Angeline Pittenger, Proximity Learning art teacher, wanted to help 6th, 7th, and 8th-grade students at Lake Ridge Middle School highlight their art in an innovative way. Ms. Pittenger is a veteran online english teacher, but this is her first year teaching art virtually so she turned to technology to support with showcasing their work.
How to Innovate the Art Classroom
After looking into digital tools to aid this project, she eventually found ArtPlacer. The program would allow students to upload their art digitally to create a virtual gallery.
To get the students involved, Ms. Pittenger called on them to customize their gallery. She says, “You can change the gallery, you can change the floor, you can change the layout. So, the students voted on the gallery setup they wanted.”
The Lake Ridge students were involved in all aspects of the show. “The art show was so much more exciting, and the actual flyer was better than I would have made it by myself because they added their feedback to it.” Ms. Pittenger goes on to commend her students for pushing boundaries and challenging her to not stay within the status quo. “As an adult often, I’m like, ‘This is the way that this should be done,’ and they often come up with ideas that just wouldn’t have occurred to me.”
As part of the process to convert the physical art to the online gallery, students learned how to photograph their work. In a world where digital art is the latest trend, these skills will be valuable to students for years to come.
Involving Parents in Virtual Learning
During the live gallery show on Thursday, March 24th, families and students joined in to view the art and engage through the virtual guest book. Ms. Pittenger knows that through virtual learning, families can feel disconnected. Finding ways for parents to get involved helps them feel more connected to their child’s education.
Forming Connections Through Virtual Instruction
Ms. Pittenger connects with her students via virtual instruction through a variety of tactics. “One thing that I have done this year was to have individual conversations with each one of them. Having a one-on-one breakout room chat to see how they are doing. I also have students who chat with me during class by sending me direct messages.” This one on one dialogue helps students feel comfortable and connected.
“I’ve done a lot of surveys to see what is working in the class and what is not working. [The surveys] give them the opportunity to tell me what they need. Like sometimes they need more interaction and less lectures. I am consistently, through nearpods and then assessment and self-assessments, just trying to have a feedback loop back and forth.”
Ms. Pittenger wants her students to know that she is there for them and cares about their input and success. Through initiatives like the art showcase, she allows her students to have an outlet to challenge themselves and think outside the box.
The showcase will be live until April 14, 2022 so check it out while you can.
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