Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Using Artsonia As The New Art Room Motivator


     This year in my Art 1 classes I decided that I wanted to find a way to motivate my students and connect with them and their parents in a way that is more on their level. I also had an issue last year with letting my students take their art work home, and then they would never return it and then I was left with very little art work to display at the Art Fair at the end of the year. I totally understood their excitement at having a finished art piece and wanting to share that with family and friends. So I went in search of an alternative and thanks to Pinterest I found Artsonia. It's an online art gallery that lets me upload my students art work on to the site and then they can go and view it and share it with friends and family. I also like that it is in some ways much like a social network, something that all of the students can relate to. They even have a place to share, make comments, and even an App that the students and parents can download to their iphone.
        Taking this on I knew would mean more work for me, but after my first upload of art work I knew it was worth it. I had uploaded some of my students work and one of my students had rushed a bit when he was mounting and did not do the best job. Now I had really been preaching to them that a big part of their art work is craftsmanship and presentation. When he saw his picture up on the Smartboard in class when we viewed them as a class he made the comment that showed me all of the picture uploads and picture cropping was worth it. He saw his work and said, "Man, Ms. Latham I'm ashamed at how mine looks because I rushed and thats not going to happen next time! I want mine to look good if all of these people are going to be looking at it and if it's going to be up their next to everyone else's." And sure enough the next project that kid made sure that he took his time, used the ruler, and did a much better job of mounting his picture. He was so proud when we pulled the new projects up and his looked good.
       My students and I also like that there is a ranking system and you can see where your ranking is for your state and in your grade level. Right now we are #6 in our state for High School and overall we are #21. When we first stated we were ranking #32 overall and #9 in our state and level. But my kids asked if they could get to number #1 would I take them on a field trip and that has become a HUGE motivation. Now to move up on ranking it's a combination of things. It's a combination of how many comments our art work receives, how many pieces of art work we post, and my students involvement (such as artist statements and such). Its also amazing to see how excited my students get when they see that they have new comments or that 13 people have viewed their newly posted art work. It has really got them wanting to create and do good work. They are also a very competitive group and like to go and look to compare their work to other schools. It has helped my push them to make better art, which I love and I have to say that I am even enjoying this, watching them get so excited about it.

        I also like that I can send a link to the other faculty and staff at my school and share what is going on in the art room. Many teachers have said that they have enjoyed looking at the students art and have even joined in with me in encouraging my little artist. That really blew some of the students away, when some of the other teachers at the school left comments and said that they didn't know that they were that creative...boy talk about make a kids day!  That's what my job is all about and thats when I really feel like a teacher. On those awesome days when everyone is working, music is playing and a kid happens to look at the clock and says, "Oh man class is almost over...why does this class always go by so fast?" I heard the best thing the other day, one student said to another, "I've been watching the clock all day waiting to get to this class. I was going to check out but didn't want to miss art class." That made all of the stress, mess, consistent cleaning up and more cleaning, all the craziness, extra work, and never seeming to get a lunch break all worth it!

     So if you're an art teacher and looking for a great motivator give something like Artsonia a try. There is also the opportunity to use the site to raise money for your art room. I haven't really got into this too much but I like that the parents have the option to purchase their students art work and help out the art dept. while doing it. It's a win win :)

  Go check out our art gallery and let me know what you think. Maybe leave a comment or two for a student and make someones day.
Here is the link http://www.artsonia.com/schools/school.asp?id=131588

~Till Next Time :)


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