Welcome to The Helpful Art Teacher, an interdisciplinary website linking visual arts to math, social studies, science and language arts.

Learning how to draw means learning to see. A good art lesson teaches us not only to create but to look at, think about and understand our world through art.

Please click on my page to see my personal artwork and artist statement: http://thehelpfulartteacher.blogspot.com/p/the-art-of-rachel-wintembe.html

Please contact me at thehelpfulartteacher@gmail.com. I would love to hear from you.

Student Art Exhibits and Community Events

Giving students opportunities to exhibit and publish their creations and showing them how their art can make a difference is an important part of my job. Since 2015, as a School Arts Magazine author, I have dedicated myself to providing every possible opportunity for my high achieving students to see their artwork published. Participating in public service projects, like painting murals is also an empowering experience for a child. Here are some ways that I have advocated for my students, the children of Perth Amboy and the arts in the community:

2017 Waterfront Arts Festival

This year I was on the planning committee for the third annual Perth Amboy Waterfront Arts Festival. I also made a monetary donation that helped to pay for one of the bands. On the day of the festival, I worked for the Department of Recreation doing free face painting for the Perth Amboy community. Children used the poster I designed below to select their favorites. They were also able to make special requests. 

This festival, sponsored by the Perth Amboy Department of Recreation and the office of the mayor, provides artists in the community with the opportunity to exhibit and sell the their artwork, gives local bands an opportunity to perform, exposes city residents to arts and culture and attracts art and music loving crowds from all over the state. Once people visit the city and see how beautiful it is, they are likely to return for other cultural events, spend a day at our beautiful waterfront or come back to eat at one of our many award winning restaurants. I am proud to be a part of  this initiative to put Perth Amboy on the map as a destination for entertainment, arts and culture.

Here is the poster I created for my free face painting booth at the festival

Here I am at the festival with the Mayor of Perth Amboy, Wilda Diaz

Department of Recreation Director Ken Ortiz, Me and Manny Pacheco, Music Teacher at Perth Amboy Gallery Center for the Arts. 

Left: Board of Education member Randy Convery
Right: Department of Recreation Director Ken Ortiz

Below: Artistic Director at Perth Amboy Gallery Center for the Arts, Vivian Francisco
It takes many people to organize a successful festival. 

Family Art Night, 2017
Every year, Pat Johnstone, my fellow art teacher at Samuel E. Shull School, and I plan a family art night for the school community. This year everyone used oil pastels to create magnificent flower pictures for Mother's Day. We taught Shull School families how to use Q-tips and baby oil to blend the colors, creating a painterly effect.

Citywide Art Show

I am proud to announce that for the second year in a row I coordinated the city's annual student art show:

 April 5, 2017 at the Perth Amboy Gallery Center for the Arts, 339 Reade Street, Perth Amboy New Jersey for the  Perth Amboy K-12 Art Show 2017 
Here are some photos from the fantastic evening:
Mayor Wilda Diaz standing with Board of Education Member Randy Convery and all the art teachers from the city, K-12 schools, public, private, parochial and charter

A proud Flynn School Student stands next to her artwork

Flynn School Art Teacher Mr. Rosa

School Board Member Randy Convery always supports the arts in Perth Amboy

Assistant Superintendent Dr. Vivian Rodriguez standing with a student artist from the Adult Education Center

Juan Betancur, the art teacher from the Dual Language School, standing proudly with his students' artwork

Nicole Cannella, the art teacher at the freshman academy, East Campus, stands proudly with her students artwork

Erica Gonzalez, the art teacher from AV Ceres School stands proudly in front of her students artwork

My student Grace, standing with her mom in front of her acrylic painting 

Grace and her painting

Mayor Diaz addressing the crowd

Me standing with my student Monica and her proud mom

Me standing with my vice principal, the assistant superintendent and my fellow art teacher and friend Cynthia

The Mayor addressing the crowd

Vivianna Francisco speaking about all the upcoming art events in the city of Perth Amboy

My student Monica with her mom standing in front of her vejigante mask

Pat Johnston standing with her students artwork from Samuel E. Shull School

Mrs. Madden, AUL charter school art teacher

Mrs. Napoli with her AP studio art students artwork

Mrs. Stepash and her Perth Amboy High School Digital Arts students

Olga Bautista and one of her students from the Adult Education Center in front of student artwork
Paper Mosaic Collage from the South Campus Freshman Academy. Art Teacher Riyadha Gray

McGinnis School art teacher, Mrs. Ostermann, in front of her students' artwork. Some artwork from Perth Amboy Catholic Schools can also be seen in this shot.

My student Mya Miranda stands proudly with her sister and mom in front of her artwork

Mrs. Rizkallah, the art teacher from Patten school 
Drawing by a Kindergarten student from Flynn School. Art teacher, Cynthia Borghetti

From left to right, vice principal from Shull School Mrs. Joaquin, Gallery Director Vivianna Francisco, assistant superintendent of schools Vivian Rodriguez, travelling art teacher Cynthia Borghetti, Shull School vice principal, Derrick Kyriacou

Proud student with her artwork, Dual Language School

Some more of my own students' artwork on display at the gallery

This exhibit features artwork from every K-12 school in the city, including public, private and charter schools. Below is a promotional video I created with some highlights from the student artwork:

One thing I have learned over the years is that it takes a village to support the arts and to recognize the value of the arts in building a stronger community. We in Perth Amboy are extremely fortunate to have leadership that recognizes the inherent value of the arts in our children's education. You can see that here at the board of education meeting where I spoke. Scroll ahead to me, speaking for one minute and forty seconds (starting six minutes and twenty seconds into this video and ending at the eight minute mark) advocating for our kids. The board approved the art show unanimously.

Hospital Mural Project

On March 29th my students presented their mural designs to representatives from the community, the YMCA and the Raritan Bay Medical Center. The selected design will decorate a large outdoor wall at the medical center at the back of the parking lot. Here are my art club kids posing in front of the wall:

The theme the hospital selected for the mural contest was women's health. Our focus was women, children, families and mental health. Here are the three finalists from my art club:
Yudilis Santana, grade 5

Mya Miranda, grade 6

Ambar Rodriguez, grade 7

Each child gave a speech presenting their artwork and we are now awaiting a final decision from the judges.

New Jersey Maker's Day

Saturday, March 25th was New Jersey Maker's Day. The Perth Amboy School district participated by having a maker event, open to the public, at the Samuel E. Shull School Library. I am proud to say that I participated by showing members of the community how to build marble roller coasters. 
The kids got to take their inventions home with them and everyone had a great time. Here is a video of some highlights:

National Art Education Association Convention Presenter

I was honored to be invited to be part of the Maker Space Event at the National Art Education Association Convention in New York City on March 3rd, 2017
During the event I was able to share with my fellow art teachers from across the country how I teach creative problem solving and design thinking using recycled materials. The teachers were as exited to learn as my students are and it was a very rewarding experience. 

All set up to create marble runs!

These art teachers had so much fun collaborating and inventing!
School Arts Magazine Author
In June of 2017 the Summer issue of School Arts Magazine published an article I wrote about creating Vejigante Masks, along with three pieces of original artwork by my students:
To read the School Arts article, click here 
and go to page 15.
In March of 2017, School Arts Magazine published the magnified leaf drawing of my 7th grade student Warlyn Castillo on page 9.

In February 2017, School Arts Magazine published my arts integration advocacy article on page 8, 5 Misconceptions about Arts Integration: http://www.schoolartsdigital.com/i/768117-february-2017

I am proud to announce that the article was re-blogged by Sax Arts and Crafts. You can read it by clicking here.

On page 9 and 10 of the same issue, School Arts Magazine published my middle school clip card art lesson 'The Four Seasons' along with the artwork of three of my 6th grade bilingual students: Chantal Tejada Done, Alondra Reynoso and Gilma Espinoza Canas:

Library Fundraiser and Art Show
I recently organized a K-12 student art exhibit to raise money for the 'Friends of the Perth Amboy Public Library' a non profit organization that promotes literacy and the love of reading in the local community. Here are some highlights from the event:

Talented students from Samuel E. Shull School, James J. Flynn School, William C. McGinnis School, Perth Amboy Adult Education Center and Perth Amboy High School participated in this event at the Barnes & Noble at Menlo Park Mall in Edison NJ. We are so proud of our talented kids and dedicated art teachers! We are grateful to the Friends of the public library and Barnes & Noble for providing us with this wonderful opportunity to showcase our talented students artwork.

School Arts Author

In December of 2016 five of my 8th grade students had the opportunity to be published in the national publication, School Arts Magazine. Here is a link to my article (page 36): 

Playing Catch by Natalia Rodriguez

Our Minds Dance by Eliana Beauchamps

Olympic Gold by Jonathan Valentin

Foot Race by Ashley Ricks

Gymnasts by Leslie Corporan

 A watercolor painting by bilingual 6th grader Johan Pena was also published in this issue:
Here is the link to my clip card lesson featuring Johan Pena's artwork (page 9): http://www.schoolartsdigital.com/i/746025-december-2016

In November of 2016 a collaborative sculpture by my art club students was published in School Arts Magazine. Here is the link to their artwork on page 9: http://www.schoolartsdigital.com/i/735630-november-2016

In September of 2016 I wrote an article for School Arts Magazine, 'How to Write an Art Room Blog'. That issue also featured a clip card with my students' giant lollipop sculptures. Here is a link to my article and the clip card on pages 10 and 11: http://www.schoolartsdigital.com/i/706659-september-2016

In June of 2016 School Arts Magazine published my clip card lesson on how to design marble roller coasters, page 11:http://www.schoolartsdigital.com/i/673330-sum-2016 

My students artwork was published in the October 2015 issue of School Arts Magazine. Here is the link to my article, imaginary worlds (page 28)

Education Closet STEAM and Arts Integration Professional Development Conference Presenter

In the spring of 2016 Mrs. Wendy Guerra and I transformed this art lesson into an interdisciplinary bilingual language arts and visual art lesson. We presented our work both at Rutgers University's Graduate School of Education and at Education Closet's Summer Conference. Here is a video tape of our presentation, which showcases the artwork and writing of Samuel E. Shull School's level 1 bilingual 6th grade students:

Citywide Art Show 2016
In 2016 I organized a city wide student art show at Perth Amboy Gallery Center for the Arts.
Every school in the city, public, private and charter, was invited to participate. Parents, teachers, administrators and community members came together to celebrate their students's accomplishments.

In June of 2016 the Samuel E. Shull School community came together to help save the monarch butterfly. After learning about how we can help to save this endangered animal, families were given free seed packets to start butterfly gardens. Everyone had fun creating beautiful unique watercolor paintings.

An important aspect of professional development is sharing what we know and advancing the field of art education. As art educators, our 'community' is broader than the children we serve and their families. Our 'community' includes arts educators and core content teachers from all over the world who can benefit from our creativity and knowledge. Here are some ways that I have recently shared my expertise and experience as a veteran art teacher with the education community:

I have been involved with the Rutgers Graduate School of Education Institute for Improving Student Achievement, Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation STEAM and arts integration grant since 2013. The objective of this grant is to provide quality lessons that integrate the arts with other core academic subjects and help raise the academic achievements of at risk students. Here is the link to the white paper published by the Institute including a lesson I helped to develop: http://gse.rutgers.edu/content/steam-consortium-white-paper and here is a link to a description of the grant project: http://riisa.gse.rutgers.edu/init/dodge-foundation-grant

Below are some videos showing the STEAM lessons I have developed in cooperation with Rutgers University:

Art and science integration, 2014, in cooperation with a technology teacher and a grade 6 science teacher:

Language Arts and Visual Arts Integration with level one bilingual students in collaboration with their language arts teacher. This lesson also incorporates technology:

Bloom's Taxonomy in the art room. I presented this lesson as a webinar for the National Art Education Association in October of 2015,  at Education Closet's Winter Conference is February of 2016 and at Rutgers Graduate School of Education's Institute for Improving Student Achievement in November 2016. 

At Rutgers, I designed a hands on workshop for mathematics education graduate students. They had the opportunity to work collaboratively to create their own sculptures and explore an open ended creative problem solving challenge. Here are some photographs from the workshop:


It would be impossible to discuss Student Art Exhibits and Community Events without mentioning the Perth Amboy Gallery Center for the Arts. 
I teach ceramics classes at the art gallery, for both children and adults. My students have included four Perth Amboy Public School art teachers in the past year, all seeking to revitalize the ceramics programs in their schools, as well as local artists and students.

 Ceramic Mask by Perth Amboy Artist Christopher Ramirez
 Local artist Christopher Ramirez learning how to use the pottery wheel in my class

 McGinnis Art Teacher Dorothy Ostermann, learning how to use the pottery wheel in my ceramics class
 Pottery by adult beginning wheel students
Pottery by middle school beginning students 

Ceramic Day of the Dead sugar skulls by middle school students
Ceramic Flowers by elementary school students

Last summer I joined the staff of the art gallery summer camp, which serves area children. This low cost camp provides high quality art experiences and museum trips to urban youth with an interest in the arts. Here are some highlights from our summer:

In 2015 I joined the board of trustees of the non profit organization, Perth Amboy Artworks.

In April of 2017, in collaboration with Carolyn Torres, Perth Amboy Artworks founder, I planned a paint night fundraiser for Perth Amoby Artworks. To learn more about this event, click here. We raised over $1300 for Perth Amboy Artworks. This money will go directly back into promoting the arts in the downtown community. This may include but is not limited to hiring local artists to do mural projects and organizing pop up events like outdoor concerts and art bazaars. Adding to the magic of the evening, the musician Joseph Frame of Woodbridge New Jersey volunteered to play guitar for us. The owner of the building at 289 High Street, Perth Amboy New Jersey, normally rents the space out for parties and events but knowing that we were raising money for a good cause, he generously donated the hall for the evening. I also donated three pieces of my own artwork, which were raffled off to raise additional money for this worthy cause. Here are some pictures of this magical event:
The very talented Joseph Frame volunteered to play guitar for us, adding to the magic of the evening
As you can see from the paintings below, while the theme of the evening was nautical sunsets, each painting was unique and each participant had the chance to express their own individual creativity. Everyone got to choose a photograph that spoke to them personally and use it as inspiration for a unique painting. We chose the theme to celebrate the natural beauty of Perth Amboy's waterfront. 

In 2015 the William C. McGinnis Community came together to save the monarch butterfly and celebrate the beautiful artwork created by students that year. Every student in all of my classes had at least two pieces of artwork in the exhibit. Their families had a wonderful evening painting butterflies, learning about wildlife conservation and enjoying their children's artwork.

All my students in grades 5-8 contributed at least one bird to this giant mural. By the time we were done the mural extended down the entire ground floor corridor and into the cafeteria. You can read a more detailed account of this interdisciplinary lesson by clicking here.

In 2015 the theme of the McGinnis School graduation dance was 'Black and White'. My art club responded by creating this whimsical cityscape. These murals were entirely drawn and painted by volunteer students after school hours. 

In the Spring of 2015 I designed an interdisciplinary lesson in collaboration with 6th grade language arts teacher Jessica Beerman, teaching students how to write and illustrate their own stories. That summer I presented the project at Education Closet's Summer Online Conference. Here is a video tape of the workshop:

Not only was I able to share the collaborative lesson, but I was able to showcase the creative talents of my 6th grade students with other teachers throughout the country.

Publishing and exhibiting is an important part of being a working artist. It's never too early to start.

In 2014 one of my 5th grade students, Karyme Estevez, entered The College of New Jersey's Juried K-12 Student Art Show. 

Her artwork was selected by the juror, famous New Jersey artist Faith Ringgold

We were so excited to travel down to The College of New Jersey to see the art exhibit and meet Faith Ringgold

In 2014 my 8th grade student Natalia Dunyak submitted a short story and three illustrations in Stone Soup Magazine. She worked on her illustrations in class and I photographed her work for her. I was very proud to see her artwork published in this nationally distributed magazine the following winter. To read her beautiful story click here. 
Below are her illustrations.

In 2014 the theme of the McGinnis School graduation dance was 'Candyland'. My art club responded by creating these elaborate murals and props:

I shared my instructions for creating these lovely giant lollipops in the September, 2016 issue of School Arts Magazine. Find out how to create your own by clicking here.

In 2013 my students created a public service animation for the school community. Our message was that without failure there can be no success. Students created inspiring messages illustrating why it's important to pick yourself up, dust yourself off and keep trying.

In 2013 the McGinnis graduation dance theme was 'Moonlight in Paris'. Students eagerly brought me their ideas and sketches. We stayed after school several days a week for several months and made their dreams a reality.

In 2012 the graduation dance theme was 'A Night at the Oscars'. Many students volunteered to stay after school with me to create these beautiful murals and props.

In 2012 every single one of my students created anti bullying animations to help everyone understand the effect that bullying has on children. Each child had something to share in the hope that their important message would be heard.

Domain 4, professional responsibilities 2016-2017

4A- Reflecting on teaching

Written reflection on lesson implementation and changes to make in the future: If you click on this lesson and scroll down, you will see the many additions and edits I made as the project progressed. As soon as my students ran into a problem, I created a new video or tutorial that they could use to troubleshoot it. This was necessary since none of us had ever tried this project before.

Reflection from a conference or workshop attended:
In March, I attended the National Art Education Association Convention in New York City. One of the workshops I attended was a hands-on experience where we created 'Rube Goldberg' machines in small groups. Below is the Power Point shared with us at the conference:

I was also a presenter at the conference, doing a hands-on marble run activity in the STEAM maker space:
All set up to create marble runs!

The Rube Goldberg workshop showed me how I could transform my marble run activity into a much more meaningful experience for my students. Instead of exploring just one type of energy (kinetic), the lesson could have explored transfers of energy and different types of simple machines. Doing this will strengthen the existing connections this lesson has to the next generation science standards. I had always wanted to try doing this but, prior to this workshop, the task seemed overwhelming. I am now committed to trying Rube Goldberg cause and effect machines with my student and will be presenting a hands on workshop at the Art Educators of New Jersey conference in the fall to share this lesson with other art educators throughout the state. Click here to see the original marble run lesson, which I wrote about in the Summer, 2016 issue of School Arts Magazine, pages 11-12. I am committed to writing a new article School Arts Magazine about how to teach creative problems solving and design thinking by having students invent cause and effect machines, using inexpensive materials,in the classroom.

4B: Maintaining accurate records

Link to classroom website with accurate, updated, class-related information: Every lesson I teach in my classroom is available on my blog. This enables students to work from home and also enables other teachers to duplicate my lessons. The link is posted on my school website for easy access. To view my school website, which includes my classroom rules, please click here.

I will present a copy of my parent contact log at my summative assessment. It contains over 80 parent contacts over the course of the school year. For the most part, these contacts were overwhelmingly positive; inviting students to participate in art shows, asking for permission for students work to be published in magazines and inviting families to special art related events.

4C:Communicating with families
I will bring my parent contact log to my summative assessment conference.
Evidence of appropriate use of social media with parents/families: Please click here to visit my classroom Face Book page. It has 16,000 followers and reaches thousands of people a day from all over the world, informing them not just about what is happening in my classroom but about topics of interest in the art world as well.

4D: Participating in a Professional Community
Evidence of community involvement, planning events: I planned the citywide K-12 student art show at the Perth Amboy Gallery Center for the arts (see photos and a video above)

Anything that shows how I collaborate with colleagues to improve student learning: Here is an example of how a colleague used an idea from one of my art lessons to add a project based learning component to a language arts lesson on the Holocaust after reading the book Hannah's Suitcase with her class. I especially like how she used just a few ideas from my lesson but then went farther and made the activity completely her own:

4E: Growing and Developing professionally

Certificate of attendance from workshops or conferences with reflection: 

Reflection: This series of workshops focused on the integration of mathematics and visual art. I implemented mathematics vocabulary throughout my art lessons this year and emphasized mathematics skills such as measuring, estimating, proportion, scale and geometry throughout the school year as a result of my participation in these workshops. 

Professional Development Plan activities completed throughout the year: My professional development plan was to incorporate mathematics into my visual arts lessons: 
Here are some lessons I taught that used mathematics:
This lesson  and this lesson teach proportion, measuring and estimating. This lesson and this lesson teach bilateral and rotational symmetry. This lesson teaches the meaning and application of multiple vocabulary words used in geometry and is also an exercise in applied geometry.

Partial list of publications from this school year: 

School Arts Summer 2016

School Arts September 2016

School Arts September 2016

School Arts November 2016

School Arts December 2016

School Arts February 2017

School Arts March 2017

School Arts April 2017

4F: Showing professionalism

Any type of evidence that shows I advocate for a student or students:  You can see that here at the board of education meeting where I spoke. Scroll ahead to me, speaking for one minute and forty seconds (starting six minutes and twenty seconds into this video and ending at the eight minute mark) advocating for our kids. The board approved the art show unanimously.

254 students throughout the city participated in this art show. I was not just advocating for my own students, in my own classroom, I was advocating for student artists throughout the city of Perth Amboy.

Ways I have provided students with resources 'above and beyond': I have given numerous students the opportunity to be published in a national magazine. In the summer issue of School Arts Magazine five more students will have their artwork published along with this lesson. 

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