Sunday, January 4, 2015

Goodbye Winter Break! :( Hello Liebster Award!

The past two weeks off of have been absolutely glorious! I definitely needed the break from work and school (yep - doing that masters thing too) so I could finally spend time with my family and friends (I had nearly forgotten what they looked like)!
Unfortunately breaks only last so long - and tomorrow I'm back to work (lucky for me I still have a week or so till I have to go back to grad school).

Anyways - over the break I was nominated for the Liebster Blogging Award (one of four blogging awards I've received); this time by Kelsey at The Artsy Fartsy Art Room.  :)

So here are my answers to the 10 questions asked by my nominator (to then be answered by my nominees)! :)

1.  Why did you start your blog?I can't remember 100% where I got the idea to start a blog, but I do remember that I was really inspired by Mollie from 'Please Don't Eat the Artwork' (formally 'Art with Ms. K')'s commitment to finding time for blogging during her first year teaching. The original purpose of my blog was to "post all my lessons, resources, and outcomes for all the world to see". 
I see blogging as a form of journaling and love the idea of getting to pick apart my lessons piece by piece, reflect on the successful or trying times, and get feedback from colleagues

2.  What excites you about being an art educator?
It is super FUN! I mean think about it.. I could be sitting in a cubicle doing some boring data entry all day or even better, still working as a server at a restaurant.. but instead I get to teach art to kids all day. Yeahhhh I pick the latter. Teaching can be extremely trying at times.. but as I commmonly remind myself, "You seriously have like the best job." 

3.  What do you talk about on your blog?
For the most part I write about the lessons that I teach in my classroom. I break apart each lesson into day-by-day segments, share exactly what I did, what resources I used, what pitfalls I experienced, and how the final work turned out. Other than my lessons, I also like sharing about my other art-related experiences (conventions, art shows, etc). 

4.  Why do you think connecting with other bloggers is important?
Reflecting on my lessons by myself is incredibly useful when it comes to improving my practice as a teacher, but even better is when I open up a window into my classroom by sharing my experiences and getting advice and feedback from fellow art teachers. Without that communication piece.. I'm just a crazy person talking/writing to myself. :)

5.  Have you met any other bloggers in person?
I've actually met quite a few other bloggers at conventions (if you don't already regularly attend the NAEA convention - you need to)!

6.  Where do you think your blog will be in 2 years?
Here. hahaha 
Unless the internet decides to not be a thing anymore - I'll still be here writing away - at this web address. :)

7.  What do you do best (in reference to art education)?
Hmmm.. that's a tough one. That's like coming up with an answer to "What is your greatest strength and weakness?" when you're in a job interview (also known as the biggest lie-provoking/creative writing question) anyone could ever ask. ;)
In seriousness though - I think what I do best in reference to art education is keep myself involved (and busy!!). Some people are content with just doing the status quo (teaching in their classroom) and never really reach out any further. And if that's your thing.. then that's fine - but I just personally feel the need to do more.
I keep myself really busy within my school and the larger art education community. Of course I teacher my regular art classes, but in addition I also (this year): have an art club that meets every Wednesday before school, co-lead an arts-integration staff development course at my school, design our school's yearbook and also handle the sales and fundraising for it, am a mentor-teacher for the other fabulous art teacher at my school, have hosted a student teacher, create an excessive amount of displays to show off my students awesome work, submit my student's work to art shows, maintain this blog, present sessions at the Georgia Art Education Association's conference, am scheduled to present at the National Art Education Association's conference (in New Orleans, March 2015), present at my county's annual visual arts summer staff development, have assisted in my county's visual arts SPG testing review, maintain and actively create products for my TPT store, maintain my 'Art with Ms. Gram' facebook page, and am currently working on my MAEd. in Art Education. 
Currently one of my biggest interests is researching the topics of high-stakes testing, VAM teacher-evaluation reform, and general public education reform (I seriously just bought 12 books that further explore these topics and have a 3" binder filled with peer-written articles that I've read both for grad school and for fun).
And in my spare time I'm planning my wedding (May 30th, 2015). :)
So yeah - I keep busy. 

Fun side note - I just recently got back my engagement photos - here are some of my favorites! :)





8.  How much time do you devote to your blog?
A few hours each week. 
I spend quite a bit of time taking pictures of my student's artwork, organizing stuff onto my computer, writing my blog posts, and interacting with fellow bloggers.

9.  How do you create your posts?
I always begin by taking a bunch of pictures of my student's artwork at school. Once I feel like I've gathered enough pictures, I create a post.

10.  What wishes do you have for your readers?
I wish you'll keep reading my blog. Haha
I absolutely LOVE getting feedback and getting to connect to art teachers from all over the world! Like I said before - without the communication piece - I'm just a crazy person writing/talking to myself.


So now for my nomination - 


I'm going to have to give it to Abby at 'Exploring Art: Elementary Art'!
Her blog posts are full of bright colorful artwork which really appeals to me! Very excited to see where her blog goes in the future! :) Definitely check it out!

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