Teaching Philosophy 

I believe that through cultural experiences of the arts, we are able to make sense of the world and ourselves, either by producing works or viewing and interacting with them. This has been the case throughout history. Because art responds to individual and cultural needs it provides a gateway to knowledge.

Educating through art may be approached through a combination of the following methods: Expressionist, Reconstructivist, and Scientific Rationalist. I do not necessarily see these as conflicting models but instead, I feel that they are individual streams that have the potential to intertwine and compliment each other as a unified educational approach.

The expressionistic approach (art for art’s sake) honors the child’s innate potential for creativity and imagination and strives to protect, nurture and foster development while respecting the child’s autonomy.

The Reconstructivist lens of art education (art is a means to an end other that art) recognizes the potential for art education as being a powerful tool for historical and moral guidance, which fosters critical thinking capacities by providing a rich environment in which to exercise theoretical and analytical practices providing possibilities for social change.

Scientific rationalism (learning to reason through observation and perception) employs an inquiry-based approach to learning. This method considers both philosophical and psychological matters pertaining to art as contributing factors in cognition. Art then, is the means to both intellectual and human development.

As an educator, I feel that all three of these streams are equitably valid and offer truly meaningful educational experiences through art, leading to the intellectual, social, and cultural development of an individual. 

Art is the most profound way in which a group of people can understand their culture and other cultures. Somehow art gets at the soul of who we are as a people. It transcends race, class, and gender. It transcends sexual orientation. It transcends history. It transcends war. It, for me, is the only thing that truly is eternal. Histories get rewritten and changed. They get buried. But art, for some reason, manages to remain untainted.
— Marcus Gardley, playwright

Project-Based Learning

"Real World Learning" for Today!

Well-designed project-based learning (PBL) has been shown to result in deeper learning and more engaged, self-directed learners. Learn more about the five core elements of successful PBL in this video, then get more resources at Edutopia: https://www.edutopia.org/project-based-learning Archival footage courtesy of the Prelinger Archives: https://archive.org/details/prelinger

Sample Lessons from Elementary, Middle, and High School.

For more lessons visit In the Art Room.

Elementary Printmaking Lesson

Monoprint Printmaking

Students learned how to make monoprints using miscellaneous tools for mark marking and the table as a printing plate. Monoprinting is a process whereby only one print is pulled from the printing plate. This can be modified for any grade level or ability.

Grade:  May be modified for all Grades  

Time: One 50 min. class

Materials:Tempera paint (squirt bottles), mark making tools (purchased or found), table (used as the printmaking plate), masking tape (to section off printing surface), large format printmaking paper of finger painting paper.

Learning Objectives: 

  •  Experience a variety of mark making techniques. 
  • Learning the concept of monoprint-monotype (one print from a plate).
  • Learn about reverse imagery through the experience of printmaking. 


 Fourth/Fifth Grade Printmaking on the table with tempera paint and mark making tools.

 Fourth/Fifth Grade Printmaking on the table with tempera paint and mark making tools.

Middle School Weaving Lesson

Navajo Inspired Weaving 

Sixth graders were introduced to both traditional and contemporary Navajo weaving and weavers. We explored both the similarities between the contemporary and traditional styles as well as how they have changed within the Navajo culture.

The students created these bracelets with color, pattern, and texture on a cardboard loom with yarn. Considerations included color scheme, symmetry, symbolism and personal identity. 

Please visit my Lesson Introduction on Prezi 


Sixth grade wristband weaving projects. 

Sixth grade wristband weaving projects. 

High School Printmaking Lesson

Inspired by Tunisian Collaborative Painting 

Exploring Woodcut printmaking Group Project (and individual option)  Grade Level: 9-12

The Big Idea:

Students will work together in selected groups of four to create a large format wood cut print incorporating the Tunisian Collaborative Painting technique.  Tunisian Collaborative Painting (TCP) requires groups of artists to apply a set of rules that result in a cohesive painting with the appearance of a sole artistic presence.

The painters work in silence for an allotted period, and there is no preconceived subject The concept behind Tunisian Collaborative Painting is simple, yet profound. It celebrates the oneness of all human beings and the wonder of the creative process.

As a group of four they will decide how they will approach the work in regards to design, technique, process and operations. Each group will complete a 4 x 4 foot wood cut carved out of plywood. Students will pull four canvas prints (one for each student). Student may choose to make individual prints on 8 x 8 “ abstracted area of the work on canvas or various printmaking papers.

This lesson was modified from the Tunisian Collaborative Painting method and could be presented as such.

Time: Ten 55-minute classes.

Enduring Understandings:

Artists can experiment by creating a conceptual work of art through collaborative interaction. Technical Skills: wood carving, wood burning, Inking and pulling prints

NVA Standards: (Those that Apply to Enduring Understandings & Technical Skills)           

VA: Cr1.1.8a Document early stages of the creative process visually and/or verbally in traditional or new media.

Collaboratively develop a proposal for an installation, artwork, or space design that transforms the perception and experience of a particular place.


Audio clip description of Tunisian Collaborative Painting:



Printmaking for Beginners (Printmaking Handbooks) by: Jane Stobart

youtube clip: MIA Printmaking Processes: Relief 


Materials Needed: 4 x4 ‘ cuts of Plywood, wood burning tools, cabinet maker carving tool, canvas on the roll, a variety of block printing ink and paper, a variety of pressing tools (be resourceful).

Daily Instruction:

Day 1: Introduce Tunisian Collaborative Painting (background and rules)

    -Tunisian artist Hechmi Ghachem created Tunisian Collaborative Painting in 1988 during the rule of President Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali. Ghachem set out to reclaim freedom of expression for Tunisian artists through collaborative paintings (see listed resources for more information)

     -Tunisian Collaborative Painting adheres to the following rules:

•  The participation of at least three artists with a maximum of seven.

•  There is no preconceived subject.

•  One artist starts the painting.

•   Anyone can paint at any time and anyone can paint over anyone else’s work.

•   One of the artists is appointed arbiter to settle any disputes;

•   If an artist thinks the painting is finished he raises his hand and the arbiter takes a vote; only a majority of the artists can declare a painting      finished.

•   A painting can take a maximum of three hours.

•   The painting is created in silence.

     -After introducing the rules for Tunisian Collaborative painting discuss have a class discussion on how these rules can be applied to this relief printmaking project

     -Have students break into working groups of four or five

     -Have students designate an arbiter and someone else to begin the work

     -Students will have a total of nine days to complete the collaborative piece

Day 2: Students begin mark making on the 4 x 4’ plywood

     -The appointed student begins the work

     -Students join in the creative process as they see fit

     -Circulate the room to observe process

    -Have students continue to keep with unspoken collaborative dialog in order to carry over until the next working day

    -Students will reflect on their experience and record it for a final reflection paragraph to be used as the formative assessment

Day 3: Have a Class Discussion Reiterating the Rules

     -Students continue their collaborative working process

     -Circulate the room to mark progress of students and ensure that the rules are in being incorporated

    -Have student reflect and record experience of the working process

Day 4: Continue Mark Making if Necessary Begin Printing Process

     -Groups that have decided that they are finished may begin the printing process

     -The same rules will apply to the printing process as in the marking process

     -Students who are printing will use resourceful methods and tools in pressing the canvas to    the plywood to make the print (brayer, rolling pin, rolling body, stepping, rubbing…)

    -Have student reflect and record experience of the working process

Day 5 through Day 8: Continue Mark Making and Printing

     -Students will continue the engraving, and wood burning mark making if they have not concluded

     -Students who are finished printing the large canvas may continue printing smaller versions of selected areas of the panel. They may use 8 x 8” canvas sections or paper

     -Circulate the room to observe progress of students and ensure the process is being adhered   to

    -Have student reflect and record experience of the working process

Day 9: Printing

     -All groups must be engaged the printing production process of the assignment at this point

     -Circulate the room to see that all groups are on task

Day 10: Final Printing Day

     -This is the final day to be printing the collaborative or individual prints

     -Have student reflect and record experience of the working process

     -Allow time for students to write and submit their reflective summery of the assignments to be turned in as a formative assessment

Evaluations: Formative

Upon completion of the assignment students will submit a final paragraph synthesizing their reflective experience of this working process.


Students will grade themselves using a rubric and answer questions about the art process and turn them in along with their final project.

 Painting from a modification of this lesson plan. Courtesy of B. Brown.

 Painting from a modification of this lesson plan. Courtesy of B. Brown.