Shana Gutterman


Location: Jacksonville, Florida

College: Fashion Institute of Technology–New York, NY

Currently Teaching: K-8 Art

Fun Fact: Shana used to work in the toy industry before coming in to the wonderful world of teaching.

Twitter: @shoshyart

Websites: Lots of them:

Classroom blog:

Professional blog:


Her classroom in a sentence: Where art meets science, language arts, math, social studies and technology.

Shana Gutterman is a wonderful art teacher from Jacksonville, Florida. She uses art to engage students across the curriculum, and does a great job using technology (including a class of 1:1 iPads). Her kids are painting, her kids are blogging, and her kids are learning about a plethora of subjects and ideas–it’s all very impressive. She took the time to share with me a little about herself, as well as the hows and whys of what she does in the classroom:

What do you do outside of school to keep yourself happy and healthy (physically and mentally) and avoid getting overwhelmed or dealing with burnout?

I enjoy spending time with my family outside of school. Finding the right balance of work and family is important.  I try not to bring too much work home. To relax we go to the beach. We are lucky to have such fabulous beaches nearby!

Tell me about your classroom.

It’s MESSY, but organized!  I share my room with another teacher and there is just not enough space. The walls are full of posters, samples of projects we will do in the future, and student’s art. The room is set up so I can easily walk around and engage with students one on one.

What are your strengths as a teacher? 

My passion for art and education are my strengths as a teacher. It is exciting to hear when my students take the lessons they learned in art and apply it outside the artroom.  Kindergarteners learned about the Northern Spotted Owl in art and then drew and painted it. One student went home and drew about 20 more owls and hung them all over his house and explained to his mother why it was important to save the Northern Spotted Owl. When the students see me excited about the Northern Spotted Owl it gets them excited about it.

What things do you do to continue to grow as a teacher? Where do you think you and your classroom will be in the next five years?

Being a connected educator helps me grow as a teacher. I have met so many art teachers through Twitter. Everyone shares lessons and tips. If I ever have a question I post it on Twitter and in a few seconds I have a variety of answers from art teachers all over the world.

My teaching style is always changing. I am always researching and learning new ways to grow & and teach. Its hard to the teach the same lessons year after year when there are so many fantastic new lessons that are easily accessible through the internet.  I keep some of my favorite lessons but by December, most are new.


In five years I see myself working out the balance between project and processed based art. Another goal I have set is that my professional blog will be more interactive and one of the top art teacher blogs. The blog combines art with social studies, science, math, & language arts.

Who and what influences you? Where do you look for inspiration?

There are tons of places I get inspirations from:

  1. Twitter: Twitter is a great place to network with teachers from all over the world. There are different educational chats on Twitter that you can join. Two of my favorites are #artedchat  and #edtechchat.
  2. Feedly: Feedly makes it easy for me to follow teacher’s blogs on one app. I type in their URL in it and when the teacher posts something new it pops up.
  3. Pinterest: This is one of my favorite tools, no surprise for an art teacher. It’s a visual bookmarking system. I can look for projects, pin them and then it archives it for future use.
  4. Tricia Fuglestad is a leader of art teachers that I admire. Her combination of using art & technology is brilliant and so thought out. She shares a lot of her projects at
  5. Collaboration influences me as a teacher! I collaborate with teachers at my school, other schools around the world as well as with people I meet via Twitter.
    1. Mike Fisher, author, educational consultant, and instructional coach, wrote many poems that were just lying around his home. My fourth and fifth grade students collaborated with him and created an e-book of his poetry. The students drew illustrations for his poems. They looked at his poems and decided what illustration would make the most sense. He went back and forth with the students until all the art was just right.  Having your art critiqued is not easy. They were so proud to have their art published. This made art more authentic.

What would be something that you’d like to teach, or can’t/don’t do it? What is holding you back?

I am trying to add more process art to my class but it is a struggle trying to find the right balance. Parents enjoy seeing artwork that can be framed. I am apprehensive about process art because the end product doesn’t always meet my expectations. But then again, who is to say what is good art and what is not?

I wrote a blog post a month ago on this, . I choose to be product and process! It is complicated. I am far more product but am trying to start to include process. It is hard letting go of the control, but I think it will be worth it.


What do you want students to take away from your class? What do they learn, and how do they develop after spending a year (or more) in your classroom? 

I want my students to love and appreciate art! It doesn’t matter what skill level you are as long as you are enjoying & creating art. My other goal for them is to understand how art can be part of language arts, math, social studies and science. I collaborate with their teachers to come up with lesson plans that will help reinforce what they are learning in the daily classes.

They learn so much in one year but having them from kindergarten through fifth grade is what makes teaching art so satisfying. They learn how to analyze art in kindergarten but in fifth grade they are experts at it. The ability to scaffold the lessons year after year helps make the difference in learning.

Fourth and fifth grade students are 1:1 iPads this year. It has been a lot of fun teaching them how to create digital art and animation. The iPads have made it easy to differentiate art. They are also taking these skills and transferring to their other classes. They have created animated book reports and visual vocabulary in language arts. The possibilities are endless!


You do a lot of teaching across the curriculum, and you incorporate a lot of different subjects. That makes me curious–what role does art history play in your teaching?

Art history is important in my classroom. I love learning and teaching about different artists and time periods and then sharing what I have learned with my students. Art history helps students with critical thinking. They have to analyze, compare and contrast paintings and sculptures.

In no particular order, who are your five favorite artists?

Amedeo Modigliani, Auguste Rodin, Alexander Calder, Rene Magritte, and Claude Monet.

For you, what determines your success as a teacher? How do you determine success for your students?

Success as a teacher comes from helping shift the mindset of the students. Some students come in with preset notion that they are not very good at art. It is my job to help build their confidence. I am successful when everyone enjoys art and feels that they can draw and paint. Students are successful when there is continuous growth in their work.

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1 Comment

  1. » RT @eastartroom: “Success as a teacher comes from…

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