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Michael Mize

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I wanted to share about an exciting event currently taking place at the high school where I teach. On Friday, Feb. 26th, we hosted our second annual Art Night Lock-In. The Lock-In is an all night event in which 18 students were invited to spend the entire night at school with the art teachers creating original paintings and artwork. All of the paintings created during this one night event will then be auctioned of at Southwind Gallery on March 5 in conjunction with Topeka's (or currently, Google's ) First Friday Art Walk. We were also excited that this year local artist Barbara Waterman-Peters… Continue reading… 0 comments

One of the tasks I__™ve been working on over the summer break is modifying the Daily Dose writing assignments for the painting classes, which are taught by another teacher and me. We are planning to put the entire semesters worth of assignments online at our respective teacher homepages and the students can complete them weekly at their leisure. We will then discuss the each weeks artists every Friday. This should free up a significant amount of class time daily and still allow us to incorporate the invaluable art history component. I__™m pretty excited to see how it all plays out during the course of the semester… Continue reading… 4 comments

The past couple months have been frantic and exciting. It has been a dizzying blur of activity both personal and professional that has often threatened to cause my brain to atrophy into something that closely resembles a raisin. It is the kind of busy that makes you feel as if you need to consciously prevent your eyes from crossing. It should be noted though, that I__™m not complaining. It__™s been an enjoyable frenzy, one that has encouraged and challenged me creatively. However, it also should be noted that I__™m eagerly looking forward to things slowing down a bit in the near future. I continue to prepare for my first real public exhibition, a fact that gives me a big thrill… Continue reading… 1 comment

Learning to See

by mize , April 17, 2008—12:00 AM

Topics: Drawing, Seeing, art education, originality, teaching art

It seems that a large portion of my work in teaching kids art is trying to convince students of the validity of concepts that, on the surface, seem quite contrary. Often times, it is only after these paradoxical notions are fully understood that a student will begin to see any real progress in their work. Add to this conundrum the fact that, in art, many of the significant lessons are not entirely logical or concrete. They are really more like intangible perceptions to reflect upon during the creative process; allowing them the opportunity to influence and inspire the direction of a piece. Perhaps my favorite of these vague theories is the importance of learning to see. … Continue reading… 1 comment

When Things Go Wrong

by mize , March 29, 2008—12:00 AM

Topics: Mistakes, art education, teaching art

I have found that one of the unexpected by-products of being a professional educator is that I__™m also afforded the unique opportunity to be a professional learner. It has been my experience when teaching kids art, that with a sufficiently open mind and a healthy amount of humility, I have a chance nearly everyday to learn something from the same students I__™m there to teach. What__™s even more fascinating is the variety with which these occasions present themselves. Sometimes it will be in the unique perspective and clever thinking of an individual student. Or it might be something I overhear while two kids exchange ideas and offer each other advice. Very often, student performance on various projects is a great venue for gaining valuable information… Continue reading… 3 comments

Teaching Originality

by mize , March 4, 2008—12:00 AM

Topics: art education, originality, teaching art

___When do we get to do what we want?___ I__™ve been teaching kids art, specifically teenagers, for eight years. I__™ve taught at three different schools and in two separate cities, and yet I__™ve always been haunted by this query. ___When do we get to do what we want,___ is the battle cry of the creatively suppressed adolescent who has lurking deep within them an artistic arrangement that would redefine society as we know it. If only their tyrannical art teacher would release his aesthetic strangle hold and allow them to share it with the world. The real issue here, as art teachers worldwide already know, is that should you concede, this question will instantaneously be followed by the equally frustrating statement, ___I don__™t know what to draw… Continue reading… 3 comments

Making the Grade

by mize , February 16, 2008—12:00 AM

Topics: art education, grading art, teaching art

I love teaching kids art. There are so many aspects about it that give me a strong sense of purpose and satisfaction. I simply adore art, and the opportunity to get to talk about it everyday is ideal for me. I really enjoy teenagers and the challenge of inspiring and exciting them about my subject. Much of the philosophy of teaching continues to fascinate me. And I still get excited about constantly updating, changing, and improvising my curriculum with each new semester. However, as much as there is to love about my vocation, there is one chore that time and time again fills my soul with a sense of dread and injustice: Grading.… Continue reading… 4 comments

The Daily Dose

by mize , February 2, 2008—12:00 AM

Topics: art education, teaching art

CONTINUING THE ADVENTURES OF TEACHING KIDS ART ! Mondays through Thursdays as students enter my classroom they find an image waiting for them on the overhead screen. Along with this image are a few questions for them to spend five minutes considering and answering on paper. This is their Daily Dose. While I busy myself with taking roll and checking passes, the students are getting into their art frame of mind. After they__™ve spent some time writing about the artwork of the day, we spend another five minutes or so discussing the piece and asking questions. What did they notice, think, or feel? How does the piece relate to the concepts were currently covering in class? And did a five year old paint this, because it sure looks like it.… Continue reading… 2 comments

What is Art?

by mize , January 21, 2008—12:00 AM

Topics: art education, defining art, teaching art

TALES FROM THE ART SIDE (no. 1) Random Thoughts from a High School Art Teacher Each semester I teach anywhere from three to five sections of the introductory art class which my school has dubbed, ___Art Experiences___. Now something to note about teaching kids art is that most art teachers seem to view the intro courses with a sort of reserved contempt. They will admit that the beginning classes are a curricular necessity, but they want nothing to do with them. Intro classes are very much the grunt work of the profession. … Continue reading… 8 comments