12/4/16

STAYING CALM

It is really easy to talk about staying calm, about thinking positive thoughts, and remaining professional. However, in the day to day happenings of an art classroom, it is easier said than done! Some kids really know how to push buttons, and sometimes there are students or groups of students who make a game out of seeing just how far they can push a teacher to frustration. They think it is fun, and they revel in the power they think they have if a teacher gives in to frustration and cries, or yells, or even quits due to their behavior. It can be a real power struggle with certain students. How can you take back your power? How can you remain calm in the face of utter defiance, rebellious and rude behavior, disrespect, and apathy? All you really want to do is teach, to make a difference in the lives of these kids and sometimes it seems like they could care less. It breaks your heart. 

Classroom management is not something we automatically know how to do - it is not instinctual to remain calm in the face of belligerence....Classroom management is most definitely knowledge based.


We have got to have access to the thinking part of our brain when we find ourselves immersed in emotionally charged situations. I MUST remain CALM. To quote Fred Jones: "Calm = strength....Upset = weakness."

Stay calm! 

Don't let the situation get to you....



Getting upset is not about being weak or immature. It is natural and, quite simply, a human thing to do! There is nothing wrong with getting upset. The trick is, how do you prevent those negative emotions from controlling you. 

I teach middle school, which is a terrific environment (testing ground) for those of us who are a tad bit hot-headed and reactive. I have had to learn over and over not to be emotional, and on those days that I find myself near tears, I eat a Tootsie Roll. Seriously. It helps. Things that smell good help too. Like coffee, or vanilla lotion. Just don't drink too much coffee - caffeine increases anxiety!


The ability to remain positive and calm in the midst of a highly stressful, chaotic, negative situation can work WONDERS. Kids will respond so much better to a teacher they can trust to remain peaceful, not reactive. 


Tip #1: Decide. Take some advice from Michael Linsin and do what Olympic athletes do: DECIDE FIRST.

Before you get to school in the morning, take a few minutes to imagine yourself remaining calm throughout the day - no matter what happens - even if a figurative stampede of wild horses runs through your classroom you WILL stay calm. Think about a scenario that would normally upset you, but also imagine yourself remaining calm, cool, and collected. If you practice this morning routine, mentally choosing to relax regardless of circumstances, you might be surprised at how well it works! 

Tip #2: Relax. Train yourself to relax when faced with a stressful situation. One way to do this is to focus on breathing. Take a deep breath before responding to any provocation. Fred Jones also has some good tips for remaining calm in this article; Meaning Business Part I; Calm is Strength, Upset is Weakness. I will tell you how I stay calm - I do a whole lot of praying! 


photo credit: facebook.com
Tip #3: Ground. If you find yourself getting overwhelmed, you can practice "grounding." This is a calming therapeutic technique where you tap into the five senses. For years, I did this without even realizing it when I would eat a Tootsie Roll if I felt like I was about to lose it. Teaching middle school can be extremely stressful because we are surrounded by highly emotional and volatile students all day long. There have been a couple of times in my career where I was about to cry, but I stopped to eat a Tootsie Roll or piece of chocolate. That sweet taste calmed me down enough to keep on going. One other thing that helps me is to put on a good lotion as a form of aromatherapy. The kids enjoy the smell, too! 
my favorite lotion from Bath & Body Works


Tip #4: Pretend. However frustrated you might be, ignore the bad feelings: teachers are the best actors! Rely on your classroom management plan, redirect the misbehaving student or issue a consequence with no visible frustration. Don't let the kids see that you are upset! So, the next time little Billy throws a wad of paper across the room and talks back when you correct him, issue a consequence with no emotion (flat voice, no sighing or eye rolling, etc.) and then IMMEDIATELY focus your attention on the students who are doing their work and doing it well. Don't allow your emotions to have any power over what you say or do. Period. One fact about teaching is that you give away your power if you give in to frustration. Believe it or not, emotions can be extremely deceptive. Feelings lie! 

Tip #5: Focus on the positive.  Make a conscious effort to look for good things your students are doing and recognize that. Even if it is only a few kids in the class who are seated and/or working, notice it and acknowledge it! Believe it or not, you can train the students to work for your positive attention instead of negative. It sounds crazy, but it's true. You control your thoughts. Focus them mostly on the positive behaviors! If you have the mental control to ignore intensely negative emotions that are bubbling up inside you and instead focus your mind on the great things going on, your power increases exponentially! How much attention are you paying to misbehavior? Kids will work for your attention, whether positive or negative! Force your mind to think more about the kids who are doing right, One of the mistakes I made as a new teacher was paying way too much attention to misbehavior and not focusing on the "good" students enough. 
photo credit: facebook.com


Tip #6: Plan. Be proactive! Have a fantastic classroom management plan and know ahead of time how you are going to deal with misbehaviors. Then, follow through with it consistently and that alone will cut down on a lot of behavior. Studies show that teachers who actually do something about classroom disruptions have half the number of misbehaviors as teachers who ignore kids who are acting up. One thing Marlene Nall Johnt said to me about how she survived teaching all the way to retirement was this: "I survived by being sure of what I was going to do in every class... students aren’t grumpy and frustrated when they understand what is expected from them and that vastly cuts down on unruly behaviors.The art projects had to be challenging as well. I also had a fair and reasonable discipline plan that didn’t change from year to year.  All the kids knew it and all of the principals knew it. All the parents could understand it.  They knew that behind this smiling face was a woman who was made of steel when it came to following her discipline plan, ha."

Tip #7: Wait. Be patient - give it some time. It just takes a while for some groups/students to learn to trust you. Keep doing what you know is the right thing, and wait. 

Tip #8: Take care of yourself! It makes your job so much harder if you are not eating right or staying active. Go for walks, get outside, make some art, spend time with family and friends. Stephen Covey, author of the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, calls this habit, "Sharpening the Saw." It is exhausting to use a dull saw! You need energy to "do life," so to speak, and one of the best ways to beat stress and fatigue is to exercise. Also, don't make the mistake I did of drinking too much coffee. A little bit of coffee is really good for the body, but I wound up drinking 4 cups of coffee per day last year. I had no energy; I was "self-medicating" because I didn't know that my hypothyroid medication was too low. Yes, I even started having chest pains and went to see a cardiologist. It was ridiculous - all of it was due to stress. My doctor shook her finger at me for drinking so much coffee, saying that caffeine exacerbates anxiety. Who knew?


Tip #9: Avoid social media. Stay away from negative people, including social media groups if you find that your emotions are getting tangled there. Psychologists have found that spending a lot of time on social media is linked to higher rates of anxiety and depression!


Tip #10: Ask for help if you need it. We are only human, there is only so much we can do!  There is nothing wrong with asking for a short break if you are feeling overwhelmed. I admit, a few years ago I found myself in a situation that got the better of me. A student who I had a great relationship with viciously turned on me, attacking my character after I needed to correct her behavior. I sat in the counselor's office and cried for a few minutes after asking the assistant principal to watch the next class. She understood, it didn't take long for me to calm down, and she never mentioned it afterward or asked me why I was crying. I am very grateful that I had such a great support system!



Why does it feel like my brain shuts down when I am upset; like I just can't think? 

It all has to do with the "fight or flight" response in the brain. In her book, A Retired Art Teacher Tells All, Marlene Nall Johnt describes a conversation she once had as a young art teacher with the shop instructor. In an attempt to describe the teenager's brain, he said it is like a partially baked biscuit. It looks done on the outside but the inside is still soft and doughy. This is a funny story, but there is a whole lot of truth therein!


collaborative installation piece, 7th/8th grade
It turns out that part of the "primitive" brain stem, the amygdala, matures at a faster rate in adolescents and the frontal cortex matures more slowly. The amygdala is where powerful emotions lie, such as aggression, pleasure, and fear. The frontal cortex, the large piece at the front of the brain, is where people think through things rationally. Studies show that when the amygdala is fired up, the frontal cortex is NOT, so to speak. It has also been shown that at puberty kids' brains are changing and their rational abilities are truly hampered. They really just don't think! [BTW, studies also show that they know what they're doing when they make those really bad decisions - so they don't have any excuses. (Check out this National Institute of Health article about the adolescent brain.)]



Teachers, too, can be shackled by the amygdala when we get upset by our students' misbehavior:

On the website Education World, Fred Jones says:
"It takes roughly 27 minutes for adrenaline to clear the bloodstream. During that time, your brain 'downshifts' to the brainstem. Even with mild upset, you are in 'survival mode.' In 27 minutes, you'll be back into your cortex. Then you can think and reason again....Now, let me give you a piece of advice about managing a classroom. You will do a much better job with a cortex. When you downshift, a classroom suddenly becomes thirty cortexes manipulating one brainstem. Those are not even odds. As the saying goes: My life is in the hands of any fool who can make me angry." Fred Jones, Tools For Teaching


"What separates successful teachers from their colleagues is not the curriculum. The difference is classroom management -- discipline, instruction, and motivation -- organized into a unified and efficient whole. Successful teachers must know how to make independent learners out of helpless handraisers. They must know how to teach to mastery with constant monitoring. They must know how to mean business so discipline management is low key and non-adversarial. They must know dozens of complex skills and procedures, and they must do it all while having fun with learning. 
When you watch long enough from the back of the classroom, you realize there is a game going on. It has fundamentals and plays and offense and defense. It is dynamic. It is not a static collection of variables as described in the research literature. In this game, the teacher wants hard work from the students, but students want an entire range of other things. How will the tension be resolved? It is a fast game with a lot of players in action at any given moment. To succeed, the teacher must be automatic with a broad repertoire of complex, nuanced, and interlocking management skills.”  Fred Jones, Tools For Teaching
7th grade "Word Expression" painting, "Play"


Sometimes you need a little help from the teacher across the hall! Principal Gerry Brooks speaks about the behavioral management technique of the "Prearranged Silent Pledge" in this Youtube video:




Principal Gerry Brooks talks about dealing with negative people: 




photo credit: Personalized Mugs 4U  



RESOURCES:


Michael Linsin's articles dealing with stress and remaining calm (smartclassroommanagement.com):


Articles from Managing the Art Classroom (Anna Nichols): 



Here is a terrific article about getting the kids to calm down: 7 Ways To Create A Calm, Focused Art Room, by Anne Marie Slinkman, theartofed.com












article by Mrs. Anna Nichols





























10/9/16

HERITAGE OF HOPE; A TOWN'S JOURNEY OF COMING TOGETHER THROUGH THE ARTS


     This week, elementary art teacher Beth Young tells us her amazing story of arts advocacy in the little town of Decatur, Alabama. She just so happened to write a grant through the state department, and it snowballed into a year-long community celebration of the arts! She garnered the help of authors, artists, community volunteers, and even brought the famous Quiltmakers of Gee's Bend to Decatur. I was able to attend one of the many events with the quilt makers and it was one of the most memorable experiences I have ever had. (Here is a Facebook post by Noel King, featuring some of the ladies' beautiful voices raised in song!) I am very much looking forward to seeing the Quiltmakers of Gee's Bend again at the AAEA Fall Conference! Thank you, Beth, for sharing your story with all of us, and thank you for all your hard work last year. You are an inspiration! (All photo credits: Beth Young)

HERITAGE OF HOPE 
a town’s journey of coming together
through the arts, by Beth Young 

     It was a beautiful warm day for February despite the chilling rain from the days before. “Will they come?" I thought to myself as I drove the giant 15 passenger van up to the community center. Oh, how I hoped so. Then, a click-clack and a loud whistle alerted me that a passing train would soon approach. Stopped by a train! Of all days for this to happen! Then, a peace enveloped the van as I was privately serenaded by the most moving music that I’ve ever heard. It was like hearing a bit of Heaven itself as the perfect harmony of Mary Ann Pettway, China Pettway, Lucy Witherspoon, and Gloria Hoppins assured me that everything was going to be alright. My worries about the details of the day (what if people don’t show up, what if the mikes don’t work, what if I say the wrong thing to the crowd, what if.... what if.... what if....) evaporated as every note dripped like honey, sweetening my very soul. My concerns about “me” evolved into hope for “we.” We were going to make it to our own event- a culminating activity from a year of artistic endeavors designed to bring everyone together. Our community would be treated to a time of stitch and song, courtesy of these famous quilters from Gee’s Bend, Alabama. “We” would bask in the luxury of this special treat for everyone. 


     This mindset did not come easily for me. About a year before, I found myself at a crossroads in my career. After nearly twenty years of teaching art, I was feeling the pain of burn out. So often art teachers become little “islands” in our schools. We are a functional but entirely separate entity. Regular classroom teachers can be well meaning but they rarely know what our jobs entail. Many days we are asked to perform a plethora of activities in addition to what we are already doing. We become the “go to” people for bulletin boards, cute displays, and neat play backdrops. We are often respected, but are sometimes considered nothing more than a way for the regular teachers to get their much needed “breaks.” All the while we follow our plans as we manage multiple classrooms and often multiple schools. I’ve found that people in our field respond in one of two ways: 1. We become "high energy," multi-task people who do it all (and then some) with a smile. 2. We gripe and gripe and gripe and then gripe some more. (I found that I was feeling too old and too tired to do #1, so #2 became my way of life.) It’s no wonder that many art teachers feel the need to constantly promote the value of their programs. I was trying to do it all alone and was developing a chip on my shoulder the size of Mt. Kilimanjaro in the process. Then one day, after some quiet meditation, I had an epiphany. I realized that when we look at “we” instead of “me” change happens. (Also, I decided that worrying about everything was doing me no good. ) 


AAEI Grant:
an amazing opportunity
    
     In the spirit of this new revelation, a community based art project seemed to be a solution. By enlisting participation from a wide range of people, we could promote the value of art.
     The original plan was a low budget one that would involve the interaction of all three of my schools. However, when we decide not to worry and to allow great things to happen, opportunity came our way!

     One day when I happened to call Andy Meadows, Alabama’s state art specialist, about the guidelines of the state superintendent’s art show, he encouraged me to try for the AAEI (Alabama Art Education Initiative.) This state grant provides up to $25,000 to help schools that do not have art programs and offers up to $20,000 for a chance to expand existing programs. We decided to focus on a program that would incorporate the arts with other areas of study while it would teach children about the adaptive skills of our past. We also planned to offer a series of “power of art” workshops (with STIPD credit) for our faculties. 

     
     We received the grant! It enabled us to hire some great drawing cards for our community. We hired Nancy Raia to help us pilot a program for senior citizens and children, award winning muralist Markus Tracy to help us put together a community mural, author Irene Latham to give book talks, and four ladies from Gee’s Bend to sing and give workshops throughout the town. Although we were prepared to work together on a shoe string budget, the grant gave us great opportunities. All artists agreed to offer workshops for everyone.



 It became bigger than we thought.
Everyone wanted to get in on the act.
     
     We decided to expand our core planning group to include the Morgan County Archives, the Decatur Morgan County Convention and Visitors Bureau, the Decatur Public Library, the Alabama Center for the Arts, the Carnegie Visual Arts Center, the Decatur Youth Enrichment Center, and local historians Peggy Towns, Judge David Breland, Dr. Wylheme Ragland, and Frances Tate. City Councilman Billy Jackson, Morgan County Commissioner Ray Long, Mayor Don Kyle, Riverside Senior Center, local quilters Bonnie Goodman and Betty Jeffreys, downtown redevelopment planner Rick Paler, the Decatur Daily, WYAM TV, Kappa teacher’s sorority, and local artists and businesses, along with the general public, were also very involved.
No one “took over.” Instead, each venue concentrated on what it did well. The result was a series of well planned events that attracted a variety of people. Teamwork was the key. The following pages highlight our very special year:
































A Final Thought:
Sometimes it just takes a call. A sizable grant helped us tremendously, but many people are willing to do a lot for free. All it really takes is to go out of your box to make some new connections. We found that many of the city venues and businesses are in the same boat as us in that they need exposure, so they are more than willing to work together. Good luck!


 For more great photos, videos, and details about our events, go to decaturdaily.com, Irene Latham's website and Irene Latham's blog



ARTICLES FROM THE DECATUR DAILY: 

Gee's Bend Quilters Talk With Students About Respect, Hard Workdecaturdaily.com




This Youtube video features the quiltmakers of Gee's Bend, Alabama, a remote community of African Americans directly descended from slaves. The quilts they create are a statement of their culture, beautiful designs that have been featured in the Smithsonean and in international exhibits. These ladies are artistic geniuses, using found fabric scraps to create highly original pieces, unique in their representation of designs passed down through the generations. 


craftinamerica.org



EDUCATIONAL WEBSITES:

Gee's Bend Quiltmakers, soulsgrowndeep.org
Fabric of Their Lives, Smithsonean Museum
About the Quilts of Gee's Bend in Context, Auburn University








Editor's note: Beth Young was the graphic artist for this article - she put the whole thing together for me. All I had to do was copy, paste, and take a few screen shots of her beautiful work. With much appreciation,

Mrs. Anna Nichols






10/2/16

INTERVIEW WITH RODNEY PORTERFIELD, MR. P!

Rodney Porterfield, the mastermind behind Mr. P Studios on Youtube, has been teaching elementary art in central Alabama since 2006. His instructional videos are a hit with thousands of subscribers, and he even sponsors Art Camps during the summer. Last year, he was honored by his colleagues with the Teacher of the Year award! 
His videos are both wise and silly, full of songs and funny voices, and his joy is contagious! We are delighted this week to have the opportunity to interview Mr. P himself! Rodney shares some classroom management tips as well as his process for producing his videos...

Rodney, will you tell us a little bit about where you teach, the population, and what strategies have helped you the most in dealing with challenges?

     One of the things that I’ve learned during my years is that this age group, K-2, are very eager to tell you details from their lives; wanting to share everything from their family history to what they ate for dinner that night! It is very endearing, but with 43 classes of 20-25 students, that I see for only 30 min. a week, it’s hard to hear them all and have time to teach the art lesson for the day! In the beginning I wouldn’t place too much importance on their stories, favoring teaching over what they had to say. Over the years, however, I have found that it’s those stories that allow you to connect with the students in a more personal way. I actually began telling stories of my own. As they began to connect with me, it wasn’t long before I could get them to do anything I asked! They would attempt tasks they found challenging, I could manage my class more efficiently and correct behaviors with very little push back. In fact, I found that I didn’t even see many of the misbehaviors that my colleagues were experiencing. I call this “Connecting before Correcting." Connect with your students, earn their respect, then speak into their lives.




What is the most challenging thing about being an elementary art teacher?

     Just the sheer volume of it all! Sometimes I envy secondary art teachers simply because they don’t teach every student in the school...it takes a full week for me to see them all. And I have seen it worse... taking twice as long for some of my colleagues. Planning and delivering lessons, however, became much better when I decided to leverage technology and social media. 


     Recording art instruction and uploading to the web for students to view at their leisure was the best professional move I could have made. But to be honest, I kinda fell into it. It started when my wife was pregnant with our first child about 5-6 years ago. I wanted to be off with her for the first few weeks after the delivery...I knew it would be an adjustment--understatement of the year--and I didn’t want her to be alone during that transition. So began the arduous task of planning several weeks of lessons for my long-term sub. 3-4 typed pages later, and still being on the first lesson, I realized leaving written lesson plans wasn’t going to workout...at least, not on their own. My new Flip Mino-like camera had just arrived (yeah, I was planning on being one of ‘those’ parents) and while I was becoming familiar with it, the idea came to me...record each lesson for my sub to play in my absence. 


the Porterfield family

     Before leaving on paternity leave I gave it a try; I recorded a lesson, played it at the beginning of each class, and afterwards stepped back and facilitated the lesson... letting the video do the teaching. After a little trial and error, I found a ‘formula’ that worked well, and felt comfortable leaving to attend to my new family. Fast forwarding a bit, I still found it to be the best method for delivering lessons.
     
     Even upon my return, I continued to record art lesson content for my students to enjoy. It wasn’t until I started running out of storage that I began to think about Youtube. After shooting and editing several hours of video, it would’ve been a shame to just get rid of them all just to make more room! So I started the channel as a way to store content that I can recall later when I decide to teach the lesson again. I later decided to publish a few, out of curiosity really, wondering what type of response I would get. 





     Fast forward to today, I have received very positive comments from the content I have published...the best of which come from schools without art teachers and from the homeschool crowd. I have become a resource for their artistic instruction and that, to me, is huge! I feel blessed to be able to share what I do and that people are finding it useful. 

     Logistics? Once I decide on a lesson and gather all the materials together, there’s a point where I, and I imagine all my fellow art teachers do the same, make a few examples. Keeping in mind the skill/ability level of my students, I find the best way to approach the task so that most students end up with a successful piece. It’s here that I start making mental notes for what I’m going to put on video. I start shooting after that. 

     I set up my Sony Webbie HD on a tripod in front of me and my hands work around the three legs of the tripod--yes, I know it’s an ancient camera now, but 5 years ago, it was a great option. If I were to select a camera from today’s tech, I would choose one from the GoPro line of cameras. The quality level of video these cameras produce for the value is astounding and they use the, now standard, SD memory cards instead of the memory stick duo; Sony’s proprietary removable storage media. I usually end up with about 15-20 minutes of raw footage, which I then edit down to about a 5-7 minute video for the classroom. For my age group, that’s the sweet spot; any longer and I’ll lose their attention, any shorter and I don’t have a thorough enough explanation of the lesson. 

     The next step happens on an iPad. I use Apple’s Camera Connection Kit to transfer the raw footage over for editing. There are tons of options for editing video out there. I’m sure any one of them would be a good choice. If you have experience with a video editing program that, of course, would be a great place to start. If not iMovie, in the Apple ecosystem is a great option. Drop-dead simple to get started, and has more than enough bells and whistles to get the job done. If given an opportunity, I wouldn’t change this part of my setup other than to get a more capable iPad...maybe the iPad Pro 9.7. Currently, I’m still rockin an iPad 2...I know...smh!!! 




     Once I have the instructional final cut, I play it at the beginning of each class, directly from the iPad, via my promethean board. For this you’ll need an adaptor. For me, and anyone else having an older iPad it’s called a 30-pin to VGA Adaptor. It allows the connection between your iPad and promethean, or any other projector for that matter, to be made possible. Apple changed their 30-pin dock to something called a Lightning Connector. So anyone with an updated iPad will need a--you guessed it--Lightning to VGA Adaptor. They’re really cool because they allow you to charge your iPad while still being connected to your projection display device of choice. 

     After the students watch the video, I do a little questioning for understanding; 1 minute at the most, just to make certain they know what’s about to happen with the supplies/materials. Then the activity begins. This is also where I take a moment to evaluate the video. If my students and I are not on the same page, or I notice something happening during the hands-on part of class that isn’t addressed in the video, I’ll make a mental note of it to add to the video that evening. With my setup, it’s a simple process to record the new footage and edit it in. Now, while they are engaged in the lesson, I pull my webbie out of my shirt pocket and record footage of their busy little hands. This is, by far, one of my favorite parts of the process. 

     Watching me on video is one thing...and I try extra hard to be entertaining, but the kids busy having fun while learning is a whole other level of entertainment. Many teachers have commented on how their students love to see their peers’ interpretation of the lessons. So, just as easily as before, I add that student footage to the end of the instructional final cut to make my Gold Master that I then upload to Youtube. All and all, the process takes several weeks to finish, mainly due to the fact that it takes that long to finish any one lesson! If I had all the footage, the time invested in actually editing from raw footage to GoldMaster can be done in about an hour. Which speaks to another point I’d like to make. Everything from start to finish is simple, portable, and time efficient...three things that I require or I wouldn’t be able to get it all done on my own. When you think about it, my entire studio fits in a day bag. I can shoot HD quality video on the fly and edit while watching my (now) 2 kids play at the park. Whatever your setup, it has to fit your life or you won’t keep doing it.


What advice do you have for a new art teacher just starting out?

     Use what’s out there. There are tons of really good content already uploaded and available for you to use from a variety of sources, take advantage of it. But let’s say you want to create your own content...here’s a couple of things that would help: 

     Create a brand identity. It gives people a way to identify you from everyone else. This can be as simple as having a catchy name and a really cool format for your videos to follow. They call me Mr. P at school, so I went with MrPstudios; simple and to the point. Also, my format is easy and allows me to stand out a bit as well. When shooting video, my perspective is as though I’m speaking directly to the students...explaining it all to them in a way they can best digest it...which, of course, speaks to the origins of these videos in the first place. 
     
     I feel that most tutorials (which is technically what I’m producing) are addressing adults, with the assumption that they will then take the lesson to their classroom and teach it themselves. Which is great, but what I do can help those who aren’t comfortable with teaching art. I can’t tell you how many comments I’ve received from teachers who have no art education and know nothing about teaching artistic principles and elements of art, whose students are now receiving art education. It lets those teachers step back and be facilitators, a much more comfortable role to play. 

     Lastly, make sure people can find your videos i.e., use searchable keywords when you title your videos. As educators, we all title our lesson plans when we save them to our computer, jump drive or favorite cloud storage option. And in the beginning, I used those, sometimes obscure, titles on my youtube channel as well. For about a year, I was wondering why most of my videos never made it past 100 views. Then there was one that hit 10,000 views seemingly overnight...then another that passed 3000...and so on. After a close study of my most popular videos, I realized that they were titled something that people would actually type into the search bar...Pointillism, Color Wheel, Self-Portraits are all still my most popular videos to date. I didn’t ditch my whole naming system, after all the video lessons corresponded with the written lesson plans and I needed to keep that continuity. Instead I added, “Art Lessons For Kids” to each of the Youtube titles and that’s when www.youtube.com/MrPstudios started to gain a bit of traction. It’s still not where I’d like for it to be, but I am seeing a sustained growth year over year and that’s a good thing.

Where do you see yourself going from here?

     I plan to continue to grow the channel. I feel that I have a devoted viewer base that I can’t disappoint and a whole other set of students out there that I have yet to meet who are always looking forward to the next silly bit of antics that I (or my wife, a drama teacher) can dream up for them to enjoy. I’m also juggling a couple of ideas that would diversify my portfolio of videos a bit, in an attempt to add content more regularly, especially during the summer months.


video



Mr. P, thank you for sharing your expertise with us! The joy you share with your students and with all of us is very much appreciated. Being an art teacher is the best job ever! 




"Go, and haaave fun!" Mr. P