Day 13 of full remote-instruction.
This morning I actually said to someone: “So-so. I see that your elf has joined you in art class today. Maybe your elf can help you gather your art supplies and begin your work.” So-so: Uses elf to show me a plethora of crayons and drawing materials.
Today’s art instruction set up was pretty involved. At the kitchen table, I have a gooseneck phone holder that extends above my demonstration area. The holder had to be adjusted to hold the phone just so in order for the camera to actually view my demo area. There’s a multi-colored, stained painting towel acting as my messy mat, paper, loads of brushes and paint, my pet dish for water/sponge, crayons, colored pencils, story books for instruction about color mixing, a pair of 15” plastic scissors, my plan book, writing utensils, and behind me, an easel showcasing a monochromatic painting to teach color value.
Some troubleshooting during the practice run last night went into this arrangement, so that I could have success today. Troubleshooting also happened in class this morning when the sound, between my phone-as-a-document camera and my laptop, both on the same Google Meet, went bonkers. Quick on my feet, literally, I was able to stop the God-awful digital echo that pierced our ears. I am also lucky that my phone didn’t overheat from the extended live connection or the battery drain – I think that both situations were close.
I took a chance and continued on with the lessons I had planned last week, looking ahead to our return to learn in-person this week. I hope that wording makes sense. Last week, expecting to return to the heaven of art supplies for everyone, I planned to teach about watercolor techniques. Today began that cycle of lessons, and I was delightfully surprised at how many artists had access to paint at home. For those who did not, it was okay. I provide an approach to art education that is abundant on the Choice-Based spectrum, so there are always a variety of options when it comes to materials and topics. I focus on the Studio Habits of Mind and explicitly working through the artistic process. Especially during our virtual school, this is critical. Some artists have tons of supplies, while others have only paper and a pencil. The SHoM is the common thread that can transfer to any material and any topic.
I have experienced multiple occasions when I have been walking around my house, imagining that I truly am hearing someone joining a Google Meet. There’s a certain sound indicator for that, and I swear I hear it all of the time. I am going a little crazy.
My teaching day ended with kindergarten. What an awesome surprise it was for me when one of my artists logged on to Google Meet and there in front of me appeared a former and older artist, a graduate of last year. This was such a treasure – I did not have the opportunity to bid farewell to any of the seniors last year with hugs, kind parting words, cards, or candid pictures on graduation night. I couldn’t contain my excitement when I saw this former artist, and I’m so thankful for that moment.