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My teacher in my second placement is a Donor’s Choose wiz! He’s gotten every project he’s applied for funded so his students have access to high quality materials and more! One of his projects was this Vitamix blender so his IB Juniors and Seniors could have smoothie Fridays!
This treat doesn’t happen every Friday, he only has these students on even days. He will ask them earlier in the week if they want to do it and they are responsible for bring the fruits and he will bring in the ice.
I was so happy to be there for this and see how it goes down. It was so nice to have a healthy morning snack while we were critiquing and it gave a relaxed atmosphere to a potentially tense kind of activity!
Just berries for this student!
The smoothie cups!
Post by Ms. Williams
Students began the stained glass project by selecting pieces of colored glass. Moravian Stars are made from 12 identically sized triangles of glass. The glass started in varied sizes, so students were forced to cut the glass down using a template. Cutting glass is tricky. Once you begin to score the glass with a glass cutter, you must cut all the way across without stopping.
In class we discussed transparent, translucent and opaque glass, I also introduced the artist, Louis Comfort Tiffany and his glass studio.
Below are 12 cut piece of glass.
The next step of the star-making process is grinding the glass. The classroom is equipped with 5 electric grinders. The grinder smoothes the edges of the glass and allows the sticky copper foil to make a better seal around the edges.
The sponge is in place to catch the small shards of glass and dust from flying into the air.
The glass below has been ground, washed and dried and the copper foil is ready to be applied. The foil is wrapped around each edge of the glass creating a frame, this is what the solder sticks to.
Below is a soldering iron! Before the solder can be applied, the glass and foil must be brushed with Flux. Flux is the dark red oily substance pictured below; it allows the solder to stick to the foil.
Below, soldered pieces are laid out to be pinned. Pinning is when you apply a drop of solder to keep pieces in place.
Once the pieces are cut, ground, foiled, fluxed and soldered, it’s quite quick to assemble the star. Below is a complete Moravian star! Students have been cutting, grinding and foiling their pieces, next week they begin to solder and assemble.
When I was first introduced to a choice based learning model I was a little bit intimidated. How could I make sure the students were on task? What would the classroom look like with so many materials out? How could I manage each of these projects at once? As someone who is very comfortable with the controlled lesson plan format, I thought that choice-based lessons would be almost impossible. At my middle school placement, however, I was opened to a world of possibility! Through skills scaffolding and careful directions, I truly believe that choice based lessons can be implemented in any classroom.
As an introduction to my choice based units, students learned many new skills in order to ensure their success. Each of my lessons for a week were meant as a tool that students would be able to reference at any time during their project. My sixth graders started by working on a unit inspired by the artist, Cindi Sherman. Their assignment was to choose a costume or outfit that they had a strong personal connection to. Did it change their identity? Did it change the way others perceived them? Was it something that was attached to a good or bad memory? Each student had a unique response.
Students began each day by looking at a unique portrait image. Not only were students able to incorporate creative writing with these art criticism activities, they were able to share their thoughts and compare them to reality which was an extremely valuable experience for them. Below is a favorite of my students which was inspired by Cindi Sherman, by photograher Sarah Anne Ward.
After this time, “Start With Art,” as referred by my cooperating teacher, students would begin a lesson to scaffold skills. Since this was a portrait project, we spent the week learning facial and bodily proportion, shading, drawing facial features and engaging in many figure drawing activities. Each of these skills provided students with the foundation of knowledge that they would need to create their composition.
Next, students were given a project sheet outlining the requirements. We reviewed this sheet together, making sure that the students were aware of all of the guidelines. For this particular project, students were required to use mixed two-dimensional media, one element of cut paper (another scaffolding skill that we learned) and color. They were also required to choose a subject that had significant personal meaning to them.
As time unfolded, the variety in results was truly incredible. Students were engaged throughout the class period because they had been given the opportunity to take ownership of their work and create something that they felt was truly their own.The class meets for 90 minutes and I break up the class into 3 sections, giving a demonstration every 30 minutes. An example of one of these demonstrations could be how to mix paints to produce flesh tone, how to blend Prisma pencils or even how to create a unique frame. These were not only additional tools for students to add to their toolboxes, but were an excellent way to get everybody up and moving and talking about their artwork.
This unit helped me remember what I loved about art when I was in school. It was the ability to take an assignment and use materials that I was interested in experimenting with to make it my own. Of course not everyone is always going to love every project, but when students have the option to choose their materials and a subject that they are truly excited about, they are given the ability to take ownership for their learning and many of them will rise to the opportunity. This is something magical that you can’t plan.
During my first week teaching at Freeman High School, I wanted to ease into getting to know the students with a project I had done with the 5th graders at my elementary placement. First, we talked about improvisation and watched a TED Talk about the rules of “improv” acting and how they apply to life. The next day, we did a few improv exercises, which the students really enjoyed.
After dipping our toes into some improv theater, we applied collaborative improv to visual arts! The students sat in groups of 3 or 4, and each person had a different colored pencil and a sheet of paper. First, everyone drew a random squiggle on their page. Next, they passed their papers around the circle so that each person had one of their teammates’ squiggles. For the next two minutes, it was everyone’s job to turn that squiggle into a drawing. After 2 minutes had passed… everyone passed their papers around again and elaborated on the drawing they were handed. Before this activity, we had discussed how collaboration and the “rules of improv” work. This involves saying “yes, AND…” What this means is that when you look at the drawing in front of you, you say “yes” (acknowledge and agree with what’s there), “AND…” (contribute your own addition to the drawing that makes sense and enhances what’s already there). Their final “collabs” (what I like to call them) were really interesting… especially where you can see the various colors of a single drawing representing a different person’s contribution.
After this activity, I had the groups select 1 of their drawings that they thought was the most successful and that they wanted to transform into a final collaborative piece. They selected a drawing, split up the responsibilities of the art piece so that they would each work on a different component (background, foreground, details, etc.) and glue them all together. In the below piece, one person drew the buildings, one person drew the balloons, one person drew the fireworks, etc. and then they glued them all together.
I showed the students a few different colored pencil techniques. We went over hatching, crosshatching, stippling, scumbling, and back and forth stroke. I emphasized constant communication so that they could be aware of how the size of their element of the piece compared to their collaborators’. The final result is a great example of how, when you work collaboratively, you can come up with ideas and results that would not have been possible alone.
IMPROVISED COLLAB FINAL COLORED PENCIL COLLAGE
Students in Mr. Booths Art 1 class at Armstrong High school studied the works of french photographer Jean-Paul Goude and the way he creates his cut and extended photos. Student were then challenged to then recreate this technique.
Grace Jones for her Slave to the rhythm cover by Jean-Paul Goude
Student had to not only think creatively but they also had to plan carefully and also keep a tidy and neat work as they were cutting out multiple pieces that had a specific order to be placed in.
Student were given multiples of one image with which they dissected then reassembled side by side like a puzzle. Students really got into this project because the final product is one that is untraditional. The images that were created were creative and complex.
This project was incredibly simple to do with students and can be completed without access to a computer lab. It could be more personalized if each student had access to a camera and computers. This lesson could be created digitally, but this time we followed Jean-Paul Goude’s methods and created these works by hand.
Post by Ms. Rouatt
Art 4 has been getting close and personal with our new special classroom friend – a skeleton! We named him “Nelson.” The science department kindly lent us Nelson so that the art students could work on their observation skills to draw anatomy. The first day Nelson joined us, the students had one class period to draw him to the best of their ability.
The drawings they created were great! I noticed, however, that most of them started with the skull and were focused on adding details very early, causing them to pay less attention to the proportions of the whole figure. The next day we talked about gesture drawing, and the students made gesture drawings of each other. Everyone got a chance to pose for a 5 second, 10 second, 30 second, and minute-long drawing. I emphasized that the students should focus on expressing the forms they saw rather than the contour lines.
The next day, during a shortened class, we made some gesture drawings of Nelson. My cooperating teacher and I posed him in a few different positions.
On Thursday, we did an activity so that students could realize their own physical proportions. I asked the students to work in partners of two to measure the following:
How many heads tall are you? How many heads wide is your wingspan? How many hands long is your forearm? How many hands long is your upper arm? How many (of your feet) tall is your leg? How far does your foot go up your forearm starting at the tips of your fingers? Which is wider, your hips or your shoulders? By how many inches?
They used pieces of string to do their measuring and wrote down the results in their sketchbooks. Everybody had slightly different proportions and there was a *mind blowning* kind of moment when the students realized their wingspans were as wide as they are tall.
After doing some of these activities to build an understanding about proportions, the students are working on new drawings of Nelson. Our project, which I will be assigning them tomorrow, will be about the concept of “support,” inspired by the role the skeleton plays in the body.
Kindergarten is a time where play and imagination finally come together to form what we love to call “learning.” There is nothing I enjoy more than watching a kindergartener’s eyes light up as they learn new concepts while they participate in activities that they formerly only knew as ‘play.’ For one of my units, I chose to introduce the little ones to shape, line, pattern and watercolor through the larger concept of engineering. On the first day of the unit, students learned about square and rectangle shapes through a character that I invented for both Kindergarten and 1st graders called, “Stanley Straightline.” Stanley the snake has a family that LOVED making shapes, particularly shapes of straight lines. The students really got excited for Stanley and even stood up to show their long and short sides. This turned out to be a great way to introduce shapes to the students and they really retained the information. Kindergarten and imagination go hand in hand like two peas in a pod.
Next, students traced squares and rectangles, or if they were feeling confident, drew the shape on their own using a pencil. The following class we traced over our pencil lines using white oil pastel. We talked about the importance of oil pastels and how they were very fragile so it is important to make sure we are gentle! We read the book “Iggy Peck, Architect” during the beginning of class. We talked about what an architect is and put our architect hats on- it was time to create a blueprint! The final step of the unit was to add blue watercolor- the students went crazy for this, I had never seen anything like it. When I gave my demo of the blue watercolor resist, during one of my classes, I was given a standing ovation. Kindergarten students love using their imagination, they thought this was magic and could not wait to try it for themselves.
During the last couple of classes we had an opportunity to play. Students became architects by building small models of buildings out of lego blocks. We then practiced drawing our squares and rectangles and drawing from life by using construction paper crayons to draw a picture of our models. This activity was a lot of fun and I witnessed some stellar results. The two pieces of artwork they produced from this unit was displayed as a pair and this looked great in the hallway. I would definitely recommend testing out a unit or lesson that emphasizes play as a means of learning. It is so easy to forget how important it is.
During my teaching experience at CHES I was able to display works around the school. This was not only exciting to the students, but it does a phenomenal job at brightening up school’s hallways.
The first display I created for students was a display for International Dot Day. I used the slogan “MAKE YOUR MARK” and sprawled my creation along the large banner across the wall. Below this display there are six large bulletin boards that I used to showcase the students dot artwork that they had created. The exhibition of their work excited the students as their artwork was being displayed on the first day of school and will continue to stay up throughout the year.
In the hallway near the library, I created a display for the second-grade students unique flowers. This display highlighted six students that did an exceptional job created a collaged flower.
Lastly, I placed small bouquets of flowers that kindergarten students had created in various locations within the library. The kindergartners were so excited to have their work displayed in such a high traffic area. This also encouraged all students to venture into the library before school. The librarian noticed a higher amount of traffic after the artwork was on display.
There are many different ways that art can help raise money at your school. Square One is one of many opportunities that your school can participate in to fundraise. My school is going to take the money raised from the children’s artwork and put it towards a new playground. The great thing about Square One is what the students get out of it. Even if the parents are unable to purchase any of the gifts, each kid gets their artwork printed on stickers for free. Every kid feels included through this company! The parents have the choice to buy many things such as shirts, mugs, mouse pads, magnets, bags, phone cases and more with their child’s artwork on it. Many art teachers may see Square One as a hassle because of the quality of work that is needed and the amount of paper work that needs to be completed. With Square One you want to make sure your lesson is not too abstract and will attract the eye of all parents. It should be creative, colorful, and easy to understand. I was very excited when I heard we would be doing this fundraiser — these were the first lessons I taught at the beginning of the year and the results are beautiful.
Beginning September 26th, VCU’s Department of Art Education will host Investigation NOW!–an art-based interdisciplinary educational program for 8th and 9th grade students. The program uses art as a form of inquiry to explore contemporary issues, like:
How does art do and undo and redo?
As artists, how do we give form to the invisible?
This program is for you if:
- You love thinking across boundaries.
- You enjoy experimenting with different ways of making art.
- You see art as an important part of the world.
- You want to dig deeply into contemporary art idea.
For more information and to download the application, click here!