Archive for the ‘Spring 2013’ Category
Middle schoolers are in a transitional point of their lives. They are developing themselves socially while growing from childhood into their teenage years and it is important to consider their voices and encourage them to make choices and take risks in the classroom.
I have been introducing students to the concepts that art can be impermanent and that accidental, and that playing with material and concepts is an important part of the artistic process in helping to create new studio habits of thinking and working. We also discussed how artists use critique to give helpful feedback and ask questions.
I developed a small unit introducing these concepts for my seventh graders in which we tattooed bananas with famous art works. The students researched their randomly assigned artists, learned about how to use stippling to create value, and discussed different artists that created impermanent works of art.
Most importantly, the students seemed to enjoy this assignment and the ‘fruits of their labor’ paid off with a fun and productive student led critique! The whole process was quite a’peel’ing!
One of the things I have been most grateful for during my first placement is a school-wide behavior management system that was put into place within the past few years. I am still working on consistent and clear consequences (and rewards!) for behavior, so having a clear system that the students understand and is reinforced by classroom teachers is wonderful. I’ll try to explain as best I can:
We have a color-coded system that corresponds to each student’s behavior. The students start each day on green (“Ready to Learn”). For good behavior, they can move up to blue (“Super Student”) and then purple (“Excellent Effort”). When students don’t make good behavior choices, they can be moved down to yellow as a warning (“Make Better Choices”). Below yellow is orange (“Think Time”), in which a student fills out a sheet about their actions that is saved by their classroom teacher. Finally, below orange is red, which is a parent contact or office referral (at the teacher’s discretion).
Each class has a large file folder that stays in their general classroom, and gets carried with them when they go to resource, lunch, and recess. When opened up, the folder has a small pocket for each student. The pockets either have students numbers or their names on them, it varies by class. Each student has a card that corresponds to the color they are on for the day. Generally, a class will have mostly greens or blues, with some yellows. Sometimes, I’ll be lucky enough to have a class that is all blue or purple (see image below!).
The reason I’m in love with this system is because it allows for consistency between all teachers. As a resource teacher, seeing each class for 45 minutes a week, with a 700-800 students total, I could imagine it being very difficult to follow through with consequences.
Of course, you can manage behavior within your room, but you wouldn’t have much influence on students once they left your class (most likely). With the colored cards, you get a general idea of how the class is behaving for the day, and the classroom teacher also knows how students are behaving when they are in other classes. Also important to note: at the end of each day, students record what color they finished on. This can help staff keep an eye out for potential issues that need to be resolved (for example, a student that is usually green or blue, finishing yellow or orange a few days in a row).
Some classes might have special rewards for students reaching certain colors, but just the possibility of being on blue or purple seems enough for most students! It’s great to use for positive reinforcement (“I really appreciate my friends over here that remembered to come in and sit quietly on the rug until we begin class, can you move your cards up?”). I’m still working on being consistent with moving cards down (I tend to hesitate sometimes), but I’m getting better at it.
Of course, this is something that needs to be implemented by an entire school, but if anyone ever has the chance to suggest it or use something similar, I would definitely recommend it. It’s been awesome!
I had the opportunity to see how field trips were organized from the beginning to end! We went to Williamsburg, DC, and Suntrust Bank to enhance the students learning. The 6th graders are embroidering with me, so going to see more handwork in two different places was stellar! The 8th graders had been learning about tudor portraits before I got there, so we went to see the pre-raphiliates exhibit at the National Gallery. It worked out perfectly that one of the rooms had so much William Morris work so they got a sneak peak of the Arts and Crafts/Art Nouveau movements to aid in their learning for my project!
They all were so much fun and it was a great way to learn more about the students and build a relationship with them.
8th graders sketching at the National Gallery
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My Art III students have created a collage using a combination of their own drawings along with other found images and textures. The students are now in the process of using this collage as a composition study and basis for an abstract oil pastel drawing. At this advanced intermediate level, the students are interested in creating their own meaning within their artworks and this project is a basis for them to do so as they are able to develop their own theme or concept for the project. We explored the work of artists Romare Bearden and Kurt Schwitters, and the idea of abstraction. Lastly, after learning about the importance of critique to themselves, their classmates and professional artists in the real world, the students will be conducting a final reflective critique on Friday.
I believe that an art teacher should almost always provide a project example for the students. Unlike most, I think that project examples serve as something for the students to aspire to, rather than something they will just copy. Most importantly, the way in which you design your lessons can certainly inhibit the students from copying your example. For the most part the artworks created in the art classroom should be individual and personal, inspiring meaningful art making, although the students may be learning and practicing the same technical skills. I think it is important for the students to be able to refer to project examples anytime throughout the project. It is also nice for students in different classes to be able to see what the other levels are working on. Most of them get excited by seeing other projects, whether it be done by the teacher or another previous student, and are sometimes inspired to do something similar on their own.
With the end of the second placement coming up, it is time to start doing some grading! My cooperating teacher established a routine for her students at the beginning of the year. She starts each class by having a warm up, which results in a 10 point grade. In progress grades are also worth 10 points. Worksheets and practice grades are 20 points while artwork and projects are anywhere from 50-100 point grades. For each project, the students self assess their work by using a rubric that grades them on creativity and craftsmanship, rating themselves in one of five overall areas. The images below show a poster explaining grades and a blank rubric used for self assessment as well as teacher assessment.
My 8th grade year students were inspired by the word “invisible”/”invisibility” to brainstorm different ideas. I asked the students to come up with a list of 2 to 3 words and/or statements that they think of when they think of the word invisible. The students came up with words such as: transparent, unseen, overlooked, vanished, stealth, and even Harry Potter’s invisibility cloak. We used these words and ideas to build a person that embodies these characteristics. Some examples that student’s came up with are the homeless, victims, or passed loved ones. Students created meaningful portraits from cardboard shown below.
My seventh grade year and semester classes are making art using the printmaking process. While planning this lesson, I was trying to figure out the best way to supply all students with ink while also containing the mess. I decided to have one big table in the front of the room with 12 places available for students to ink their plates. Once each student inked their plate, they would take their plate back to their seat where paper and tools were inside of a box at their table. The student would make the actual print at their table and place it on the drying rack before returning to print again. Clean up was simple due to newspaper protecting the ink table and bins filled with water for brayers and plexiglass plates to soak.
The Art I students are in the process of creating a “duo-chromatic” hard edge style painting with a composition based on architectural elements of their high school. After reviewing the process of tinting paint colors with white and shading paint colors with black, the students mixed two colors of their own and then practiced shading and tinting each of those colors on a reference sheet. After learning about hard edged style, non-objective painting, and laying out their architectural composition the students are able to exhibit craftsmanship within their own hard edge style painting without using removable tape for clean lines. NP
Here are some examples of works in progress…
The drawing students are in the process of creating a full value drawing that displays a combination of imagery to create a sense of an individual’s dream or memory, but is not easily interpreted by an outside viewer. After learning about the artistic use of hierarchical scale the students were able to draw their imagery scaled by importance (or clarity). After learning the three parts of a landscape or image (foreground, middle-ground, and background) the students were able to plan out the composition for their dream or memory-scape. The twist or second step will be to cut into the finished drawing using an Xacto knife, glue a second layer of paper behind the drawing and complete the cut out space showing the same previous value but now with colored pencils.
Here is my project example based on a memory I have of my dog that passed away this summer…
Here are some in-progress student examples…