challenges!

I have actually introduced a few challenges throughout the year.  This first one was inspired by a wonderful blog by Angela Watson, I love how she emphasizes the important role of challenge tasks in developing problem solving and creative thinking skills. 
I started off the year with a Brown Bag Art Challenge in my Artovation classes. It was a way for me to introduce what Artovation is all about and get students hooked, engaged, and thinking creatively...

To get ready for Dot Day, I presented a dot themed brown bag challenge.
There was such a wide range of ideas!

Check out the link here to my Brown Bag Art Challenge

We also tried out the Longest Line Challenge right before Thanksgiving.  
(Challenges are also a great hook right before vacations!)

Another favorite challenge is the Building Challenge: Lego Edition! I printed out these Lego Task Cards (thank you to A Few Shortcuts Blog!).  Each student was given a task card, each table a Lego bin.  Let the building begin!  I loved seeing how different students interpreted the same task in a different way.  I also saw collaboration and camaraderie. Kids would yell out if they had a Lego piece someone else was looking for.  Students spontaneously joined their creations.

As you can see they loved it!  I think I will need to revisit this one again ts year!

What are some of your students' favorite challenges?

Art Teacher Blogs 
This post is a part of The Art Ed Blogger's Network: Monthly Tips and Inspiration from Art Teacher Blogs. On the first Tuesday each month, each of these art teacher blogs will post their best ideas on the same topic.

Participating Art Teacher Blogs: