Teaching with Contemporary Art

Things To Do On The Way Out

Image: bigactivities.com

Inspired recently by the quirky and often humorous Draw it with your eyes closed: the art of the art assignment, edited by Paper Monument, I asked one of my advanced classes to make five different top ten lists over the summer. Attempting to follow my own advice, I thought it might be fun to create one for this week.

Most educators at this time of the year are decelerating in some way or already on a break, so I was thinking about some of the best things to do on the way OUT of the classroom before stepping into a few weeks of summer. Here’s my take on….

Ten Year-End Ideas for Contemporary Art Educators

10. Write down many of the great ideas you wanted to try but didn’t during this past year.

9. Circle one suggestion from #10 and make a quick plan for actually doing it in 2012-2013.

8. Jot down 3-4 artists and/or works of art that really made a difference this year. Why (or how) did they make a difference? How can you build on what these artists taught your students?

7. On a poster write the names of three or four artists you really want to “teach with” in 2012-2013. Leave that list somewhere prominent in the classroom or studio.

6. Reorganize the classroom setup in some way. Give the place a jolt so the physical space is somehow different for next year.

5. Catch up on reading a few blogs and periodicals. Make note of any artists, articles or works of art you want to use in future classes and place this list in your summer plan book (you know you have one, even if you call it a sketchbook like I do).

4. Streamline your whole SLO proposal (feel free to substitute your state’s charming acronym for Student Learning Objectives) and make sure it shares, explains and measures what is valued in your class. Don’t make the mistake of actually forcing yourself to be boring by developing assessment measures you aren’t excited about (I just know I’m going to be writing more about this).

3. Take a few days vacation after completing #4.

2. Decide on three exhibits or events you want to check out over the summer and PUT THEM ON THE CALENDAR. Invite friends and colleagues to come along if you like. But actually GO. Bring your sketchbook.

1. Write yourself a note about the things that went really well this year along with the things you need to stop doing altogether because they feel dead, boring or ineffective. Maybe add a suggestion or good quote to wrap up the note and place it in a location you’ll easily “discover” after summer is gone.

Enjoy.

Contributor
Joe Fusaro is the senior education advisor for Art21, and has written Art21’s “Teaching with Contemporary Art” column since 2008. He is an exhibiting artist and visual arts chair for the Nyack Public Schools in New York; and an adjunct instructor for New York University’s Graduate Program in Art and Arts Professions.
  1. Nate Morgan says:

    Love this!!

    Reply

  2. Liz says:

    Joe -

    I love this and am inspired and am going to do all of these things starting NOW. Many of the ideas you listed are things I’ve been thinking about doing anyways, and it’s time. Plus, even though you’re not, I kind of feel like you’re telling me to do them which will motivate me. :-)

    Thanks for the inspiration…

    Liz (Art21 Educators Y2)

    Reply

  3. Joe Fusaro says:

    Liz… Thank you. It was so good to hear that you would even consider these ideas at “the front end” of the school year!

    Reply

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