Election 2016: Delaware State Reps & Senators Who Will Have To Run Again

I dream or maybe a goal. What do these people think about the arts? Who will run that is new and what do they think? I may have a lot of emails to send out.

Exceptional Delaware 2018

Election Day 2016.  The day politics can change in a heartbeat or remain the status quo.  For the past seven years, we’ve had a Democrat trifecta in Delaware.  The Dems rule the Governor seat and the majority of the House and Senate seats.  For the past twenty-three years, the Dems have ruled the Governor and Senate seats.  Many talk about a “blue Delaware”, but the House was ruled by the Republicans for a long time prior to 2008.

All 41 of the House seats are up for re-election next year.  11 out of 21 Senate seats are up as well. The big issues in 2016 are going to be the economy, the budget and education.  The following Delaware Senators will have to start campaigning soon if they decide to run for another four years:

Harris McDowell, Democrat, 1st District

Catherine Cloutier, Republican, 5th District

Patricia Blevins, Democrat, 7th District

David Sokola…

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Delaware Professional Appraisal System 101: Part 3 of 6

I felt very long-winded in my last post about DPAS II, so I am going to summarize a lot more and use more headings.  Time is always short and I believe less is more.  I wish the writers of this evaluation system agreed.

Component Two: Classroom Environment

This component focuses on how you set up, organize, and run your classroom on a daily basis.  Overall, the more student centered you make your classroom, the better your scores on the Criterion rubric will be.  Directions and procedures should be posted and when asked, students should be able to explain the directions and procedures. This component has four elements which I will explain in this order of appropriateness for art teachers.

2c: establishing a Culture for Learning

This element makes sense and is something that every teacher should strive to create.

2d: Organizing Physical Space

Some elements are optional and this one tends to be popular because the teacher cannot control where they teach.  I do think however that it gives schools a pass.  If the art teacher is on a cart or doesn’t have access to a sink it should be noted somewhere.  Some administrators are unwilling to look outside the box and find better teaching situations and if no one speaks up, process cannot be made.

2b: Managing Student Behavior

This is a big one and it really focuses on the individual students which is good, but challenging for a teacher who teaches hundreds of kids with little to no assistance.  I believe the criterion rubric is harsh for elementary art teachers and rubric should be modified to fit different teaching situations.

2a: Managing Classroom Procedure

This is my BIG ONE for this component.  I was put on expectations for this a few years ago because my administrator did not understand my content area.  Clean up time is an important part of every art class.  Clean up time is usually at the end of class, but it is a part of the learning process.  To be a successful creator ones has to be able to use media correctly and clean up when finished.  My administrator considered clean up a waste of instructional time which is mentioned on the criterion rubric over and over again.  Clean up is instructional time.  I had to create a crazy system where I cleaned up the room and the students did sponge activities.  I hated it and tried to explain the learning involved and my reasoning was dismissed due to ignorance of the visual arts.  To be proficient here, I would post all routines, procedures, and repeated transitions even if not in use that day.

Take away:  Administrators should be trained about the differences between a grade level class and a content area class.  Maybe we should be observed by an specialists in our field too.  Teachers remember students should be able to explain your classroom environment when asked.  Practice this and ask your students.  Your classroom should look good and be functional for everyone.  Stay Tuned!

EduShyster: Can a Teacher Learn to Act Like a Robot?

OMG! The day I have to wear an earpiece to teach is the day I quit! Please read this crap! And this is happening in the USA! God help us!

Diane Ravitch's blog

EduShyster posted an article by Amy Berard, who taught sixth grade in Lawrence, Massachusetts, where she became trained in what was called “No Nonsense Nurturing.” She had to wear a wireless earpiece and receive instructions from three coaches who sat in the back of her classroom, telling her what to say, how to act, how to respond to students, how to stand. She eventually left the district. She was “not the right fit.” Apparently, she got the idea that she was a professional, a human being with thoughts and feelings, and that what she was asked to do was unprofessional and dehumanizing.

It is a shocking article. This is how it begins:

“Give him a warning,” said the voice through the earpiece I was wearing. I did as instructed, speaking in the emotionless monotone I’d been coached to use. But the student, a sixth grader with some impulsivity issues and…

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The Mastery Process: How Our Skills Grow

Creative by Nature

“Skills and abilities only develop when knowledge is applied directly and used creatively in meaningful situations, not on multiple choice tests. This is as true for basketball and piano playing as it is for cooking, reading, karate, mathematics, parenting, democratic decision-making and brain surgery.”

1521638_695857763779389_1697484308_nThink about a young child, or any talented athlete, artist, scientist and musician. How did they develop their skills and understandings? Those who have studied successful mastery describe a common path and process that is followed, one that requires practice, effort, patience, creativity and concentration.

Take the example of language learning. All children are born with the potential to learn new languages, they have brains that we might compare to “language learning” hardware in a computer. Over time they master the specific language of those who surround them, what we might compare to software.

1014043_610248005673699_1692193082_nBut this is where the similarity between machines and humans ends. With…

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“EDIT”I found it! How Do You Learn to Be an Artist?


I have been looking for the above article forever and I was looking for an email and finally found it again!!!

I never meant Mercedes Matter, but I am sure I would have loved her!  Please read the link above because she is so right today just as she was in 1973.

Here is an email I wrote to a friend, one who nominated me for Delaware Art Teacher of the Year.  I wrote this email, excerpt below, when I was really have a hard time with my administrators, still trying to find the reasons why everything was happening to me.  If you haven’t realized, I am a very passionate person and I do not sugar coat or hold back: a strength or weakness, it depends on the day.  Enjoy my emotional writing!

Art education in my school is DEAD.  I am teaching, talking, thinking like every other teacher in my building.  And my brain and soul are screaming out for help!  I am an art teacher!  This is not how it is done!   What is going on! 

Sooooo I googled, “How do you learn to be an artist?” and I found this article entitled the same as my question.  I cried while reading it because she is right.  She is just as right today as she was in 1973 and I had never heard of her before…..  PLEASE READ.


  1. Students should be creating art, everyday in art class, no questions, point blank!
  2. Art is a process!!!!  One learns during it, not before (this is preparation), not after (that is reflection, DURING!!!!! Learning occurs during the art MAKING process. 
  3. Art class needs an IEP, its personal, independent, and individual to each student.

So, after reading the article and making my 3 above conclusions.  The ONLY whole component in DPASII that completely applies to the “true” and “best” art education experience is Component 4: Professional Responsibilities.

We know how to make artists.  We know how to teach creativity.  We are the only place in a school left that students are able to learn the skills needed in a creative, changing, future society.  Art teachers have been doing it the best they could in between the lines and under the radar for years.  That is how I learned from George Shotzberger.  We did a writing piece here, he gave a multiple choice test there, and he created rubrics for grades so he can prove to others we learned, but now……..

  • My students are writing more than creating.
  • My students are discussing more than creating.
  • My students are being assessed more than creating.

Since the first day of school, six weeks ago, each child in my school has completed ONE 9by12 piece of artwork in pencil and crayon.  ONE……

WHAT KIND OF ART EDUCATION AM I PROVIDING………  this is why I cry at night.  this is why it takes me hours and hours to write lesson plans.  this is why I hate my job.


We have to do something.  I have plans, small ones, but plans.

  1. My district started the idea of “clusters” for our gifted and talented program a few years ago.  It is not gifted and talented at all and in the past I hated, but this year, it will give me a unique opportunity because it is interest based and learner focused.  No standards needed, no lesson plans to write.  Students will choose what to make, and the materials needed.  (I get extra money for this too, so I can go buy stuff I don’t have.)They will decide what they will do each day and create their own timeline for completion.  At the end, I plan on recording them talking about their art, their process, their future plans.  I guarantee they will learn.  I don’t have to talk about it, assess it, write damn lesson plans, go to meetings, talk to my partner, or nothing.  All I have to do is guide and be there when I am needed.  Maybe I can make some art of my own….That is how art education should be.  

Delaware Art Teacher of the Year for 2016!

I really do not like to toot my own horn, but I need to start so I can continue to draw viewers and supporters of the arts in Delaware’s educational system.  I have been chosen to be Delaware’s Art Teacher of the Year for 2016.  I am very honored to get this award and truly hope that I can use it to further drive home the importance of art, creativity, innovation and the god given right to create just because I want too.  I will be honored at a banquet in March.  I will post the registration form when it is available if anyone is interested.  I feel like I have a new set of friends in cyber space.  If you live in or near Delaware, please come.  These banquets are informal and a great way to reflect, renew, and rejoice in our dedication to education!

Symphonic Intelligence: The Next Revolution in Learning?

I love this blog and watched the movie “Lucy” too! I am glad that drugs are not the end all be all!

Creative by Nature

“All truths are easy to understand once they are discovered; the point is to discover them.” ~Galileo Galilei

Screen Shot 2015-07-20 at 9.18.16 AM

Watching the film “Lucy” over the weekend (its number 1 here in Japan’s DVD rental shops) I was amazed that the director said he had talked with at least a dozen Nobel prize scientists before making the movie. Whomever these scientists were, they seemed to live in an alternate Universe, where leading educational theories such as Howard Gardner’s MI theory, the psychology of “flow” and the educational application of neuroplasticity research is unknown.

In one of the interviews with a scientist who helped advise the film he talked about the power of ADHD drugs. Its like he was clueless to what psychological researchers know about mindfulness training and how skills are self-constructed by learners over time, through long term practice and application. This is neuroplasticity in action, the potential for child to develop a wide range of skills, when their learning and…

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