Saturday, August 4, 2018

Leading a Professional Development for your Faculty and Staff

Well, it started. Not for the kiddos (they return this coming Wednesday) but for all teachers and staff. We kicked off the new school year on Wednesday. While most days were filled with meetings, note-taking and information-overloading, on Friday, the faculty and staff at my school painted! 
Recently I shared my painting of my "why I teach" mantra. You can check it out and the process of making it right here. Not long after sharing that, the vice principal at my school asked if I'd do a similar project with our faculty and staff. Like my online bookclub, the teachers in my building are also reading The Wild Card by Hope and Wade King. In that book, they talk about remembering your WHY...why do you teach? We decided to take it two steps further: not only come up with our why but to also put it in kid friendly terms and make a painting featuring our WHY. 
VIDEO WITH DEMO...of me leading the PD and some how-to clips!

We decided to have this professional development this past Friday. I knew many things going in: that the teachers were swamped and mostly likely stressed with everything they already have on their plates; that this might not allow them to entirely focus and enjoy the experience; that they might be anxious about painting and feeling stress over their perceived lack of artistic skills. With that in mind, I decided to loosen up the painting portion by making it into a little bit of a game. All of the works of art that you see were created by teachers who previously would have told you that they cannot paint or that they are not creative. Check these out...I beg to differ!

8" x 10" matte board
6-8 colors of paint


carbon paper
tissue paper with patterns
 The painting portion of our activity was done right before lunch. We spent about 40 minutes painting and adding bits of patterned tissue paper. I won't go into every detail as I cover it in the video. So you should, like, watch that. 
 There were 50 of us so it was a packed house. My room is very big so we were able to squeeze everyone in. There were 8 painters per table. I provided 8 cups of paint, served up in condiment cups with lids. 
 Oh! I almost forgot the most important supply! CHOCOLATE! I almost always provide chocolate when I run a PD...I always like to sweeten the deal. 
 The inspiration behind our painting game was Art Workshops for Children. I just got this book in the mail and I'M LIVING FOR IT! 
 I think the teachers were pleasantly surprised by their paintings even if they did freak when I told them to CHANGE SEATS!
 But what that did was free them up a bit...made them less anxious and got them having fun. When they returned to their board, they could make it their own. 
 Y'all, I'm SO doing this painting project with my students to kick off the new school year. More to come on that, I have some ideas that are still formulating but I'm SO EXCITED!
 Golly, I love me some thick brush strokes. These folks were not shy with the paint and I loved it!
 After lunch, teachers were to come prepared with their WHYs. They could have it in their minds, have it typed and printed out, whatever. I had prepared them ahead of time about this. The day before I had told them a little of what we'd be up to so they would know to come with a print out of their WHY.
 Having a lunch break in between our painting process and adding our WHY gave folks a little time to come up with it too if they'd forgotten. 
 In the video, you'll hear me share the three options for adding the WHY to the canvas. 
  The choices were free-hand, cut and paste from the printout or use carbon paper to transcribe the WHY. The first option was the least popular and the last was the most. 
Thats the reason everyone's font looks so amazing and even...the carbon paper left a ghost image that was traced over with Sharpie!
 From here, my admin would like to see them framed and hanging outside of each teacher's door. Of course, I love that idea because HOW BEAUTIFUL WILL THESE LOOK IN THE HALLS?! And I love the idea that the kids will know that their teachers value art and are artists too. 
 But, most importantly, their WHYs will be visible for all to see, read and comprehend. I know I love seeing mine...I think it will be a reminder for both me and my students. 
 Big shoutout to my coworkers for stepping out of their comfort zone and making a beautiful piece that says so much about them and their dedication to our students. 
 Our school song, the Johnson Song, starts off with "I'm so glad I go to Johnson School..." And THIS is why!
These are truly amazing educators who teach and touch so many little lives. 
 I wish I could share them all but then this would be my longest blog post ever...I'll try to share more in upcoming posts!
 If you decide to do something like this at your school, I would love a shout out! I love sharing lessons and ideas with y'all...but letting folks know where the idea came from so they can find it and benefit as well is ALWAYS appreciated. 
 Thank you so much for letting me overshare. Feel free to drop me a line below if you have any questions!

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  1. This is fabulous! I think any teaching staff would benefit from a PD like this to start the year!

  2. I think this looks amazing! How do I share this with my art teacher?

    1. You can send her over to my blog, show her this link!

  3. Shelleyvdh8/04/2018

    What kind of paint do you use? These colors are so much better than the boring ones my school orders

    1. Just inexpensive bottles of Walmart acrylic paint!

  4. Thank you for sharing Cassie. Inspiring as always!❤️

  5. Hi Cassie! I love this post so much. I am thinking about doing this painting activity with my middle schoolers for anti-bullying month with inspirational words/phrases. Did you use acrylic paint? Did you do any prep work to the matte board ahead of time (gesso,etc)? Thanks��. As always you are a great inspiration and resource to us fellow art teachers.

    1. Hey there! I didn't do a thing to the matte board! We just used white or cream matte board as that's what I had on hand. I just used that cheap Apple Barn acrylic paint from Walmart because I wanted light colors. It was a super inexpensive activity!

  6. My principal wants me to lead a team building and I showed her this idea and she loves it! We will tweak it a little to fit what we need but Thanks for the idea and after we are done I will let you know. I want to be you when I grow up. Your ideas are awesome!

    1. I cannot wait to see what y'all create!

  7. These are so cute Cassie. Thank you for sharing your ideas and inspiring others. I too lead a staff PD back in January similar to this and we are making feathers with our ‘why’. So are all the students. Together we will combine these into one of those huge pair of wings collaborative mural for the art show. I used the video of ‘I wish my teacher knew’ as inspiration for my students. I did pop some images into my Instagram feed of the kids work so far. Teacher ones are due by end of term so will post picks then. Best wishes for your new year. Can’t wait to see what wonderful ideas and work you create with your students next. @timea_oneteachersjourney

  8. Great idea! I'm definitely doing this for our first project. Will get them out in the hallways, cafeteria, gym.... Thank you so much for sharing!

  9. Anonymous8/06/2018

    What was the wait time between painting and writing? More or less how much time to let the painting dry? :)

  10. Sorry- Picky PETE question- did you buy matboard and cut it down yourself? I can’t find anything in small 9x12 size. I’m going to do this with my principal and would love to simplify the process. Thanks!

  11. Hi Cassie! Our campus in Texas is also reading The Wild Card this summer and this project to do with the teachers is amazing. I would love to do this or something like it and credit you of course, if my administration would like to.

  12. You AHHHHMAZE me! I would love to do something like this with my colleagues. Wheels are turning to offer something like this as a workshop at our annual district conference... Thank you for the inspiration!

  13. This is amazing! I would love to do this with my para’s in our special education classroom. How did you do the font? Print on what paper and then trace with sharpie? We talk about our “why’s” a lot and it’s a great reminder as we begin this school year. Thanks for sharing such a wonderful idea!

  14. Hey...I sent you a pm...but I wanted to let you know this was awesome pd video...and my principal at my school has asked me to lead a teacher pd too!!! I was asked a few weeks ago...but I waited to say anything until I new how firm things were going to be...I do mine on August excited. Thank you for everything you do!!!

  15. Hi Cassie, I love your lessons! Please suggest how can I run this activity with my middle school students to start the new school year?

  16. thanks for sharing your blogs i really like it and its so awesome. keep posting more
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