Skip to content

Community Connection: The Best of Both Worlds

August 11, 2010

It is just me, or is anyone else shocked that we are already in the second week of August?  As we look forward to the 2010-2011 school year, it only makes sense to feature a classroom teacher in our monthly Community Connection blog post.  Meet Michelle Alcala, who begins her fifth year as art teacher at Salazar Elementary School in Dallas ISD.

Michelle and her children

What are some ways you’ve worked with the DMA?

I began by bringing my students here for visits.  My 4th-graders come every year and really enjoy the experience.  Another teacher and I started Saturday programs with our students, and we bring a group of fifteen to twenty students from all grade levels and their families to the Museum once a month. 

Last year, I was invited to create artwork with students for the Art Ball, the DMA’s annual black-tie fundraiser event.  My students were so excited to see their work in a real museum setting, which is unbelievable for an elementary school student.  They brought their families to see their work and dressed up; the pride they had was great.

I’m also a part of the teacher panel and am hoping my insights help with the new online resources for teachers.  Before, I did not use the DMA online teaching materials very often, and I’m hoping my contribution will help art teachers and other teachers.  [Michelle is part of a select group of teachers collaborating with Museum education staff on an IMLS grant focused on redesigning the DMA’s online teaching materials.]

How has your work with the DMA affected your approach to teaching?

I’m always trying to find things that I can tell my students about that will help them make connections to the Museum and encourage them to visit with their families.

Do you consider yourself an artist?  What are your creative outlets?

Initially, I intended to go to art school.  I ended up having children and realized they were more my passion than becoming an artist.  I tried to find the best of both worlds, and that’s when I came up with teaching art.  I still sketch and paint sometimes, but not in the volume that I used to before I started teaching.  I also love to read.

How do you spend your summer months?

I spend my summers with my children at my home in Oak Cliff.  We play and read and go to the zoo and go to museums and as many different free things as we can find.  We just got back from a trip to Florida and Disney World.  I also went to Chicago with my mother.  It was wonderful.  I visited the Art Institute and went on a tour of the new wing.  It was just incredible, seeing so many pieces of art. 

What do you most look forward to in the 2010-2011 school year?

To my new art lessons, both my own that I’ve created and ideas from the DMA.  I also look forward to seeing the kids again.  It’s been a long time since I’ve seen all of their little faces, and I’m ready to get back into it.

Melissa Nelson
Manager of Teaching in the Community

No comments yet

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: