A suitcase-packing, airplane-catching art teacher, shaking up students world with globally inspired, tradigital learning. Pack your bag and come along on the journey!

Goal for Fund for Teachers Fellowship: The Globalsystem.

As I get ready to go to Istanbul on a Fund for Teachers Fellowship and professional learning experience, I am deep in thought about how I can use this experience to further the role of art education in our K-12 schools.

Ive been thinking about and preparing for this experience for months now and the creative side of my brain has thought of quite a few mosaic projects for elementary art students and also secondary students.

I think the real meaning in this experience, however, is cultural.

How can students grow because of my experience? Thats the real question.

Its a deep, thought provoking question.

It can be very complex, if I let it, or it can be fundamentally simple. Which approach is the correct one? Well, I dont think anything simple really allows for a lot of growth.

We find growth in the moments, activities, events, and thoughts that challenge us. So, as a teacher this tells me that the curriculum I write and the activities that follow this trip need to be challenging.

But what are these challenges and how do I relate them to elementary art curriculum? To secondary art curriculum?

In this blog post I am going to try to summarize the overall challenging points I will focus on post-fellowship:

1.WestMeets East:The Internet, social media, all things technological have made our world so much smaller than it used to be.The fact that logistically the east and the west are halfway across the world from each other are probably the most logical reason why our cultures are not as known to each other. One goal of this project will be to introduce western students to eastern, or middle-eastern, culture, history, geography, and the arts. This will be achieved through: a) Filming of videos and video clips.b) Photography of both traditional tourist types of attractions and historical monuments, but also the every day life of the Turkish people of Istanbul and the common things.3) Art curriculum written with a social studies, math, language arts, science, and technology integration, which has the goal of connecting Turkish art forms with a story, either historical of contemporary. Curriculum written will have the goal of introducing western students to eastern life.

2.Sagacious Not Stereotypical:Higher-level thinking will be encouraged as students explore the similarities and differences of culture.As often happens in any culture, the media influences opinion that develops between the east and west.Students will be encouraged to examine their sense of self and place and how they coexist in the world with others who have differing religious, political, and moral or ethical views. This will be achieved by using the Twitter hashtag sagaciousstudents; a social media forum where students and others can share hopefully positive information about the east and west; about middle-eastern culture and western culture. An example would be someone Tweeting a short description of a food or showing an image of public art, etc.

3.Mosaic Mastery:Through a variety of projects, inspired by the middle east and the Roman, Byzantine, and Ottoman empires in Istanbul, and also by contemporary, modern day Istanbul, students in K-12 will be explore a variety of mosaic projects through curriculum written as part of this fellowship.

4.Encouraging Earthly Empathy:Through efforts associated withWest Meets East,Sagacious Not Stereotypical(sagacious), andMosaic Mastery, students will be encouraged to learn empathetic skills which recognize that each human being on our planet has purpose, has something to offer to the world, should be respected for similarities and differences, and is a product of their environment.When students of any age and from any region, country, or continent learn to respect life the world will be a gentler place. Art offers a unique venue to explore thoughts and feelings in the educational setting.

Research:Urie Bronfenbrenner (1917-2005) was born in the Soviet Union, immigrated to the United States when he was six years old with his family, and was an American developmental psychologist. He is most known for his Ecological systems of theory regarding child development.His research brought much attention to the environmental and societal influences on child development. His research on the microsystem and the macrosystem indicated that students may live in a microsystem, but they are greatly affected by the larger world around them in their classroom, their school, their community, their neighborhood, their country, their world, and so on, their macrosystem.He felt that prior to his research developmental psychology mostly studied children in strange environments in strange studies by strangers.His lifelong work focused on the students direct environment having the biggest affect on the childs development.Bronfenbrenner helped establish the Head Start Program for the federal government in the mid-1960s.

Keeping Bronfenbrenners theory in mind, students that experience the curriculum and activities associated withIstanbul: A Mosaic of Meaningwill have opportunity to broaden their microsystem, expand their own macrosystems, and grow in their knowledge and understanding of the globalsystem. I have spent a lot of time in my life with artists in every field of the fine arts-band, choir, theatre, dance, and the visual arts.One commonality that I find among artists is a large percentage of us are soulful, heartful, caring people who respect the similarities and differences in others, and who are always challenging themselves to be better. The microsystem, macrosystem, and global system all directly influence art making.

Weve learned that art making is the perfect ecological system for expressing our humanity; we are not machines of science, technology, engineering, and math as the STEM movement would have us explore.We are living, breathing, feeling, emoting individuals full of steam, STEAM, just add art to STEM.Its impossible to have any educational discipline without art. Think about that for awhile. Right now, where you are sitting reading this, you are surrounded by art of some kind. Maybe it is the industrial design of the computer you are using, maybe it is the architectural design of the building you are in, maybe it is the flora and fauna surrounding you as you read this and the landscape design, or maybe there is a painting hanging on the wall where you are working and reading. The list goes on. You get the point. Even today I read an article that reported on medical students being asked to draw the human body in an effort to more closely understand it. You get the point.Istanbul: A Mosaic of Meaningwill connect the life of the student and educators participating in it with the globalsystem and how all of humanity fits into it. That may be a bit philosophical, but, oh yes, art and philosophy are also great partners.Dr. Suess might have said it best inThe Lorax, Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. Its not.There is always room for improvement, and globally that just couldnt be more evident. We grow as human beings when we challenge ourselves. Im definitely challenging myself on this Fund for Teachers Fellowship, simply because it is halfway around the world from home. As a teacher I know that if I dont challenge myself, ultimately, I wont be able to challenge my students.When my classroom is an assembly line of production, rather than an inventive laboratory of learning the mosaic of meaning is pretty simple.When the classroom challenges us, all of us, the mosaic becomes epic, much like the beautiful mosaics in the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul. Epic education. That sounds like a great goal for a Fund for Teachers Fellowship. Art is much more than art. Art has a unique ability to give meaning to our global existence, celebrate our similarities, and unite our differences. And we end up with something beautiful (hopefully) to look at, too!

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I attended a mosaic workshop in Istanbul, Turkey with a wonderful grant from Fund for Teachers.

Spring 2015, I hosted two artists from Mexico at Kansas State University, Cilau Valadez and Augustin Cruz.

This picture in Uganda doesnt even need a caption.

TRYING to teach children to play Duck-Duck-Goose with sign language and lots of hand movements while their parents were getting tested for HIV/AIDS.

After teaching school in Uganda we went to Kenya. The Masai are beautiful! Colorful!

With good friends Surrendar and Naina from Pakistan at the Santa Fe Folk Art Market.

As a member of the NAEA delegation to Cuba, I toured many schools in Cuba.

Santa Fe, New Mexico, Museum of International Folk Art, June 2015

Being a Fund for Teachers Fellow is such an honor!

Skype-Worldwide Color Wheel Project Lesson Link

I was teaching at an orphanage in Ecuador and I just wanted to hug all the children!

Scribing with a friends business at TEDx in Dallas.

Blogger says 3500 views June 2015! This added later:

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