I must confess that I do not have survey-asking skills. I merely want to know, now that I’m in my seventh year of blogging, what my readers care about and if they had anything to tell me.
Basically, I want to know about you.
Here’s what I found out….
I love that after SEVEN years of blogging, you still visit me. A few of you mentioned that you had trouble finding me. Well, that’s a simple fix. However, I don’t think that typing Deep Space Sparkle into a browser is what you mean.
Blogging is different now. We all used to share links (those little buttons with images and titles) on our sites but as we move to platforms that make this feature a bit awkward, it becomes harder for a reader to jump from blog to blog. If you use the Blogger Reader (do they still have this?) then you won’t see my feed.
Instead, make sure you try one of these:
- Sign up for my free newsletter. You will get updates 2-3 times per month. This is the BEST way to see what I’m up to. I own my mailing list so it will never go away, unlike social media or obsolete readers.
- Subscribe to my blog via Blog Lovin’. This is my reader of choice. Love, love, love it.
- Add Deep Space Sparkle to your Top Sites or Reading List on your Mac computer.
SOCIAL MEDIA & BLOGS
I must confess that I love my personal Facebook page as it keeps me up-to-date with my friends and family. I don’t update my DSS Facebook Page as often as I would like to because I’m SO INTO INSTAGRAM!!!
You guys need to get on Instagram. If you love to scroll through lovely pictures instead of tons of text (and the drama that accompanies it) you will enjoy Instagram. I will confess that I only start using it daily since January as I couldn’t figure it out before.
Pinterest still remains everyones fave. I love it too.
Only about 20% of you have blogs. I was TOTALLY surprised to read this stat. I thought you were all bloggers. See how useful this survey is? Combine this stat with the fact that you love Pinterest and voted my art lessons your favorite type of DSS posts, I’m getting the idea that you guys NEED art lessons ideas. So glad I can help.
Even though you may not be a blogger, you do love blogs. Here is a list of some of the most commonly repeated faves:
- Painted Paper
- The Art of Education
- Cassie Stephens
- Mrs. Picasso’s Art Room
- Art Project for Kids
- That Artist Woman
- There’s a Dragon in my Art Room
- Confessions of a Home-Schooler
- Artful Parent
- Art with Mr. E
YOUR FAVORITE TYPE OF DSS PRODUCTS
Neil could easily whip up a list of my best selling products but the people who purchased products from me might not see or respond to this survey. I wanted to know, from my list of very dedicated and loyal readers, what you like.
Apparently you all love the single lesson plans. According to you, this is the easiest way to get what you want at a low price. Some of you said that you wouldn’t use all the lessons that came in bundled packs. Totally get this. More individual PDF lessons coming your way!
WHAT YOU ARE ASKING FOR:
- More art lessons for Middle School and High School: This one is hard to help you with as I don’t teach middle or high school. All of my lessons on my site are based on actual lessons I teach my students. It would be hard to offer lessons for high school since I just don’t spend time with this age group.
- More lessons for pre-school kids: Much like the previous problem. I just don’t teach kids younger than 5. This is not to say I don’t want to. Maybe a future DSS art class will happen outside school, but for now, lessons are for ages 5-12.
- Book Inspiration: This shouldn’t be a hard request to fill as my favorite lessons are based on books. Consider it done.
- Lessons Suggestions: More 3-D, art history, lessons that use a wider variety of mediums (more marker and pencils) and culturally significant lessons. Great suggestions.
- Actual Book: Many of you asked for me to print up my lessons in a book. I might not have to do that myself. I’m working on a book proposal right now. Cross your fingers, okay?
Many of you sited financial reasons why you don’t attend conferences or retreats, but lots of you stated that online learning, especially through the Art of Ed Winter and Summer Online events, were the exceptions. Online learning has exploded in the last few years making learning and inspiration just a few dollars and clicks away.
Most of you have attended a local or national art convention, craft retreats, spiritual retreats, teacher conferences and workshops in the past year.
One of my big DSS Dream Projects is to host a lovely, creative art retreat in beautiful Santa Barbara. I really thought I might do it this summer but things got in the way. Next year?
YOUR FAVORITE TYPE OF DSS POST
So happy that 97% of you like my art tutorials. My bog focuses on art lessons, so it’s no wonder that this should be your favorite type of post. Posts that talk about techniques, supplies and tips are also popular but the most requested post is tips on classroom management, organization and motivating students.
Many of you asked for more free art tutorials.
I was surprised by this as almost 80% of my blog contains free stuff. However, after a quick analysis of 2014, I realized that this wasn’t exactly true for my most recent content. For most of 2014, my time was spent producing Art School for Kids. This took an extraordinary amount of effort and the balance of paid vs free content suffered.
Going forward, my goal is to offer two free lessons per month; one for the K-2 age group and one for the 3-6 age group.
YOUR FAVORITE ACTIVITIES
You also like to sew, paint furniture, draw, write, ski, run, hike, cycle, kayak, make jewelry, volunteer, dance and take care of goats.
I think you guys would be pretty fun to hang out with.
Okay. This is THE BIG ONE.
Thank you. Really.
You guys expressed your heartfelt gratitude and love for Deep Space Sparkle. You are so very kind to leave me such lovely notes. I will print out many of them to read on the days when I get that one email telling me that I’m a horrible art teacher.
All suggestions were awesome. This feedback is greatly appreciated and I will consider everything.
This is what you asked for, commented on and were frustrated by….
- More easy bundled book and art packages
- More clay lessons (you’ll love my new e-course: Create with Clay)
- Print-making lessons
- Art History
- More step-by-step videos for free
- More pencil drawing lessons and drawing techniques
- Search bar improvement (I totally agree! Neil is on this.)
- Many ask if there is a way to share art work on my site. Neil and I haven’t figured out a way to do this on our site that wouldn’t require moderating and editing. Many art teachers and art moms are using Instagram to share and discuss art projects. It’s a perfect way to share: just snap a picture of the artwork with you Instagram app on your smart phone, edit if you wish, tag with #deepspacesparkle and that’s it!
I receive a lot of requests asking me to align my lessons with every type of assessment/standards. And while I agree that having these tools is necessary for most of you, I’m afraid the time and attention it takes to add these to my lesson plans would not be worth it.
Standards change and vary. Both are good reasons why I don’t want to play the catch-up and editing game with my lessons.
Also, I don’t have to use standards in my art room so I’m not the most-informed art teacher out there.
I received a few suggestions of adding more art advocacy to my site. Although I advocated for my art program in the past, it’s not part of my overall intention and purpose for Deep Space Sparkle. My role is to inspire and serve art facilitators in whatever capacity they teach art: home, school, church or camps. I believe this is what I was meant to do.
I was also asked to align my lessons and blog posts with the “real world”. I read this to say that many art teachers and classroom teachers need easy, prep-free lessons for their varied group of students. I hear you. Not everyone has 10 minutes between classes and only 5 classes a day. You are worked! I’ll try to introduce these types of lessons that are accessible for the busy teacher.
My favorite comments:
“I do not have a degree in Art, but I love it, learning for myself and then being able to pass it on to children. Eight to ten years ago, I had to dig up and research all my own resources which was a lot of time and work. Ever since I discovered DSS, you have been a God send! To have available 100’s of ideas for curriculum, not to mention the easy to follow instructions, and your videos, all are a blessing to me. I love that I now have more confidence and I do branch out with your inspirations and try my own things. You are my cyber mentor! “
“I actually wouldn’t mind more emailed tips, ideas, news? Can’t believe I’m saying that! But I do enjoy your product and brand:) Well done and keep it up!”
“Don’t change anything! I’ve recommended your site to many homeschoolers because I LOVE the lessons. You’re prices are affordable and the lessons are easy to follow. I’m very grateful to have found your site. Thank you for having and maintaining it. You. Are. AWESOME!!”
“I love your blog and have been following since the early days! You’ve come a long way baby! “
“Don’t mess with perfection! But do consider a workshop or conference! I’m in Sonoma County and I’d drop all to attend!”
“I really love your art lessons and your design aesthetic–everything you do is just beautiful! I teach classes for preschoolers at the art museum, and I often only get to do art-making with them for 30 minutes (after looking at the art in the galleries). I’d love more projects that can be accomplished in a REALLY short time, but still are meaningful and offer parents ideas for how they can expand art-making at home.”
“Maybe have a list of resources to visit if you are a parent wanting to encourage your child in art. I know there are specific blogs addressing parenting and art, but I’m interested in what YOU think is best, be it books, other blogs, materials, etc. How does a mostly-inept-at-art mom help a child who shows promise in art? any suggestions on transportation, i.e. How do I get my child to NOT crumple up his beautiful work in his backpack?”
“Hire me to help you full time!”
“It’s such an honor to learn from you, Patty. You are a true inspiration to me in many ways, and have helped me become a better art teacher. I would love to learn more about developmental stages and theme interests in specific grade levels (I printed out that info from your teacher calendar) I have always appreciated how you reply to my questions and are so genuine and supportive.”
“Would love a list of materials needed prior to purchasing lessons. As a home educator, purchasing lessons and then extra supplies can be costly so if I could, I’d pick what doesn’t require extra materials. Love the lessons though!”
Thank you to everyone who participated in the survey and read this insanely long report.
You are amazing!