You are currently browsing the daily archive for April 19, 2012.

Our April 16th CIG meeting at the IU was much more relaxed and everyone feels very comfortable about our meetings, our inquiry question and what is going on in our classrooms regarding motivation and effort by our students. We had a skype meeting earlier in the second semester and a few members of the group met at the IU on March 2 (I was attending the NAEA  in New York that weekend- what a great conference!) , so now it is time for everything to come together! We all updated our wikispace, which became the script for our movie presenting our findings in working on getting students motivated to practice music and art outside of the classroom. We also discussed other options for our presentation time (handouts/ question and answer/ visuals, etc)

Our January  13th CIG meeting at the IU was in my opinion, a little stressful. We had designed our survey in November and I distributed it to all my classes in early December. I shared the results with the group at the December meeting. At that January meeting, I felt that we were still unsure of what we were trying to do with our classes regarding motivation and effort in regarding student’s practicing outside of the classroom to improve their music and art. It is just frustrating sometimes to get the students to get the required work done for class, especially sketchbooks in Drawing class and definitiely grades are not a motivating factor! Students that have incredible drawing skills will fail drawing 1 because they refuse to do a sketchbook which is part of the course requirement. We spent the meeting talking about the survey, putting it into our wikipages and discussing our final project.


How can inquiry strategies be incorporated into music and arts classes to improve motivation and effort toward students’ practice habits?

I realized that trying to work with all of  my art classes regarding our group’s inquiry question was overwhelming, so I began to narrow it down to which group(s) I thought would best benefit by increasing their motivation and drive to create exceptional works of art both inside and outside the classroom. My Independent Art class, which consists of nine young ladies, 6 seniors and 3 juniors, are higher end art students, but have been procrastinating about production and seem to be “looking for their style”. Their lack of motivation was disheartening, as these girls opted to be in a year  long, high level skill and motivation art course. I began by scheduling an “interview” with each of the girls to have them talk about what they had been doing with their concentration and what they thought they could visualize by stepping outside of their comfort zone and pushing their art with different materials and ideas. I have worked with these girls in other art classes over the years and knew that they were creative and could break “out of the box” in trying new and exciting ideas. Individual interviews grew into small group interactive discussions with a few directed questions or comments and then into question and answer sessions with little or no direction from me. The classes went from “I don’t know what to do” or “what you think that I should work on next”to“what do you think of this idea?” As new ideas emerged from students who originally kept falling back on traditional drawing and painting skills, my comments to them were “where were all these ideas and concepts hiding?” I started pushing more “research” into new techniques- mixed media using found objects, altering books not as a journal, but as a sculptural forms, trying materials that were not normally considered art materials and encouraged the girls to find other artists that were also experimenting or working with similar concepts so they would realize that they were not alone. The group went from “what should I do now?” to “look what I was working on last night” or “I found this out in the parking lot of the mall and I am going to incorporate it into this piece of art”. Direction and inquiry was no longer teacher based, but student driven and the level of motivation was off the scale! I forced the students to talk about what they were doing and how “boring” their ideas were to really exciting works of art! They stated to think about their process and began to listen to one another regarding the production of their art. The more personal the artwork became, the more motivation and effort were visible. The girls were asking one another to be critical in viewing their progress and listened carefully to suggestions and questioned reasons for the comments. They became more critical in their own thought and creative process and more motivated, spending study halls, lunch and after school time in the art room. Now I am seeing the artwork that they are working on at home! The more they explore, the more they have been motivated to create!

Right now thinking and planning for the future seems almost impossible.

During the last 9 weeks I almost always am experimenting and trying new lessons to add to my repertoire for the upcoming school year, but because of the economic environment in education it is very difficult to imagine what next year will look like for me and the other arts educators in Pennsylvania.

I want to teach Music to kids.  Our students deserve a comprehensive education.  But in the face of waning budgets and financial constraints, I am aware that I may need to provide other options.

I am usually full of ideas, conversation and other options, but I have allowed politics and the anxiety of what is ahead consume my fervor.

So, here I am deciding on and accepting ideas.  Aware and concerned, but making a decision to be revitalized in this moment.  I guess I am wondering – what are my other options?  Do those options involved taking a test?  Taking some classes?  Stepping outside of my comfort zone?  Maybe all of these?  But I am going to look for them because this morning I felt empowered when I logged in and YAHOO reminded me that I do have them 🙂

April 2012
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