artifact piece

In “The Artifact Piece” I became the Indian and lied in state as an exhibit along with my personal objects. That hit a nerve and spoke loud both in Indian country, the art world and the frontier of anthropology. The installation took objects that were representational of a modern Indian, which happened to be me, collecting my memorabilia such as my degree, my divorce papers, photos, record albums, cassettes, college mementos. It told a story about a man who was in college in the 60s, but this man happened to be native, and that was the twist on it.

James Luna on his 1987 performance Artifact Piece 


Have you ever heard of the Falleras Mayores?

In Valencia, Spain they hold an annual traditional celebration in commemoration of Saint Joseph. The term Falles refers to both the celebration and the monuments burnt during the celebration.

There are different conjectures regarding the origin of the Falles festival. One suggests that the Falles started in the Middle Ages, when artisans disposed of the broken artifacts and pieces of wood they saved during the winter by burning them to celebrate the spring equinox. Valencian carpenters used planks of wood called parots to hang their candles on during the winter, as these were needed to provide light to work by. With the coming of the spring, they were no longer necessary, so they were burned. Over time, and with the intervention of the Church, the date of the burning of these parots was made to coincide with the celebration of the festival of Saint Joseph, the patron saint of carpenters.

The five days and nights of Falles might be described as a continuous street party. There are a multitude of processions: historical, religious, and comedic. Crowds in the restaurants spill out into the streets. Explosions can be heard all day long and sporadically through the night. Everyone from small children to elderly people can be seen throwing fireworks and noisemakers in the streets, which are littered with pyrotechnical debris. The timing of the events is fixed, and they fall on the same date every year.

As part of this five day celebration there is a sort of, for lack of a better translation, a “Miss Falla” pageant where two Queens (Falleras Mayores) are chosen to be the official representatives of the whole Fallas. One is an adult, known as the “Fallera Mayor de Valencia,” and the other is a child, known as the “Fallera Mayor Infantil de Valencia.”

What does it have to do with historical costuming, you might ask?  The contestants for the Falla Queens, and the winners, along with their court, dress in elaborate18th Century costumes!

Who wants to go to Spain now? 

*Credit Unknown. Images from Google and Pinterest.

It hadn’t been that long since Diana had been back in New York. She had gotten herself unpacked and settled in her new condo and was beginning to sort through her art pieces and artifacts for her charity auction she was going to have. All of the proceeds were going to go to help rebuild the city. It was something that Diana Prince could do to help.

But as Wonder Woman, she could do so much more.

Which was how she ended up here, getting thrown into a building by a robot terrorizing the city. The Amazon quickly brushed off the throw and got up, unfazed by the attack. Diana dove in front of civilians that had gotten in the middle of the attack, throwing her arms up in front of her, deflecting bullets away from both her and the people behind her. She leapt through the air and punched the robot, knocking him back. She took out her sword and sliced through the metal before kicking the machine back and landing the final blow with her sword. Diana turned back towards the people, going to check on them.

One thing was for sure, Wonder Woman was back.

Why I Prefer Portfolio Assessments

TL;DR: I oppose standardized testing and prefer portfolio assessments for a number of reasons.

I cannot stand standardized testing. But I will save my rage against standardized testing for its own post. This post is about my preference for portfolio assessments.

•What is a portfolio assessment?

It is a way to document student learning by gathering together a series of student created artifacts (projects, writing pieces, etc). It is supposed to be graded on its own merits rather against other students like in the case of high stakes testing. The point is to prove a student met a series of goals for that content area and that they understand what worked for them, what didn’t work for them, and why.

•How does a portfolio assessment work?

The beauty of a portfolio assessment is that there isn’t one correct way to do it. It can be implemented as a school/teacher sees fit. The major thing is that the portfolio is graded solely on the student’s own work and ability to demonstrate achievement of learning goals, in any way that works for the student. So each student might submit a different combination of pieces for their portfolio, based on what helped them reach their goals. Portfolio assessments also need a clear and objective rubric of what is expected to be included in the portfolio.

•So why are high stakes tests used instead?

It’s easier on a school/district/state/other government body to administer one test to every single student. Portfolios take longer to grade and don’t lead themselves to comparing schools against each other.

•Who would portfolio assessments particularly benefit?

Students with IEPs and ELLs would particularly benefit from portfolio assessments, as the high stakes tests are often written for them to not do well either because the reading level is too high for the student’s ability, the cultural references are foreign to the students, and/or the instructions/test questions are too vague and confusing with multiple possible right answers. Some states in the US offer this option to certain students with IEPs. It should be expanded to at least all students with IEPs and all ELLs if not to all students. Also art classes are usually graded on portfolios as are some IB classes graded partly on a portfolio (i.e. IB Music and the IB foreign language classes).

So let’s use a fictional autistic student as an example:

A high stakes/standardized test can be very stressful. They are trapped in a room, expected to sit still and not stim for hours on end (as it is possible that the student has time and a half or double time, depending on their IEP). These tests were written for neurotypicals and may include references that this autistic student can’t understand, leading to more frustration. The environment may be bothering them sensory wise (for example; some autistics don’t do well in silence, also the room may be too hot or too cold).

But a portfolio assessment could help this student. The rubric should be written with clear and specific instructions that the student can reference back to when needed. The assignments can be submitted over the school term/year as to not have that “all or nothing” pressure adding to their possible anxiety. Their assignments submitted would reflect how they actually learn vs how they are expected to learn.

I would love the high stakes/standardized testing system abolished for a portfolio assessment system.

  • I am recruiting numerous persons from several ships including Pricefield, Chasefield, Grahamfield, Marshfield, Grahamscott, Caulscott, Amberprice and many others to unite with me on a crucial adventure. Each one of us will venture into the deepest lands of Medieval Oregon on a quest to find the pieces of a magical artifact. The pieces, when brought together, will unite into a long-lost platinum photography tripod which will be used by the Chosen One known as Max Caulfield to stick into Mr. Jeffersfuck's rectum and vanquish the true evil once and for all.
  • Unite with me, brothers and sisters! Let us stop bickers between ourselves and our ships to focus our true mission and become one hella loving family of shippers!
Viking Gods || Closed


It was another hot and dismal day, even for the young students who were visiting the old Viking church on the coast that boasted artifacts and a burial ground that was more complete than any other site. As a student of history and anthropology, this was usually Loki Laufeyson’s cup of tea, studying the runes and artifacts and old broken pieces of jewelry they had dug up over the years. Only today he was bored to tears and the heat was making him irritable and sleepy. He scratched at his newest tattoo on his neck, a Viking mark he had copied from an old manuscript about his name sake and had liked so much he got it branded on his skin. It still pleased him to be called ‘Loki’ and thought the name fit him well.

Now if only this professor would shut up and let him get some sketching done. Wandering away from the group a little, Loki found a tapestry that had been remarkably well preserved. Thanks to some monks who had hidden it away hundreds of years ago. The place practically breathed history.

“What I wouldn’t give to know what it was like back then,” he murmured, gazing on the face of a very young and good looking chief, their bright eyes seemingly drawing into his soul. “Damn he’s handsome. Probably a war chief. Too bad there aren’t anymore of him now a days.” He might have imagined it, or maybe it was the heat, but the tickle of a laugh sounded in his ears, the sound of bells like a jester bounced down the stone hall. Curious, Loki followed it, stopping just before the display of a Viking warhammer. It was a vicious looking thing, and without even thinking Loki reached out to touch the leather bound handle.

The floor tilted and went out from under him. Loki couldn’t even scream before he was falling, the ceiling of the church rising up and fading into black. When he opened his eyes again all he saw was sky, the wind rushing through his hair and clothes. Turning his head he met with a confused picture of grey and white, lines didn’t make sense, and he let out a piercing scream before plunging into the icy waters of the north sea.

The cold hit him like a brick, punching his lungs, but it also kick started his survival instincts. His shoes went off, legs and arms working to get himself to the surface and fresh air. He was beginning to panic when his head finally broke the surface, gasping and sputtering water from his mouth. “Help!“