Professional Development

I really liked taking Making Faces with Lynn Whippe. The two week format was a lot to absorb, so I’m planning to rewatch the videos over the summer and make some more faces in order to focus in on how to use some of these ideas with students next year. I do know that I will definitely be teaching one or two Portrait ATC assignments inspired by this course! Stay tuned. 🙂



I have enjoyed many of the Making Faces prompts so far. They are introducing me to new ways of sequencing steps. Lesson three is called “Facing Backwards” and provides multiple prompts for creating backgrounds and layering faces on top of them. Lesson four is all about collaging. Some of these are made by cutting up and rearranging other portraits that I didn’t like as much. I’m really excited to try something similar with some of my classes next year. I’m not sure if all of these are “done” yet, but I’ve really enjoyed the process so far which is the whole point. 🙂


Making Faces has begun! The course is only two weeks long, and I signed up a few days after the start date, so I’ve been playing a bit of catchup with the assignments.


I’m currently teaching two self-portrait lessons–one with second graders and one with third graders. After watching the course description video, I realized that my portrait lessons often focus on self-portraits and I began to question why that is. Yes, self-portrait assignments are great for developing observation skills, practicing mixing tans, browns and beige skin tones and personal expression. But I’d also like to mix it up a bit.


Each of the six lessons in this course is presented as a 20-25 minute video. Lynn provides multiple prompts for “warming up” and encourages being playful and experimental throughout the process. Below are a few images from lessons 1-3. 🙂



Sarah Sze, Triple Point

Sarah Sze, Triple Point (Gleaner), 2013

I am taking a PD class through the EDCO Collaborative called Teaching from Contemporary Art:  A Participatory Exploration. The class is lead by Lois Hetland, a professor at Mass Art and research associate at Harvard University. I first heard of Lois’ 8 Studio Habits of Mind in grad school and they have informed my teaching philosophy and lesson plans over the years. As part of my teacher evaluation, I am drafting a goal related to making studio habits more visible to my students, and am excited to see how this class will inform and impact my goals this year.

At the first class, we looked at the work of Sarah Sze. Sze is a New York based contemporary artist who creates sculptures and site-specific installations using common, everyday objects. In 2013, she represented the United States at the 55th Venice Biennale. Lois had traveled to Venice to see the Biennale that year, so our conversation centered around using Thinking Routines to look at and discuss Sze’s installation Triple Point. Here are a few images of her work:


Sarah Sze, Triple Point (Planetarium), 2013


Sarah Sze, Triple Point (Planetarium) detail, 2013

04 Sarah Sze . Triple Point (Rotunda) . 2013

Sarah Sze, Triple Point (Scale), 2013

What do you see? What do you think? What do you wonder?


In addition to this blog, I wanted to create a space for parents and students to get to know me, access our district goals, and find pertinent information and policies that guide my teaching. Over the summer I took a PD class called Creating a Classroom Website. Today was the last day of the course and I am excited to share the results! Visit to view my site.