Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Tony Wagner + The Finland Phenomenon

Last Friday I had the pleasure of attending an event at Stanford which was hosted by Denise Clark Pope and Challenge Success. One of the speakers was Tony Wagner and one of the many things he mentioned was a film he worked on called The Finland Phenomenon.

Finland consistently has the highest ranked educational system in the world, and it is radically different than ours in the states. I am not a big fan of numbers, but because their system is so different than ours it piqued my interest. Enough that I found the documentary on youtube and want to share it with you.

Watch it HERE if your interest is also piqued.

One of the other fun takeaways from the evening is something that is so true but none of us parents really want to acknowledge.
Since I'm not a big fan of reducing our students to a pile of numbers, this is a statistic that kind of made me laugh - because I know you don't want to hear it.

Your kid is average.

That's the blunt and un-sugar-coated version. But statistically speaking, most kids are. That's how statistics/averages work. Some are exceptional, some aren't. Most are "just" average.

My takeaway is that this doesn't comment on the fantastic-ness of your offspring, but in terms of grades, tests, college entrances - you know, those things that too much emphasis is put on and which don't really reveal that much about your kid (our students) - most kids are average. They have to be.
Not warm and fuzzy, but true.

Wow. That makes this end kind of negatively...which isn't my goal.

Working hard and having empathy and challenging yourself are way more important qualities for me to help you instill in your kids, and are much more a determiner of their success and happiness anyway. So there is that.

National Portfolio Day

Before you know it, National Portfolio Day will be here.
As usual, and per the calendar, they will have a San Francisco edition. If you are considering putting a portfolio together and/or applying to an art school in the future, I would encourage you to attend this event.
Even if you are just curious as to what this is all about, or want to see if it might be something for you in the future, you can at least make a day of it and have some fun.
Who knows, maybe you go load up on the best pain au chocolat ever at Tartine before and/or after. That's always a good idea.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Phone Life by Ivan Cash

This is a great video (both in content and production) that has found itself my way through the magic of the interwebs. Enjoy.

Phone Life from Ivan Cash on Vimeo.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

And of course I totally forgot some things...

As I showed on back to school night (btsn), I take many photos in class as the students are working. It's more difficult here at the beginning of the year and becomes easier after a few skills are built and there is more independent work time.

If you want to see some mostly up to date images you can follow my on instagram  as "misterthad"and/or look up the hashtags #lghsart and/or #studio502 (the later of which is only the adv Art classes, sorry Art 1 folks)

As a big fan of Casey Neistat's films and vlog I am also using his newly released (this past summer) app Beme with a username of "thadsmith", so feel free to watch some video on there as well.

Again, thanks for tuning in.

Some Administrative Stuff

As we are reaching the end of the fourth week of the semester you will begin to notice some things are beginning to fall in place.

For example, there are a number of grades in the grade book in Canvas for each of the Art levels. Many people have a 100% thus far, but...
  • if you are a student you should make sure to be up to date on the current project so you don't fall behind
  • if you are a parent, asking questions about what is happening in class is good because there are definitely a few kids in Art 1 and Art 3 that are a little behind the eight ball on the current project (for example, all Art 1 students should be shading on their final still life objects in class tomorrow, and I know of at least three people that have not used tutorial time to catch up to that point - I would say they are two days behind at this point)

If you see a zero in the grade book that means that you either haven't turned in the assignment, there was a problem (I know this is the case with one female Art 2 at a minimum), or you were absent on the due date. If you were absent on a due date you need to make sure that I get that assignment from you asap. I will not be reminding you of this as I expect you to be proactive on this front as we move forward in the year.


All Art levels have covered the Sept. Artist of the Month (AOTM) in the last two days and you need to make sure you are up to speed on that. I reserve the right to randomly check any sketchbook at any time to make sure that worksheet is filled out and taped in the correct place at any time.

For any students - but especially those in Art 4, you may be interested in the NUMU (formerly the Los Gatos Art Museum) page on their upcoming high school juried art show.

You will have ample opportunities to make work in class for this, but thinking about the topic and brainstorming soon will expedite the process as we get closer to having that as an option.

I won't be updating this blog as often as in the past (I don't think), but you might want to bookmark this anyway, and give it a quick glance every week or so just to see any new announcements.

Have a great day!