As part of the new curriculum I’m developing, I am including a visual journal component. It’s a full year, on-going assignment that allows for marking period, mid-term and final exam assessments. So that I can display student work throughout the year, without it being stuck in a book, my students are creating their journals from the inside, out.

Starting in September, they work on paper, gathering it up in a folder, and then we bind the books in May. This past year, I did a Coptic book, but next year I am planning for a different structure.

This idea came to me a metaphor to express what I was feeling ( I felt like I was turned inside-out), but its bigger reward was that it allowed me showcase my students’ work in a unique and contemporary way. I couldn’t fathom trying to maintain the type of art show that we had before the budget cuts. So, to change things up, I arranged for our art show, (that I called CLiPPED), to be displayed at a local gallery. Each student fabricated a metal clip out of copper, brass and nickel silver and selected their 15 favorite papers to display from their clips. Each was a miniature portfolio of their work, and an opportunity for my students to take charge of how they presented themselves. All of my students were required to select 15 papers and order them as they wanted them to be viewed. The students received an assignment grade for their collection of work.

More photos of the show.

Photos of the finished books.

About Karen

Karen Kiick began her teaching career in 1990 in East Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania. Since 1996, she has taught at Haddon Township High School in Westmont, New Jersey. She is her District's K-12 Visual and Performing Arts Facilitator and currently teaches 9th through 12th grades. Karen is a five-time recipient (2005, 2010, 2013, 2015, 2017) of the New Jersey Governor’s Award for Excellence in Art Education. She is also the 2017 National Secondary Art Teacher of the Year and the 2015 NJ Art Educator of the Year.
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