Sunday, June 22, 2014

What the Art Teacher Wore #103

Movie Makin' Monday: Well, trying to anyway. I spent my Monday working on and taping my presentation for The Art of Education's summer conference. I don't know why I get nervous taking to a video camera when there's no one around but when I saw that blinking record button, my hands got sweaty every time! crayon clip: made by me; felted art supplies blouse: made by me, DIY here; skirt and sandals: Anthropologie, old; belt: Pin Up Girl Clothing
Whut is UP, party people?! I hope these summer days of yours have been super fun, filled with relaxation and lemonade. Relax-monade. Tis my favorite drink.

This week, I poured a whole lotta thought and time into my presentation for The Art of Education's summer conference. Who out there is planning to attend? If you've no earthy idea what I'm talking about (don't worry, happens to me a lot), lemme break it down for ya: Jessica Balsley, the genius behind the Art of Education, hosts a biannual online all-art-teachin' conference that features about twenty 10 - 15 minute presentations by art educators from all over the world. I was fortunate enough to attend and present at the last conference and it was fantastical. 
This go-round, my topic is something I'm passionate about: Why my Students are Tech-Free in the Art Room. I've thought long and hard about this and it's a topic that's sure to rub a coupla folks the wrong way. You can read a lil more about this topic here, if you wanna.

I have a lot of scattered thoughts on this topic so it took me some time to put them together in a presentable presentation (and whether or not it's actually presentable is still up for debate). Once I'd prepped my thoughts and dialog, I was set to record...unfortunately, a certain furry friend of mine wasn't making that easy for me. Get outta my chair, kitty! (said in my best Cartman from South Park voice).
Totally Bright Tuesday: While I was in Charleston, I went to their evening City Market which was super cool and way more interesting than the daytime. The evening event seems to have more genuine crafters and less flea-market faire. Case in point: the artists behind that bright pink necklace of mine. They are created from polymer clay where the artist dyes the beads with pigment. I loved 'em so much, I had to get two! necklace: ; dress: Anthropologie; shoes: Shoe Carnival; belt: made by me
Now, I can't tell ya too much about my presentation cuz that'd spoil the fun. But I do wanna share with you what technology looked like when I was a kid: meet Speak & Spell and Speak & Math. Anybody else have these super amazingly fun toys as a kid?  I mean, what crummy parent buys their kids educational toys for Christmas when all she ever asked for was a Rainbow Bright and a Love-a-Lot CareBear (my therapist says I need to let this go. I fired her a%%.).  Can you believe I still have these guys? The Speak & Math still works and I do a fun demo of the toy during my chat. 

As a kid, technology never really did it for me. My school had one Apple computer that we all scratched each other's eyes out to play Oregon Trail on (only to die of diphtheria 3 minutes in). On the home front, aside from the Speak & Bros, I had a big a## Commodore 64 ('member them?) that I'd spend HOURS typing codes into just to watch it bounce a lil green dot across the screen. Yeah, good times. It didn't take me long to realize that I'd much rather spend time with my calligraphy set (my handwriting is super cute because of it) and my embroidery kit cuz the results where actually tangible and awesome.

Dinner Out Wednesday: Not gonna lie, after spending a coupla solid days working at home, I was super stoked to leave the house and go to dinner with the hubs. It's been a million degrees outside...but what I HATE is how all shops and restaurants keep their thermostat at sub-zero temps. WHY?! dress: Forever 39; sandals: straps made by me

Speaking of technology, I recently came across this sweet book and I've been pouring over it's amazingly retro pages.
Take a look at this first page. You can prolly click on it to get a bigger view. Let's count all the technology that we see in this here photo that is currently antiquated, shall we?

1. Rotary Phone. My grannie used to have one. One false move and you had to dial that number allll over again. Argh, so annoying! Not to mention that cord wasn't long enough -- how'm I suppose to multi-task (i.e. go to the bathroom and talk on the phone) when the cord won't reach?! Oh! Speaking of bathroom phone calls (which I don't do, that was a joke, ya'll! That noise you hear in the background is, uh, totally not coming from me) my baby sitter as a kid had a phone attached to her toilet paper dispenser. Like a rockstar.

2. Wall Clock. Okay, so that's not really outta style...or is it? I've got three hanging in my house and when the battery dies, well, game over. I've yet to change 'em out. The magical microwave and my phone always have the correct time.

3. Sewing Machine. Back in the day, every woman had one. And she made just about everything with it. The whole notion of DIY is definitely making a comeback...but I'm willing to put money down that more people have a laptop than a sewing machine. 

4. Fan. Okay, this I'm happy with, buh-bye fan, hello Central Air. My Rotary Phone Granny had no A.C. I lived in front of that fan (and the open refrigerator) all summer long. 

5. Camera. Even if people still have one, they don't use 'em. Phone photos have taken over.

6. Typewriter. I had to write papers in high school on one. Not gonna lie, happy to see that gone.

7. Record Player. My sweet librarian gave me an old school record player, I love that thing!

8. Big Box Television. Um. We still have one of those. Sigh.

Wow, isn't it funny to think of all that "top of the line" stuff that is now considered vintage? Do you think that in 20 plus years kids will recall all that stuff they used to spend so much time on (i.e. laptops, tablets, smartphones) and laugh at it's antiquated-ness? I'd hate to think of spending my students art time on technology that will be a thing of the past in the near future. You know what doesn't go outta style? Painting. Drawing. Sculpting. Weaving. 
Plotting and Planning Thursday: Not only have I been working hard on my presentation but I've also been prepping for a baby shower I'm hosting TODAY (Sunday!). My favorite art teacher buddy is having a baby and we (another art teacher friend of mine and I) are throwing her a PEE WEE HERMAN BABY SHOW! Holy crappola, ya'll, it's gonna be amazing. On Thursday my friend and I worked hard on preparing. I can't wait to share photos with ya'll. dress, belt and purse: vintage; shoes: Anthropologie

Now, maybe cuz I'm into all things retro, I do like to introduce my students to that technology of the past. One reason is because it's apart of our history that they'll probably never see again. Another is that with older technology, like this record player, you can actually see how it works. It's not just the magical rectangle that can do all this magical stuff. Older technology is big and clunky and functions before your very eyes. I found out the power of this when I brought out that record player in art class.
This little dude was just fascinated. 
Estate Saling/Thai Fooding/ Fabric Shopping Friday: The estate sale gods were good to me and my friends not this day. Oh, the lovelies I scored! I'll have to share 'em with ya. dress: vintage

This week I found out for certain that I'M GETTNG MY THRID AND FOURTH GRADE KIDS FOR AN HOUR! Yes I'm shouting because I'm so totes excited, ya'll! My plan is to introduce them to the world of sewing a skill I longed to learn as a kid.
I'm fortunate to have about 10 sewing machines in my art room (for an after school sewing class I taught last school year). I cannot wait to introduce my students to THAT technology. They get enough of the other kind, I say.
Now for the rest of my ranting and raving, ya'll will have to attend the AOE Conference! I hope to see you there. During my presentation, there's a live chat so all you tech folks can tell me what I'm missing. In the meantime, Ima get this cat outta my chair...
And go chill in front of that fan. 

Do ya'll have your kids use technology in your art room? How so? Love to hear from ya'll!


  1. "I know you are but what am I?" "I love that story."
    Sorry but you mentioned PeeWee so I have to start quoting. I'm with you - the art room is a place for getting-your-hands-dirty creating. One way I do use tech is with photography - I have a set of six cameras we try to use when we can. The main way I want to incorporate today's tech is for documenting our work and creating digital portfolios. Next year I will have one ipad per table, purchased through the last few years of Original Works and Artome fundraising. I am hoping that this will make it easier to regularly submit our work online and watch it develop over the years. I loved my Instagram shots last year of the kids in process, and I want to encourage them to start taking pics of our processes from their own viewpoints. We will have many bring-your-own-tech classes at my school next year, so if the kids want to figure out a way to incorporate tech into my weaving/printing/sewing lessons, I think that would be amazing. I will just leave that part to them while I continue my regular focus.

  2. I'm glad to hear I'm not the only one who takes hours to get her thoughts in order! Everytime I get asked by Jessica to present, I think 10 minutes no big deal. . . ten minutes can quickly turn into 10 hours:) I happened to peak at yours, I couldn't resist, and people it IS "fantastical" to use your new word. Really it is. I am going to cringe and crawl under my bed when mine comes on because I am so very cheesy (just wait for me to say "A WHOLE YEAR!" Me and my hubby laughed and laughed hearing that part back, but it's something I'm passionate about so I just put it all out there, cheese and all. Hope you can all laugh with us instead of at us, it's tough for artists to "art"iculate hahaha . . . but I think we will see it is going to be an amazing conference straight from the heart.

  3. I remember that ONE computer at Metro North... but totally forgot about Oregon Trail till you mentioned it here. Anxious to hear your presentation at AOE!!! I use tech as a choice in my art room. When my kiddos have earned a celebration day then they can choose to have the mobile unit of laptops (my school has 2). I do have 1Pad, as I bought with a grant I received last year. If they choose the laptops then we do an artsy Web site together. It gets them excited and is something that most can do at home once introduced to it. Also, some students who aren't good with pencil and paper are successful on the tech device... it is a give and take... can't wait to hear more!!!

  4. I am signed up ... Art of Education Conference, well, I guess I am. I gave them my CC# but not too sure hos it works. I hope to meet you again in Nashville. Are you still going to attend the TN Arts Academy?

  5. I am planning to get my record player out too. I will put it downstairs where my nephews can use it when they come over to see me. They like all young children have plenty of technology in their little lives but when I get my sewing machine out they are both desperate to use it, the older one especially who is doing sewing (by hand) in school. The older (who is seven) was also really keen on the idea of knitting, he badgered me to teach him but hasn't got the patience or motor skills. He can wind the wool around the needle for me me though, and I have found a "knitting machine" which is one of those wooden toys which have pins on the top. I remember doing a knitted bear at aged 10 in school, so I come back to that... Both boys are very dextrous and curious, I may have to get them sewing machine when they are older, but before they lose all interest!

  6. You are awesome, Miss Cassie! I love this post and must admit to having a little less than you technology wise. I spent my days drawing and SEWING. So cool that you have sewing machines in your art room...just like the home ec classes we used to have.
    Good luck with your presentation. I'm sure it will be FAB!

  7. Several years ago when our school district was trying to pass a levy and it failed they got rid of adult education and even when the levy passed they never brought it back. Since then they have eliminated at the Junior High all the woodwork and sewing/home economics classes. At the High School a lot of useful classes for life skills are gone too. My youngest was so disappointed because she wanted to take sewing. When I was in Junior High the girls were required to take home economics and the boys wood shop. It's a shame and I know a lot of schools have cut back on art and music due to budgets. We fought against certain measures that would have made it difficult for our students to fit in art or music in their High School schedules a few years back when they were going to change things and yeah, we won. I feel art and music are so important and enhance their brain power. It's a shame so many kids don't have all the wonderful choices we had growing up. My fave dress is the blue flowered one. Pat S

  8. Love this book! I actually owned it as a child. I thought the girl dancing in front of the record player was so cool. Geez, I'm getting old!

  9. Ah. We grew up with a rotary phone. My electronic wizard father put super duper delux long cords on the many phones he hooked up in our house, and we joked hoe we could talk on the phone in stereo by stretching one phone cord across two rooms and then grabbing another phone. No joke!

    At our 'camp' (Adirondack lakeside cottage) we have a stereo turntable, and all my old vinyl albums from the 60's-80's, which we frequently play. I love it when my music-loving son discovers a favorite old album, such as the New Riders of the Purple Sage or Big Brother and the Holding Company 'Cheap Thrills' (vintage Janis Joplin at her best).

    Meanwhile - I guess I'm really a dinosaur because I still prefer use a 'real' camera (actually I drag around 2 of them) to my iPhone camera.

  10. Cassie, my favorite blog post ever! Loved how you wove the book, which was awesome, through your voice! Bravo!

    1. And about of my super awe awesome 5th graders said we need less powerpoints and more books about art and artists! From the mouth of babes.


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