Category Archives: Uncategorized

New toy.

New toy.

New toy.,
originally uploaded by TheArtGuy.

Used some Christmas cash from my parents to buy my first digital camera in years – A Canon PowerShot SX120 IS.

10x optical zoom, full manual mode, 10 megapixels, AND it still fits in my pocket since that wonderful zoom lens retracts almost completely into the body.

Does this mean I’ll be taking more pictures (and ones that aren’t from a blurry little cameraphone) this year?

Oh, I hope so.
Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

On the new position


Things I will miss:

  • The students. Sure, there will be students at the new building, But I feel this way every time I lose a building. This doesn’t get easier through repetition.
  • The staff. With some exceptions, the staff (and not just the teachers!) in all of my buildings were joys to work with.
  • Getting my hands dirty. There’s nothing like a good ceramics project. Or painting project. Or any media that requires a sink.
  • The local community. The town surrounding my base school is on my top 10 list of places to live.
  • The mobility. As an itinerant teacher I got to visit 60+ classrooms a year. For all its drawbacks, that was a great opportunity to observe vastly different learning styles and take the best from each. I am certain it has made me a better teacher.

Things I won’t miss:

  • Waking up in the morning and wondering, in my state of “not quite awake”-ness if I’m at the 7 AM building today, and therefore late, or the 8 AM building, and therefore will get there on time. (Then usually I would look at my clock and realize it was 2 AM and I should really go back to sleep.)
  • Being required to make other teachers complete certain tasks without the authority to make them complete those tasks. I will not go into details here.
  • Only seeing my students four or five times a year.
  • Having my office / storage area consist of half the conference room, separated by a temporary wall that blocked no sound whatsoever. (I wore headphones for multiple reasons.)

What I did this Summer

What I did not do:

  • Spend lots of time blogging.
  • Go to technology conferences.
  • Spend lots of time with my PLN.

What I did do:

  • Unplugged and spent quality time with the wife.
  • Plugged back in to play video games … with the wife.
  • Got a job offer for an art/tech position where I will have my own computer lab and see my students much more often than once or twice a quarter. It’s in a new K-8 school opening this year in the county.
  • Had an interview the next day.
  • Offered the job on the same day.
  • Asked what the administration’s take was on blogging.
  • Convinced administration that I could teach blogging to students in a responsible way.
  • Accepted the job.
  • Missed my exit on the way home from the interview.  Twice.

Those that know me will understand this was a decision that I was ready to make, but it still won’t be easy.  There are a lot of staff and students in my previous buildings (dang, it’s still feels odd typing that) that I’m really going to miss.  Most of them I didn’t even get a chance to say goodbye to.

I think I’m going to let this sink in for a day or two.

On Employment.

So, I might not have the same job next year. (Link opens PDF.)

Whether or not it happens, I have been thinking a bit about my little corner of the internet and its effects on my chances of getting hired.  I know some bloggers use assumed names so they just don’t ave to worry about that.  Too late for me, since last I checked googling the quite common name of “Aaron Smith” got me this result.

It is my hope, my dream, that schools with the right idea about both the arts and technology will see my ramblings here and think I am someone worth keeping in their employ.

I am also hopeful (though slightly less so) that the opposite is true – that schools with the wrong attitude towards the arts and technology will look upon my works and despair (sorry, couldn’t resist the literary reference) write me off as someone they wouldn’t want.  But then, somehow I doubt those kinds of schools would bother looking at my website in the first place.

But mostly, I’m hoping that I don’t have to look for a job in the first place.  It is a big scary world out there and I’ve yet to recieve my renewed teaching certificate (completed the last requirement in December) in the mail.  I know I was thinking of changing careers, but for some reason now does not seem the time for risk taking.

Notes from the front lines of MICCA


  1. I’ve been Plurking my experiences of the keynotes and sessions.  I’ll be moving them over to this blog for the sake of those who don’t use Plurk but still want to comment or whatever.
  2. 3rd year in a row that I’ve been stopped by someone – this time it was just because he thought since registration doesn’t open ’till 7:30am today that no one was allowed in until then.  (But if I’m not in the parking garage before 7 I don’t get the early bird special and save $20.)  Simple misunderstanding.
  3. In addition to the Plurk logs, I’ve got a new blog post half-written in my head already.  Maybe two.  Expect more from me soon.
  4. Same gentleman is now stopping everyone who walks past.  Odd that he’s stationed in the middle of the conference center and not at the front door.  (The guy at the front door just told me good morning and waved me through.)  I’m sure he means well.
  5. I left two things in my car – My MICCA badge (which I went back and retrieved before entering the building) and my soda (which I forgot even when I wsa back at my car).  Looks like I’m drinking water today.  Eh, that’s healthier for me anyway.
  6. As you can see from the above picture, Baltimore Convention Center is full of triangles.  I love this place.

What do I do with these? (Part 2)

What do I do with these? (Part 2)

What do I do with these? (Part 2),
originally uploaded by TheArtGuy.

They are scraps from old manilla folders. They measure 2.5" x 1". I have enough to supply a whole grade level with several or a single class with a lot more. (I could always cut more if needed.)

I have a few ideas, but would like to hear yours first.

Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

Susan Benarcik’s Paper Spore

It’s no secret that I love, love, LOVE paper sculpture.  Whether it’s one sheet or 2,000, printed out or made from scratch, to me there’s something aesthetically appealing about taking a planar surface and turning it into a three dimensional object.

So when this showed up in my RSS reader thanks to MAKE Magazine …. well, I had to blog about it.

susanbenarcikThis sculpture looks awesome.  On top of that, it also looks simple enough to have my younger students recreate something in the same style!  I’ve been looking for ways to incorporate more contemporary artists into my lessons, and this might just be one of the ways to do it.  I like her Artist’s Statement, too – I’m thinking that paragraph alone could inspire all kinds of cool projects.

The only problems I can really think of right now would involve display, as I would need to make sure the student work was structurally sound enough to hang from the wall and not fall apart.

Still, with 20+ students working on the sculpture we’d be able to make something pretty neat looking no matter how long it lasts.

A day in the life…

The following account is fictional, so far as anybody knows.  It is, however. inspired by an interpretation of a story that might be closer to the truth than an outright lie.

6:00 AM, Saturday

Went to bed early last night so I’d have all day to research my report on learning disabilities (probably focusing on ADD).

I have Eric and Google Scholar at my fingertips, so I should be done by noon at the latest.

6:05 AM

Hit the snooze button just one more time.  It’s Saturday, after all.

7:00 AM

Finally got out of bed when I realized that I hadn’t heard my alarm go off for maybe half an hour now.  No matter, still have plenty of time.

7:10 AM

Already found several articles that might be worth reading for my report.  Also found a mountain of material that reads like it was written by a team of lawyers used to writing End User License Agreements … after they’ve all had frontal lobotomies but before their medication has worn off.  I need a break – time to check my email.

8:37 AM

Finished checking email.  Would have finished faster but my sister sent me a picture of a cat that reminded me of a funy website.  Spent far too long looking at pictures of cute fuzzy animals acting like people.  Focus! It’s time to hit the grindstone again.

9:00 AM

Cat (the skinny one) decided to walk across my keyboard, closing several windows.  Realized that this behavior is only funny when seen on the silly website viewed earlier.

9:02 AM

Yelling at animals who don’t understand English (or at least don’t care) is not productive, in spite of its theraputic qualities.

9:30 AM

Found several more articles that may be worth reading.  Decided to narrow it down by weeding out the really long and/or boring ones.

2:00 PM

Woke up to the sound of a cat (the fat one) complaining that her food dish was empty.  Apparently I wasn’t so good at finding decent articles after all.  Wife thought the indentations on my forehead made by my keyboard were very amusing.  I found the 587 pages of jibberish typed in my sleep less so.

Break for a late lunch while checking email, then back to the grindstone.

2:30 PM

Scrapped all previously located articles and started from scratch.

2:35 PM

Decided to check my RSS feeds for recent news.

3:00 PM

Finished checking all RSS feeds in my Bloglines account.  Refreshed page several times just to make sure I didn’t miss any.  Went back to work.

4:32 PM

Was very happy with over an hour of uninterrupted productivity involving an ongoing discussion in a favorite online forum … until I remembered that report.

5:00 PM

Cat (the fat one) decided she wanted more attention.  Wouldn’t stop tapping me with her paw until I petted her.  Began again whenever I stopped, until she noticed the red dot my optical mouse could make on the floor.

5:03 PM

Borrowed wife’s laser pointer to give cat (the fat one) some exercise.

5:04 PM

Gave up on exercising cat (the fat one) when I realized that “noticing” and “chasing” are not synonyms, particularly when dealing with a cat that’s shaped like a lumpy bowling ball.

6:00 PM

Break to make supper.

7:30 PM

Wife’s character in World of Warcraft was having difficulty with a quest.  Logged into the game to help her out with my level 70 Paladin.  Planned to help her quick then get back to work.

10:00 PM

Wife’s character on World of Warcraft gained two levels.  I also created a new character and got it to level ten before I remembered I had work to do.  Oh well, I’ll just have to finish that report on ADD tomorrow…