Author: Jessica Reitano

Hi, My name is Jessica Reitano, I am finishing my last semester of my College career. I will be graduating with a major in art and minor in education. I will be starting my internship next fall, if all goes as planned. The past four summers I have been working out at Pogo Mine which is down near Delta Junction. I was able to get a tour of the underground gold mine as well as a short tour of the Mill( where they process the gold). I worked for ESS as a housekeeper so yes I cleaned up after men day in and out and I am ready for a change. I obviously love arts and crafts but I also love getting out and enjoying nature. I like to go backpacking, hiking, canoeing, four wheeling, snow machining, fishing ( although I don't like eating fish), camping, and biking.

What is so cool about the “cool kids”?

While the findings in these articles does not surprise me, it does sadden me. Kids want so badly to fit in and be liked that they will go to extreme lengths to fit in and appear mature which thus makes them lose in the long run. I don’t understand how they can think that drinking, doing drugs, participating in illegal activities or engaging in sexual relationships will do them any good. They are learning about the harmful effects of alcohol and drugs to their system yet they deem it “cool” and necessary for their status to grow. Participating in illegal activities does not sound like a good time to me, how does possibly going to jail or being charged and have that on your record for the rest of your life, sound like a good idea? Being in a relationship with the opposite sex where you explore your sexual nature at such a young age, just sounds like a recipe for disaster.I grew up being taught that you don’t enter into a relationship like that unless you are looking to get married. Growing up I was never a cool or popular kid, far from it actually. I never had any desire to fit in with the popular crowd, I saw them as being extremely immature and very stupid. I saw the way they acted and did not like it at all. They were very judgmental of those around them, they were in general not very nice people to the majority of their peers as well as those in authority over them.

I can’t say that I have a specific memory of one person who at an early age tried to be “cool”. For Junior high I went to a small school that required a lottery just to get into. The kids that attended there, tended to be from families who are more involved in their kids life and teaching them right from wrong. I did go to a regular high school and I did hear the stories of the party that happened that weekend and who did it with who, and how drunk they were, but I am friends with none of them so I can’t say how they turned out. The only person that I can think of that is having difficulties now in life had something very horrific happen to them at a young age that triggered their downward spiral in life. But I know now that he is trying to put his life back together as best as he can. I can see that since more and more people are exploring their “cool” side at young ages that crime rates and divorce rates have risen. In the news more and more people are doing crazier and crazier things, all for what? To get noticed, to fit in with a certain crowd, to have your moment of fame?

It is certainly sad to see kids wanting to be liked, to be cool so much so that later in life they no longer fit in with what society deems mature, responsible, hard working citizens. They try so hard that they end up doing more harm to themselves and those around them than any good in the long run.

Classroom Observations

I have been observing in a Middle school art classroom and have seen some different management strategies in use. For starting the day my teacher would review what they learned in the previous class period, that is going to be useful for them in todays lesson. During this time she would engage the students by asking them questions, and showing them examples of what she was expecting of them. During the class period while the students are all at different stages of the lesson my teacher would walk around the classroom engaging students in questions about their work or giving some suggestions as well as complimenting them on aspects of their work that she really liked. Students felt free to approach the teacher anywhere in the classroom and show her their work to gain approval to move onto the next step. She made sure that she approved of each step before students could move on so that she was eliminating failure later on. While this may not be fun at the moment in time for students who have to make lots of changes, later they will appreciate the glowing review in front of not only the teacher but their peers as well. At the end of the class period the teacher reminds them of proper cleaning methods and gives them about 5 minutes to stop their work and clean up. The teacher went over the proper cleaning methods at the start of the class period so they only need a small reminder at the end plus she had written on the board the 4 steps for proper clean up so that students were confident in what their task ahead of them entailed. Even so some students failed to follow every cleaning procedure.

One of three transitions I observed was clean-up at the end of the day. The teacher gained everyones attention said they had five minutes to clean up and explained where she wanted their projects to be placed. Students knew they had five minutes and could use those five minutes to quickly finish the part they were working on and then clean up. This allowed for a calmer and lest frantic, chaotic transition out of class. Another transition I observed was when students went from step 1 to step 2 in their project. Students did not all finish at the same time or even within one class period but students knew to approach the teacher gain her approval to move onto the next step. Once they got her approval she explained to them individually where they could get supplies, if they needed her assistance with supplies she would be stationed at the ” distribution table” so she could hand out the supplies and approve of students work as they approached her. Since all students don’t work at the same pace no one feels rushed to finish their first step, and those that have know to just get up and talk to their teacher without interrupting their peers.  When a student had to use the restroom the student knew to approach the teacher gain her permission and then grab the bathroom pass before leaving the classroom. Students know to approach the teacher to ask permission to go only after she is done with her lesson and they are beginning their project. This way students are not interupting the lesson and they are all present for her lesson. She tells student if they come in early to class that they should use their passing period to go to the bathroom cause they won’t get another chance till her lesson is done. This method allows for less interruptions and more productive classroom learning.

One strategy that I have observed that I would apply to my classroom would be the review at the beginning of the class period about the information they need to know to complete their current project, explaining the project including examples, as well as going over clean up procedures. This way students know  right away what is expected of them and they learn what they need to know for their current project. Students like to know what they are doing that day, what is expected from them, and to be reminded of what they were just taught. This allows for less questions through out the day about what a “complimentary color is?” and ” which complimentary colors go together?” By reviewing what complimentary colors are and which ones go together the students will hopefully be listening and paying attention and thus won’t have to ask that questions so many times through out the project in which they have to use a complimentary pair to paint a picture. Less drama for the teacher and less drama for the students.

Student Teacher Relationships

This site is one chapter out of the book… Educators Guide to Preventing and Solving Discipline Problems by Mark Boynton and Christine Boynton. This is the first chapter in the book and it talks about how to develop a student teacher relationship and how best to avoid bad student teacher relationships.  This is mainly in regards to when teachers ask questions to students. How should the teacher handle these situations to develop the best student teacher relationship. It also addresses how to discipline students constructively and fairly. This book gives some examples of things to think about or do in regards to disciplining a student correctly without breaking your bond you are trying to develop. Teachers want to show they care about the students individually and they want to eliminate causes for stress and frustration. There is some great examples and advice about how to approach student teacher relationships and how to maintain them.

This blog was talking about a case study that this person did or observed. This study wanted to know if student teacher relationships improve when they share similarities. This study was on a small scale but found positive results. They made both teachers and students take this survey. They then paired up into groups teachers and students. In some groups only the students knew the similarities in another only the teachers knew the similarities and in still another they both knew. Then of course there was the control group in which no one knew anything. They found that when either side knew of a similarity it helped improve at least one side of the relationship if not both sides. When people learn they have the same interests or same commonalities it helps build a relationship. Thats how we get friends or build relationships with family members so why should the relationship between students and teachers be any different. I think this blog was very interesting and i think as teachers we should also fill out the survey and then if everyone is ok with it go over it as a class and see who shares our same interests. This could help build not only good relationships with the teacher and students but student to student as well.

This video gives some good examples and reasons as to why this teacher feels that creating a comfortable learning environment is key in the classroom and to building positive relationships. If you create an environment in which learning is fun, where you are not going to yell or scold students publicly then it creates for a better relationship and a better classroom atmosphere. Students can be extremely sensitive and by getting on their level and paying attention to them, you as the teacher are making their life easier and helping them be more comfortable. When someone is comfortable they feel they can be more open, they can be themselves without worry of judgment and constant criticism. Every student wants to feel safe and by meeting students where they are at, by making the classroom fun students will feel safe enough to contribute, to be engage and to build a positive relationship with their teacher.

Stress, Pressure and Suicide

I know suicide happens every year but it still amazes me how many students or adults actually go through with the act itself. I can’t imagine being depressed enough to actually go through with suicide. I admit I have my moments of feeling blue and down in the dumps but for someone to feel constantly sad and miserable is heartbreaking.

I can see how stress especially regarding your own performance can lead to depression. I myself want to please my parents and have them feel proud of me and my accomplishments and sometimes I do try and do what they want me to do, however I have to remember that it is ok to be myself. They don’t know the path that I need to be on, but they can certainly give advice and support. I can totally see when people are under pressure to be a certain way and do certain things and they don’t want to fulfill them because of their own wants and needs that they start down the path of thinking death is best.

I think that it is especially sad when it seems to be the parents that drive their students to seek an out for their pain. Parents should be encouraging their child to do their best in whatever they choose to do. Should they give advice if they feel their child is heading down a dangerous path, Yes! Parents should never make their kids feel like failures, or expect them to get straight A’s when they are not fully capable of that all the time.  I can feel the pressure  from the adults in my life and I want to please them and make them proud. I can see where these students are coming from. People need to realize that being the best YOU is all that anyone can ask.

Blog 2

Classroom rules and procedures are very important in developing and creating a good learning environment. Imagine the world without rules and procedures…. it would be chaotic, people would be going out and looting, killing, vandalizing freely without suffering any consequences.  The same is true in a classroom if you want order then rules and procedures need to be in place. These rules and procedures need to be established and gone over on the first day of class. Not only do rules and procedures need to be told but they need to be reinforced. Without reinforcement then the rules mean nothing.  In coming up with rules and procedures, you need to think about what is important in your classroom, what are the areas that kids might cause chaos and interruptions?  As an art teacher safety and respect are at the top of my list of priorities. As a soon to be art teacher some of my rules would be……

1) Be kind and respectful when critiquing others art

2) Listen and follow instructions

3) no food or drinks in classroom

4) No horseplay (be aware of your surroundings)

5) Have fun and be creative


Number three and four are in effect as food and drinks can be spilt and thus ruin someones art project, plus they are distracting, and horseplay can also lead to the ruin of art projects and is also distracting. I want my classroom to be fun and creative but I want students to learn how to respectfully help their fellow peers by critiquing their work.  critiques can be a very touchy and sensitive thing and i want students to remember to be kind and respectful in the way they critique others art projects.

This link will help give teachers an idea of what kinds of rules and procedures to make. There is listings of different rules and procedures for different times in the day. The author also included short video clips showing how other teachers have implemented these ideas into practice. These video clips may be geared toward the elementary grades but they could be altered and revised to work in a secondary classroom.  There are many great innovative ideas about how to teach and implement these rules and procedures into your classroom.

Jessica Reitano- Introduction


Hello my name is Jessica and I am majoring in Art ( my medium is drawing) and minoring in Education.I will be graduating this December after going to college for about 6 years. I am ready to be done. I will be doing my internship starting next fall, if everything goes as planned. I was born and raised in Fairbanks. I love the outdoors such as hiking, camping, biking, canoeing, four wheeling, snowmachining, and fishing( although I don’t eat fish). In high school I was on the swim team and was asked to join the college team but turned them down as I liked swimming, but it was not my life. I have participated with a group on campus called Intervarsity. Intervarsity is a Christian fellowship group. I have been both a student as well as one year I co- led a bible study group on campus in the Lathrop dorm.

Currently at my church I am helping teach/lead the junior high students. There are  7 leaders three of which help lead the girls in discussion. I have been doing this for four years. Junior high students are hilarious and still need lots of guidance just about life in general and I am glad that I can be there to give them an adult ( thats not their parents) to talk to.

For the past four summers I have worked out at Pogo Mine through the contractor ESS. I was one of a few housekeepers out at the mine. There is about 400 people that work out at the mine at any one time and only about 40 of those are women. I was able to get a tour of the underground mine as well as a short tour of the Mill( where they process the gold).Both tours were a once in a lifetime experience, that I am glad I participated in.

IMG_2233( this is inside the Mill )

I feel that this experience has really helped me personally to get out of some of my comfort zones, plus the job required me to work remote for two weeks on and one week off. So I have some experience now being away from any sort of town and locked in ( literally) every night. If I was to ever be placed remotely as a teacher I think I would have a better handle on how to handle or deal with the situation. Although working remotely is not something I would want to do.