CONTEXT AND SETTING
Erie Middle School
Erie Middle School is located just northeast of Boulder, Colorado in the St. Vrain Valley School District. The line between Boulder County and Weld County runs north/south through the town, with EMS backing up to the road dividing the two counties in Weld. The building itself is the former high school nestled into the old town, with new additions that include an over 1,000 square foot art room. Erie Middle School begins at 8am and ends at 3pm.
Because of the Covid-19 pandemic, all St. Vrain Valley public schools decided to meet fully online until October 5, 2020. We met each class at their normally scheduled time through Webex for the first 20 minutes; taking attendance, teaching an art history warm-up, and introducing any new lessons. We used the remainder of the class time to meet with any students who had questions or needed help. Because students were uploading finished projects and artwork into Schoology, I chose to have students complete a self-reflection of their own work. This helped me better understand whether the students were understanding concepts, principles and techniques and could communicate these through their art. We also recorded lessons and offered supplemental materials for students to access through Schoology. My last day was Friday, October 2nd, so I missed any hybrid, in-person classes with the students.
Classes and Schedules:
The academic year is divided up into four, nine-week quarters, in which students can choose a certain number of electives per year: including art, band, orchestra, choir, family and consumer science, P.E. graphics and technology. The host teacher has six, 45-minute periods per day, which translates into two art classes for each grade level, and one planning period.
Because my time at EMS was during the Covid-19 pandemic and had no in-person classes, we used planning periods for faculty and team meetings, troubleshooting online tech or disciplinary issues that arose. Parent/teacher conferences were school-wide and held the week after I left. The host teacher organized online art museum field trips, which helped those students normally involved in Friday Art Club.