Showing posts with label Frist Center. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Frist Center. Show all posts

Thursday, December 4, 2014

In the Art Room: 10 Totes Amazing Field Trip Tips

Do y'all take your students on field trips? I remember my very first year teaching (some 17 years ago, ahem) when I was informed that taking kids on a field trip was apart of my curriculum (which reminds me, New Teachers: Don't confuse your curriculum with a Bible. Ya don't hafta live or die by the thing. Think of it more as a suggestion. More than likely from someone who hasn't been in an art room for a handful of years. Possibly because they couldn't handle the scandal [oh, now, curriculum writers, don't get your artsy pants in a wad. You know it's kinda true.] Now, if you'll please help me down from this here soapbox, I'll return to the post at hand. Thank you). And I just about freaked out. I mean, here I was, in my first couple months teaching, just trying to wrap my absurdly small brain round the fact that the art education of 400 students was in my constantly-paint-covered hands and now I also had to take 'em field trippin? Are you kitten me? Cat's crazy!

But I did. I took 100 first grade kids to see some Impressionist exhibit.

And, what? You want me to tell you it went off without a hitch? That the whole thing was a magical experience? Well, it wasn't, y'all. I made many a mistake (One being I paid for 100 first graders to wear headphones for the exhibit. You know, like a Walkman, y'all [17 years ago, remember?] As you can imagine, that ended badly). After that first experience, you'd have thought I'd never give it another go. But afterward, the kids talked about our field trip for weeks (and so did their classroom teachers, unfortunately. Ahem). They loved the art, they loved the bus ride, they even loved those ridiculous Walkmans. And it made me realize that the kids just loved getting out and experiencing the world. Which immediately made me thing of The Most Famous Field Tripper in the Universe...
That's right. Ferris Bueller. 
Because our Word of the Week had been "gratitude", some of my second grade students wrote thank you notes to the Frist Center for Visual Arts. I shipped 'em out just yesterday.

I mean, you've gotta take 'em out to see the world so they won't miss it, right?

Since that first year, I've taken my students on field trips to the local art museum or botanical gardens nearly every year. Now, I don't take 'em all (I'm not that crazy) but the grade level where it most pertains to what we are studying. Or, if I'm being really honest, to the grade level that is the least likely to run amuck and act a fool. Which changes every year, as y'all know.
 Now over the years, I've learned a thing or three and I thought I'd share 'em here with you. To ease your field trip anxiety (which never actually goes away. I suffer from Field Trip Night Terrors before each and every outing.) I thought I'd share with y'all my 10 Totes Amazing Field Trip Tips. Are ya ready? 

1. Preview the exhibit before planning a trip. So, the art museum has a great exhibit on Pablo Picasso? Sweet! Just be sure to check it first to be certain it's not Picasso's lots-of-boobs-and-naked-chics period, emrkay? Seriously, be certain it's kid-friendly and interesting. Don't no (under 10) kid care about Picasso's philosophy on Cubism.

2. Get the lay of the land. Before you take kids, you really outta know just where the bus will drop the kids, what door you'll enter, what time the art museum actually opens (last year I got us there about 10 minutes before the museum opened. It was freezing outside! I seriously ran from one locked door to the next, banging on the door,  looking for a way in. I felt like Dustin Hoffman in the final wedding scene of The Graduate). It's also super important to know just where the bathrooms are. I mean, do you really wanna be known as the art teacher whose student peed in the middle of a Picasso exhibit? "Clean up in the Rose Period!" Me thinks not. 
3. Talk to your teachers and get 'em on board (i.e., have them do your dirty work). The teachers at my school are super supportive and have always been corporative with field trips. These folks take their students on field trips more regularly than we do, so they are used to this field trip game. So, put them on the case! Use their permission form format when writing your own (they may even be kind enough to just write it for you!). Also, have them collect the forms and the money. Think of it this way: it's a lot easier for them to collect from the 20 plus kids they see daily then the 100 you see only every couple of days. 

4. Bring in the reinforcements: CHAPERONES! My fave chaperone? Our school nurse. She's there "just in case" and I'm so happy for that. I also love it when grandparents are able to make the trip as I can tell it really means a lot to them. And, as a general rule, the meaner the mom-chaperone, the better (oh, I joke. Kinda).
5. Tell the kids what's up. I created this prezi before my most recent field trip. Cuz the more informed the kids are, the more excited they are going to be. Many of my second grade kids had not been to the art museum. Don't assume your students have either. This might be a once in a lifetime for them (fingers crossed that's not the case!). 
One of my fave things to do before a trip to the art museum, is to write about it as a class. I usually start with, "What do you know?" either about the art museum or the exhibit, "What do you want to know?" which encourages the kids to reflect on their upcoming trip and, when we return, we talk about "What did you learn?" As the kids tell me this info, I'll jot it down on a large piece of bulletin board paper. Often times, I'll display this along with some photos from the experience in the hall upon our return.
Our art museum has a lot of history. So I really enjoy sharing that with the kids along with what's inside. When the kids make more of a connection with a place, they'll be more excited about going there and, hopefully, want to go back. 
6. Museum etiquette. Look, even school-skippin Bueller knew how to behave in an art museum.
We spend a whole lotta time on this here chat. My biggest concern is always disturbing the artwork and/or disturbing the patrons. I tell 'em, people pay big bucks to visit an art museum. They're there to see the art. Not some children with no sense of etiquette. After all, that's just down right uncivilized and might cause people to look at us like this...
 Like, ew, what's wrong with that kid and why is he hanging all over Picasso's Blue Boobie Nude Number 23?

Now, you'll most def wanna silence your cell phone but don't forget to bring it! You never know what kind of emergency call you might have to make to your school (I had to ring the bookkeeper last year in a panic. I hadn't paid the admission cost! Thankfully she came through with a credit card payment...but I woulda been in hot water with out my phone). 
7. Tell 'em what they'll experience. You know, like the artwork. Show them examples of the art and how they'll see "the real thing" (which is a mind-blowing concept that I don't actually own the real thing, to my students. "Wait, you mean that poster isn't the real Starry Night?!" Um, no). 
At our art museum, we spend one hour touring the exhibit and the following hour creating stuff. I explain that process to the kids so that they completely know what to expect when we arrive. AND because I completely hate answering, "What are we doing noooooow?" twenty-thousand times. Ahem.
8. Bus behavior. Oh, the bus. Not my fave part of going on a field trip, not gonna lie. However, on my most recent trip, the teachers I went with did something which I thought was simply genius. They requested that the kids remain silent while we were on the city streets so that the bus driver could focus. As soon as we hit the highway, they were free to chat. The noise level was hardly noticeable because of the sound of the highway. Once we turned off the highway toward the museum, it was back to silent bus. Smart, right?

Speaking of bus rides, before that bus even reeves up to leave for the museum or return, please be certain to do a head count. Like 20 times. Those teachers I mentioned above? They were constantly counting their kids. Once on the bus, once after we got off the bus, again inside the museum -- you get the idea. Count those heads like there's no tomorrow, y'all.

And don't sit with the kids. Definitely don't eat any gummi bears they've been keeping warm in the pockets all day (please tell me I'm not the only one who remembers this scene?!). Personally, I like to sit at the front with the bus driver. Because I'm always a little concerned s/he might not know where to park or drop us off. Oh, and speaking of bus drivers, I always have a map to the museum on hand for the drivers as well as chaperone passes (because I hate the idea of them sitting on the bus for two hours). 
9. Reflect fondly on our experiences. 'Kay, so I already told you about the one writing thingie we sometimes do. This year some classes even wrote Thank You cards which were pretty sweet to read. You've gotta have some sort of reflection time after such a trip, right? Get 'em talking about what they learned and loved. 
 I mean, can I get an "awww...."? 
Reflecting can also come in the form of creating. We actually created these paintings at the start of the year when we first began exploring Kandinsky (lesson here, kids). So it was a great tie-in to what we saw at the museum.
10. Be inspired! Seeing an artists work in a museum is inspiring for the kids and me as a teacher. The kids are excited to return and create and I'm thrilled that I squished some culture into their lil heads. It's a win-win-inspirational experience, y'all.

So, tell me, do you take your kids on field trips? What are some of your Totes Amazing Field Trip Tips?! 
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Saturday, July 20, 2013

What the Art Teacher Wore #70

blouse and bangles: vintage, thrifted; skirt and belt: Pin Up Girl Clothing; shoes: Sofft
Like, wow. It's been seriously forever since I last blogged but you gotta know, it's not my fault. I place the blame on my maw and bro for their week-long visit which was immediately followed by a week-long professional development (the Tennessee Arts Academy, aka, The Best Professional Development for the Arts ever. More on that soonish). I know, I've got lots of excuses (always, it's just who I am. When I'm not whining about something, I'm usually excuse-a-micating. I'd stop but I just can't shake my excuse-itus) but Ima gonna try my hardest to get my bloggin' schedule back on track (oh, who am I kidding, this bloggin' train done derailed ages ago).

So I thought I'd share with you what my mom, brother and I did on their visit to Nashville. It's a rare occasion I get to see my baby bro (he's 10 years my junior) because he lives and teaches on a Navajo reservation in Many Farms, Arizona. After a visit home (to Indiana, we're Hoosier/Pickle-Lovers, remember?!), he and mom drove down here to ole Tennessee for a spell. We had an awesome time playing tacky tourist with entirely too many selfies and sweet tea. 

On our first morning, we walked at Radnor Lake before the heat set in. If you're not familiar with Radnor, it's a super popular place to day hike because the trails are short and deer watching is amazing. In fact, the deer are so used to the people that as mom and I were chatting and walking down a trail, I turned my head away from her and found myself face-to-face with a grass-chomping deer. She just snorted and walked off. The deer, not my mother. Although that does sound like something she would do.
Don't you love those sweet little spots?
My brother wanted to check out the Parthenon which is in Nashville's Centennial Park. The Nashville version of the Parthenon was built in 1897 as apart of the Tennessee Centennial Exposition which was this big ole party celebrating the 100th year of Tennessee joining the Union. Our version of the Parthenon is an exact replica AND, as we like to tell fancy Europeans, it's way better because it's newer and not as crumbly.
Aw, a sibling moment that was quickly followed by, "okay, picture's over, stop touching me!"
Sigh. So, okay, in the 1990's it was decided that Alan LeQuire, a famous Nashville figurative sculpture artist, would create an exact replica of the Athena that was in the original, now crumbly, Parthenon. And she was lovely. Imagine this exact state but all white. It was absolutely breathtaking when you would enter the Parthenon. Because the funding ran out, the statue was left in an all-white state for many years. Apparently the original statue was painted like...this. So when the Parthenon was granted the funding a couple years ago, Athena was gilded in gold and painted up like a lady of the night. I'm sorry. I just don't like it. It looks like a Jean Paul Gaultier meets Liberace.
Mom and I attempting to get pretty on the Shelby Street Walking Bridge.
The walking bridge is several years old and I've never taken the time to walk across it. You can see the best views of downtown Nashville and Broadway from there.

This boy is a constant photo bomber!

dress: vintage, thrifted, and dyed by me here; shoes and shades: Target, old; hair flower: made by me, just a little fake floral glued to a clip

dress: Anthro, couple years ago; shoes: Poetic License; belt: Pin Up Girl Clothing
Our local art museum, The Frist Center for Visual Arts, is currently exhibiting one of the most incredible exhibits of cars. Look, I'm not even a car person and this was easily one of my favorite exhibits ever. These cars were all from the 1920's - 30's and each a magnificent work of art. Several were one of a kind and one was even for sale for a cool 2 million. I was amazed to hear that each car was in working order and were driven into the museum.
Mom and me in a gas cap.
Isn't it amazing how something sitting so still can look like it's zooming so fast?
On the last day of their visit, we went to Rippavilla Plantation in Spring Hill, Tennessee. The story goes that the home was built by Nathaniel Frances Cheairs IV. But the story begins way before that when Nathaniel began courting Miss Susan Peters McKissack. Apparently, when Nate decided he wanted to marry Susan, his father tried to convince him otherwise. Not because he didn't like Susan, he just didn't like her name. That's right, apparently, all the Nathaniels in the family had always married Sarahs and ole pops wanted Nate to keep up the tradition. He even tried bribing him to seek out another bride. Can you imagine that in the Singles Column: "SWM seeking SWF, must have most of your teeth, a big hoop skirt, plenty of bonnets AND be named Sarah. With an "h"." Nate decided his pops was crazy, married Susan, had four kids and built a big ole plantation. Take that, Nate, Sr.
The real reason we wanted to go was because the plantation was hosting a big ole vintage event on the grounds of the estate. I managed to scoop up some bangles that I think will go perfectly with that doggone Butterick dress that's STILL on my sewing table. My goal is to finish her off this coming week. Which was also my goal last week...AND the week before that.
So much vintage awesomeness. With the exception of that tractor pillow. Like, ew.
I promise the matching straw hat was totally unintentional! dress: Urban Outfitters picked up a Plato's Closet; hat: Florida

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