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I just found a great article with ideas and apps for assessments.

Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep ~ Scott Adams

Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up ~ Pablo Picasso

Sometimes you need to spit into the wind and see what comes back to smack ya ~ ME

I have been able to continue working with inquiry and with different things in my school to promote arts to the district and other teachers. The one lesson that I have discussed in small ways before on this blog is the ceiling tiles done by students for different teachers. They were able to personalize paintings for every teacher eithe by their “teachers” personal likes, or by the subject they are teaching.

Well, I knew how it was going from my end of things until i was pleasently surprised today by another teacher. I went into her room knowing that students painted many tiles for her. When I entered the room there were many more done. I asked who had completed more tiles and she stated a student that I had in class the year before. This student didnt have the chance to have my class again, so decided to do art on her own to beautify another room. It was amazing to see her work, which she had to take home to complete since she does not have art class. I just didnt know what to say. I didnt know how to even react other than proud that the arts are still living in the students even during the times where schools are wanting to dismiss the arts as a budget problem.






The life skills class has even been able to expand their classroom by art tiles. 



After reading Jenifer Joyce’s post (about doing the survey, planning a great trip, and having most of the kids back out) I was reminded to post about my survey outcome. I did post the survey results and my plans to do a video family interview style to help the kids do some family roots research. Well, after doing some acting games, some fun interviews with the other kids in the class, I was totally unsuccessfut in getting the kids to interview their family. There was NO WAY they were going to videotape their family members! So, back to the drawing board.  My main problem is that I have 4 students in the class that are interested only in disrupting the class any way possible so that they can spend the rest of the day in in-school-suspension. The other students are really worried about going against them in any way. I have a few kids who will go along, but I hate to put the pressure on them. So, I decided to go with their second survey selection – learning how to act. So, since the PSSA test is around the corner, what better practice than reading Shakespeare so that we can do all of those literary elements?  So far, only one of the 4 superstars has maintained that she is not going to participate. We are moving on without her. My goal is to make it look like so much fun that even she will want to join in. Donna mentioned someone who could teach them some fencing – I’m ready! Any other ideas are greatly appreciated.

Because my son knew I was having problems being motivated since my surgery, he bought me the coolest birthday present! He sent me a Fotodiox collapsible Chromakey green and blue background (listed as such on and a new app called Kromath3.

The green screen unfolds from a small circle out to a 5×7 rectangle with tabs on each side to attach. I hung it on the back wall of the classroom. I bought some cheap utility lights at Lowes because shadows make green screen difficult. then.
In social studies, the students are writing biographies on African Americans they admire. I asked them to think of ways they could present this information without reading it. I gave the iPad2 to the students and turned them loose. Below is the first example of a presentation!

This video, Clarence Thomas Green Screen, can be viewed on the wiki space:

Sorry, for some reason, vimeo has put this up-side down 😦

This meeting we decided on our inquiry question, “How doing inquiry based experience create independent learners in our discipline?

We then talked about and discussed how we were going to measure independence. We decided to survey our students and post the findings on our wiki page for the Independents.

After we working with inquiry and independence in our classroom over the course of the next couple of months we will then again pole our students to see if there was any growth within our student body.

We will also be taking pictures/videos and use physical work to show how our students are working and thinking creatively, criticially, and independently.

This morning we are primarly working on getting everyone… including myself up to date with all blog posts. We are also struggling and fighting with technology. So mainly we are all pounding on our computers getting things that need to be done, done. We have also spent this morning talking about what are classes are doing and how we are documenting our students. We are mostly using pictures and videos to document this.

This afternoon we will begin talking about our sandbox what we may want to present. What we may want to use technology wise. What physical projects or samples that we may want to bring in.

Today we have been very productive.

When learning necessary art and music skills, where can the balance between inquiry-based and teacher-directed instruction be found? (or: which instructional strategies work best)

I have found that my inquiry has changed as time changes and needs change in my class. I wanted to do stained glass with students but didn’t have the supplies at first. Becuse of this, I had to become creative in getting materials. I created a “business” for my class. We decided to sell our art to buy supplies for our class, which motivated several students that were not motivated for school in general. We decided that the students would supply thegalas for a project and I would supply everything else. We would then talk in a collaborative way on how we would maout our projects and to whom we would sell our work.

To give a better understanding I will attempt to explmanga few of the many changes that took place from inquiry and collaboration in my room.

One student hated being in school but loved art. He would not do assignments on painting because he didn’t feel he was good enough. He actually approached me about stained glass which opened up this entire thought. He had to buy glass since i didn’t have those supplies. I didn’t fee it was right to have him pay for having class so we decided to sell what he made to Supplement getting more glass for more projects.

We decided to do Christmas ornaments and sell them to the school. This raised several questions, such as what will they look like, what will we sell them for and who will we be marketing our product to. We also had to decide how we were going to inform the school that these items will be for sale. I let the student decide how he was going to get the “word out” to the school, and he came up with at first just word of mouth. Then as that progressed, he started to realize that we had a morning announcement session in our school and he could place our items on that which is shown across the televisions in every room of the school. The ornaments were for sale for 15 dollars each, which he thought was a high price and no one would buy. We ended up selling 27 or so, and even to members of his family which were not at our school. The students and teachers would have to place an order deciding what color they wanted and which ornament they would pick. they could also have them engraved with a special message or the year if they decided. They got to choose from two different things.



These items creqated a flury in my class and this student in particular. He started to see that he could make money creating art, and he was actually getting good at it. His excitement gained momentum as he started to get more people asking for other art projects to be made for them. This once again opened up another inquiry process.

We could not fill the orders required if we did not have more students involved doing the work. This student took it on his own to recruit other students to do jobs that he felt they could handle to fill the orders. We stayed for hours after school to finish the orders and made enough money to pay for what he bought and also to buy more materials for future projects to be sold. We then had to decide what the next thing was we were going to try to market. We came up with the fact that Valentines day was the next holiday we could prepair for. The students went back and fort with many ideas and made prototypes of each piece they thought would be good to sell and how they would market these items.

We as a class ended up agreeing on picture frames with a heart on either corner. Which was in itself a great idea, but caused the students to start to think further into the future rather than just on the completion of the project at hand. They decided that the next project should be a picture fame designed just for seniors in the highschool. Which touched on the subjects we were discussion about target audiences for their crafts. They made a prototype of this frame and began marketing it. I will post a picture to follow and then discuss how they decided they were going to get the word out to the school.


The student that did not like school and felt there was nothing in school that was going to help him started to actually come to school more often. His attitude changed in a dramatic way. He was no longer wishing to miss school, and was actually coming to my class every morning and any free time he had throughout the day. He would ask other teachers if he was caught up with his work if he could come to my room and work on his projects. He also stayed for hours after school on many occasions with me and other students to continue his “new job”.

His new way of reaching students was to utilize facebook. He posted a picture of this picture frame and tagged every senior that he had on his list. He asked that they forward it to friends that he might not have on his list and took comments for what they though of it. Which in its own way once again opened up the need for collaboration and inquiry on his, my and other students parts. He had to come up with how much he was willing to wave as to the colors of the frame, special orders and things of that nature. We talked about how it was not practical to buy every color of glass to be able to fill any type of order we may get. So he limited it to specific c0lors and a black or white tossel cap for boys or girls. The year is made with twisted metal wire we had in the class. He has begun orders and has set a deadline for them to be able to make sure he can fulfill the ruquired orders before the end of the year.

Since that he has also embarked on making different stained glass pieces which are not to be sold at the school but rather to community businesses. His biggest work is that of a chess board. NOW. With that being said. He also has spent hours getting community involvement in these projects. He contacted his aunt who owns a wood salvage business “dealing with drift wood and rare findings wood”. She gave him a very special type of wood that is three hundred years old to complete his chess board. He utilized his father who is a contractor to build the base for his work. He also did research on the internet to find cheaper project materials and the actual chess pieces. He is looking to sell this project to Nemacolin Woodlands marketing to a higher social economic demographic.




AND YET ANOTHER CHANGE IN INQUIRY!!!!  Now other students that are not totally on board with stained glass started wondering how they can make their art known to the school as well.  So they decided to start going out into the school to find what was needed.  Some stuck with the ceiling tile and teachers requests and other started other projects.  more to come in the next blog.  Have a great day and comment please.

I recently downloaded an app that takes photos and enables you to edit them, draw, or automatically change them into comic strips. This lets the students create stories, presentations, what ever in an artistic way that isn’t very difficult. Try it, Comic Life


While trying to document my time on Nov. 7, I realized that I was pushing the technological boundaries of Canonsburg hospital!  Before the meeting started, I asked the nurses if the had wireless access for their patients.  Since I had just arrived at the rehab facility from Allegheny General, I hadn’t tried to get access to anything myself.  The nurses had no idea if they had patient access! The next time she came back in the room, I was Skyping! As she walked out of the room, I heard her say to another nurse , “She is Skyping into a class from Canonsburg Hospital – that’s a new one!”  So, I skyped on my computer for a few hours, logged into the Wiki live a few hours, and when those wouldn’t work, I phoned Diane for updates.  All of this enabled me to meet my new CIG to plan our new inquiry question through discussion about our classrooms. This gave me the opportunity to listen to how others were planning to take inquiry into their classrooms. Let the games begin 🙂





Based on this statement from :


Based on John Dewey‘s philosophy that education begins with the curiosity of the learner, we use a spiral path of inquiry: asking questions, investigating solutions, creating new knowledge as we gather information, discussing our discoveries and experiences, and reflecting on our new-found knowledge

I can’t help but focus on the quote, “education begins with the curiosity of the learner.”  My job from this moment is to discover what my students are curious about. This will drive my curriculum for my communications class for the new 9 weeks beginning when I get back to the classroom.  I have decided to make a survey that my substitute can give to my social studies students. These students will represent the 7th grade student body of my district. I will develop questions to help me discover what my students will use in the path of inquiry.


September 2020

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