Amy Oliveri Receives Early Career Award in Art Education

On February 1st, 2013, Allendale Columbia Middle School Art Teacher, Amy Oliveri, was awarded with the Early Career Award by the RIT School of Art for her excellence in teaching.

This is short video of Amy working on a self portrait using colored pencils.

When I was first introduced to Amy, she was described as being techy. And she was! We hit it off right away. However, Amy is far more than just a techy, art teacher. She is an excellent planner, facilitator, teacher and artist. I have seen her teach and interact with students. There is a tremendous amount of mutual respect in her classroom. Her students are engaged and well behaved. Students ask questions and work to push themselves to impress her. Amy is the type of teacher that expects her students to work hard and do well. From my perspective as a colleague, I feel the same way when I work with her.  I want whatever I am working on to be that much better because I know she has such high expectations. I know that I have learned far more from her than she has learned from me. Amy is in her third year at AC and she has an incredibly bright future. The Allendale Columbia School students, faculty and community are very lucky to have Mrs. Oliveri as a teacher, friend and mentor!

To get a better understanding of Amy’s passion for art and education, please check out her social media links.


The Year End Report 2012

Every year at Allendale Columbia School, the department heads and administrators write up “Year End Reports.” These reports are summaries of the school year and plans for the year to come. I have decided to use it as my next blog post. Feedback and questions are always appreciated!

We all need a sunset to fade into. The end!

Curricular Technology Year End Report written by Tony Tepedino, Director of Curricular Technology

Highlights from this year included creating a bi-weekly program, called Tech Tuesday, for AC faculty to share how they are using technology in their classrooms. I presented, with Beth Guzzetta, at the National Science Teachers Association Conference in Indianapolis, IN. We hosted two sessions, “iPads Apps in the Science Classroom” and “Hi-Tech, Low Cost Science Classroom.” I co-presented with Brian Meehan at Barcamp RIT about iPad 1:1 deployments. We also rolled out Google Apps for education accounts for all middle and upper school students with Gmail. The Middle School started a 1:1 iPad program this year. It proved to have a tremendous impact on the learning environment in the middle school. We hosted visits from Canandaigua Academy and Elmwood Franklin to check out our iPad program in action. We have an opportunity to be a resource for schools considering 1:1 iPad deployments. We have tremendous practical knowledge to share from a variety of perspectives –  pedagogical, operational and management of devices. I also consulted with Red Jacket CSD BOCES about iPad implementation.

I coordinated with Rochester Institute of Technology to use a new web based platform called BookBag. We are helping RIT trial this tool in a K-12 school in hopes of securing a grant. It hasn’t been used outside of RIT until now. Diana Gleeson’s Bioethics class is currently using BookBag. I continued to oversee the Alsina Language Lab. Michael Murphy, from Sanako Labs, donated language teaching software and will continue to update AC with the latest versions.

I have continued to work with teachers to integrate social media, PLN’s (Personal Learning Networks), and LMS (Learning Management Systems) into their curriculum.  The new Digital Art Lab created the perfect environment for Amy Bonner to develop an online course in graphic design, for upper school students, during the Spring semester. The class content was delivered using a LMS called Edmodo. Amy offered a blended learning environment with both her middle and upper school art classes. This approach combines web based technology to deliver content, evaluate student work, quiz and assess, collect assignments and communicate with students. She  continues to use blogging and social media to communicate and share information about her classroom. Julie Thompson, has used Twitter for professional growth and as a review tool for her AP Biology class. She also blogs regularly about her classroom environment and as a reflective tool for her teaching.

We are in year two of using FA Web for online grade reporting. There continues to be issues with FA Web (browser compatibility). Resolution of issues takes a long time, sometimes months. I have been consulting with Blackbaud on the look and feel of their future releases of FA Web. I take part in discovery sessions online during regularly scheduled meetings. They seem to appreciate the input from someone who has been a classroom teacher and currently trains teachers on how to use their products.

I have continued to maintain a good relationship with Tequipment, our SMARTBoard installer and support specialists.  It took 6 months to complete the installation of the new portable board in our music department, due to backorder of parts. I taught the Nursery and Pre-K students two mini lessons on  the SMARTBoard in Kindergarten. We demoed a SMART Table in nursery/PreK for 30 days. The software is hard to use and the hardware wasn’t dependable.

Conferences and Visits
Attended NEIT, (NYSAIS Education & Information Technology) conference at Mohonk.
Attended NYSCATE (NYS Association for Computers and Technology in Education) conference in Rochester, NY
Attended T4 – Think Tank for Teachers & Technology at Elmwood Franklin in Buffalo and hosted a session on copyright images.
Attended ISTE Webinar an Independent Schools Special Interest Group for Online Learning.
Attended ISTE Remote Summer Workshops.
Attended the Reading Digital Symposium at RIT.
Attended Tedx Rochester
Attended Tedx Flour City, June 9, 2012
Visited Manlius Pebble Hill School in Syracuse, NY to learn about Blackbaud and technology integration.
Attended Cambridge Institute Webinar for An Overview of the Modern Chinese Education System.

Plans for Next Year
I am currently working with Cathy Beaton at RIT, and Beth Guzzetta on a grant for technology use in education. This grant, if awarded, would provide the following items to participating schools.; lab kits with all necessary materials and tools, iPads, and original YouTube instructional videos created by AC students.

Plans include developing a  web based curriculum for faculty to continue training when they have time. I will expand Tech Tuesday to include workshops for hands-on training. I am sending out a survey to assess faculty requests for specific workshops. We are planning to install two new SMARTBoards next year. I would like to see web-based delivery of report cards to parents via NetClassroom. We continue to evaluate and assess the hardware, software, mobility, and usage of the current Alsina Lab. Beth Guzzetta and I have submitted proposals to present at NSTA in San Antonio, TX. I would also like to attend the NAIS National Conference in Philadelphia and  serve on an visiting accreditation team. I would like to take a select group of teachers to attend the NYSCATE conference next school year.

This year I was given the opportunity with colleague Leah Danielsto plan and coordinate full school Spring Professional Day. Based on the reviews and suggestions from the professional day, I am confident that we could host another successful event.

  • Ratings from 1 (horrible) – 5 (amazing), Average Ratings, Morning – 4, Afternoon – 4.12, Overall – 4.26

Professional Affiliations
ISTE – International Society
NYSCATE – New York State Association for Computers and Technology in Education
NSTA – National Science Teachers Assocation

Google Sketchup for Art 7

Last year, 2010-11, I stumbled upon Google Sketchup, which I promptly shared with Allendale Columbia Middle School art teacher, Amy Bonner. She immediately put it to use with her Seventh Grade students. Students took turns using the 5 iMac computers in the art room to build an interior or an exterior using Sketchup.

Fast forward to the 2011-12 school year. The Google Sketchup assignment has evolved. This year the assignment is delivered using Edmodo. All students can work simultaneously in our new state of the art Digital Art Lab, featuring 13 brand new 27” iMac computers. Students work through a series of self-paced tutorials provided by Google. The three self-paced tutorials can be downloaded here. Here is Amy Bonner to describe the assignment:

When they finish the tutorials they have an interdisciplinary assignment linking geography, climate, architecture, and design to complete. They begin the assignment by looking at this presentation of Unusual Buildings.

This helps spark their interest in architecture and show them that anything is possible. They then choose a location outside of the US that they would like to research. They will use Google Street View, Google Earth, and Google Advanced Search over the course of the unit, to study their city and create the best design for their specific location.

Last week, Amy asked me if I wanted to stop up to visit as her students worked on there Sketchup projects. So, I stopped up with with my trusty Kodak Playfull video camera to get some students in action in the lab. I saw excited, engaged, focused students. The class was working independently but also collaboratively, as they helped each other when confused about using the many tools available in Sketchup.

See for yourself…

AC Bloggers


I just wanted to take a moment to recognize my fellow Allendale Columbia School bloggers. These are the teachers who are reflecting, writing, and sharing what is happening in their classroom with the world. It takes a brave soul to put yourself out there into that big crazy world called the web. It takes an even braver soul to share your work, practice, classroom, lessons, and reflections. I look around at what is happening in my fellow teachers classrooms and wish that each one of them had a blog.

Señora Brown (@lindseybbrown)
She presented at this weeks Tech Tuesday about her use of the blog as a classroom tool. I really enjoyed hearing about her use of the blog to (unintentionally) teach. She assigns a project for Spanish pronouns, which she explains better than I could…

Students in sexto learned hand motions to remind them of the meanings of Spanish…

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Tech. Tuesday’s at Allendale Columbia School

Recently at Allendale Columbia School, in Rochester, NY, we started hosting bi-weekly Tech. Tuesday presentations for our faculty and staff delivered by our faculty and staff. The concept is to promote the technology use currently going on within our school building. There are three reasons for this. First, for teachers to see how their colleagues are using technology. Second, to build momentum and get other less tech. savvy teachers interested in using technology in their classroom (the snowball affect). Third, just to get our faculty sharing about what is going on within the walls of our school. Presenters will  use a style called “Ingite”. Using this format, presenters give 5 minute presentations with 20 Power Point slides running on autoplay at 15 seconds per slide. Using this format will optimize information and time in a meaningful way for attendees without taking too much from already busy schedules.

Leah Daniels is our resident School Psychologist.
AIMS Web – AIMSweb is a data collection tool that we are currently using in the Lower School and may be looking to expand into the higher grades in the future.  This software allows staff to quickly and easily benchmark student performance in the areas of reading, writing and math at three points during the year.  AIMSweb will then analyze and provide data about student, classroom, and grade wide progress, in an effort to guide instruction and intervention.

Amy Bonner is an Upper and Middle School Art Teacher.
Amy presented on technology used in her stop motion animation unit for 8th grade. Instead of using a Keynote, Amy chose to make an iMovie video detailing what she does with her students. Students can create their projects using different mediums. Our middle school has a 1:1 iPad program, so students were able to experiment with both iMacs in our new Digital Art Lab and their iPad. Here is a list of the different tools Amy utilized for this project. As you will see almost all of the software is free!

SAM Animation program from Tufts University
Animation HD for iPad . There is a free lite version as well as a $1.99 paid version
iMovie, comes installed free on every Mac.
She also used Jing Screencasting software. There is both a free and paid version.

Student Examples of HDR Photography

This past week I was invited to observe our Upper School Photography classes in action as they worked through HDR (High Dynamic Range) photography projects. A simplified explanation of HDR photography is combining multiple photos with a range in exposures to give the greatest range of light, medium and dark tones in the final image. Photography is done with a technique called bracketing. The process is best described in more detail in these links, HDR Photography Explained and A Brief Explanation of HDR Photography. Students were encouraged to take 6 or more exposures of each image. Photoshop does all of the heavy lifting, lining up the photos and discarding all unnecessary data. Images done this way offer a much truer look and feel, almost as if you were seeing the picture without the natural degradation of a camera. Students were encouraged to further tweak the image using the presets or customizing the image within Photoshop. Through Adobe TV students watched HDR tutorials to give them additional information before starting the project. The results are stunning! Enjoy the photos.

Special thanks to Ms. Lori Wun, Chair of the Art Department, and to her Upper School Digital Photography classes.