Student Teacher Blog
The 8th graders had a chance to experience a brand new art technique: Chinese ink-wash painting for the first time. I introduced them to the history of Chinese ink painting and showed them example artworks of Chinese ink painting.
The tools that we use in Chinese ink painting are also called “The Scholars four treasures,”(文wen 房fang 四si 寶bao) which include bamboo brush, ink stick, ink stone, and rice paper.
Students started the lesson by sketching birds and branches, then practiced the technique of Chinese ink painting.
Students did a total of three paintings: one on rice paper, one on white painting paper, and one on sketching printing paper.
The theme of their paintings is Birds in the Spring season. They learned how to paint the bird, then the tree branches, then the small flowers or leaves on the branch.
Students were able to add mountains, clouds, or any natural elements in their beautiful paintings.
Keep in mind that Chinese ink painting only paint the “spirit” of the subject instead of the details!
When most think of crochet, they imagine a sweet grandmother sitting in a chair making blankets. A group of upperclassmen in my 3D 3 Design class were taught how to crochet and their final pieces were nothing like what your grandma makes.
Students learned the crochet basics including: the slip knot, the chain, turning chain, and single chain. Once they had mastered making a flat piece of crochet, they were taught how to crochet in the round; both techniques were used to create their final pieces. They also learned how to read patterns, which helped to give them a guideline to follow instead of trying to crochet blind. I utilized a pre- and post-assessment method to make sure students understood what they were reading in the patterns.
Inspired by Claes Oldenburg’s “Floor Cake” and various contemporary crochet artists, students were asked to make a piece of crochet food. We discussed the context of crochet as a fine art practice and the idea of making food that could not be eaten. Students were really passionate about the food they created, even adding elements that I did not require. Every student exceeded my expectations and my cooperating teacher has even adopted crochet as a new practice to teach her future students.
Art 1 is encouraged to cut up their abstract painting into 4 sections in order to revaluate the composition as 4 separate compositions. They are then presented with a challenge to create an animation with their existing ink paintings and/or use their knowledge that they have learned about ink to create new ink paintings. For those students who are the most enthusiastic about this change of events in curriculum, they are choosing various methods to re-approach their work with imaginative problem solving skills. Their short stop motion animation story is required to be 50 frames in length with a title page and artist statement. Art 1 will be responsible for creating their own stop motion experimentations, short cause and effect stories, as well as social media advertisements for their final public art show which will be help at a local venue.
By investigating rituals of intent through the artistic media of ink wash painting and how its expressive qualities capture the living energy of a ‘mark’, Art 1 and Art 2 students are taught how to abstractly express their emotions, as well as expand on their visual literacy capacities. As a way to explain what Art 1 and Art 2 have been working on for the past 3 weeks, I have decided to post my unit overview with accompanying photos of student artwork and the evolving classroom environment.
Rituals of Intent: In Social Practice and Art Making
Artists use art making as a means of creating self awareness of their own emotions, energy, and creative abilities in order to communicate an idea through the fundamental elements and principles of art. Especially with abstract art, artists experiment with expression of line, color, shape, and texture, and how these elements may be arranged to evoke a reaction from the viewer. Artists who look at and talk about art are more likely capable to create their own art with greater intention. Like any decision that is intentional in life practices, we as humans acknowledge patterns or cause and effect relationships that exist in both social practice and in visual art. By building upon these layers of understanding within the practice of art making, the human as creator begins to expand upon a foundation of creating expression and becoming more visual literate. In this 8 week unit, high school students in art 1 and art 2 will be challenged to break away from drawing kitchy pop symbols such as hearts, stars, and even their own name, and instead dig deeper within themselves to discover how to make visible what is not already to both themselves and the perceiving world.
The students’ journey will begin with experimentation of line quality through the fluidity of ink brush mark making. They will be briefed with a history of ink’s origin in expressive ink wash painting from the Eastern oriental culture of ancient China’s Song to Ming dynasty, which is a time when ink painting changed from the highly decorative to an aesthetic that evokes a form of expressionistic art practiced with focus more on the meditative qualities for the individual. This foundational investigation of ink will expand to include the query of fundamental expressive qualities of line when expressing emotions, as well as creating various texture with additional found objects. The idea of intent will be exhibited through the teacher’s own performed practice as she introduces intention through ritualistic daily practice of a Chinese tea ceremony, an opportunity of guided meditation, open-ended lessons in ink in order to embrace free-form experimentation of media and emotional self expression, as well as environmental influences such as continual changes within the aesthetic of the room (that include rearranging furniture, integrating plant and animal life into the space, and hanging up all the student’s evolving artwork). Both Art 1 and art 2 begin with the same class structure for the first 2 weeks, but then break off into separate focuses of intention within their creative practices.
The 8th graders in my middle school learned how to create a self portrait by using the technique of printmaking. They started from sketching two different self portraits in a cartoon style and sketched one design for their initials and one for their symbols. In this lesson, they were introduced to the history and technique of traditional printmaking.
Then, they used a styrofoam board to carve their self portraits, and used an x-acto knife to carve their initials and symbols on a rubber stamp.
Students carefully removed the negative space of their symbol to create a relief stamp.
Then, they started the printmaking process. They applied ink on their foam boards and stamps and started to print on their paper! Everyone should have two self portrait prints in the middle and initials and symbols on the border.
taadaa! Gorgeous self portrait pieces by Joe and Rosemary.
During my first week at the high school, I was becoming familiar with my classroom, comprehending the different school procedures, and getting acquainted with my students. One class in particular peaked my interest, because of one particular table of students who are all Deaf (and they prefer Deaf, not hearing impaired). These four students range in grade-level from sophomore to seniors and they are accompanied by two interpreters, Maggie and Allison.
I briefly interviewed Allison about what it’s like being an interpreter at the high school level. She told me that she was first drawn to being an interpreter after taking an American Sign Language (ASL) class in college and becoming interested in the language. In the state of Virginia, there is a now a certification process for becoming an interpreter, but there wasn’t when Allison joined the program. She was certified at the national level through the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf (RID). Allison has had experience interpreting at all the different school levels and the community level, but said she preferred working with the students in schools more. She loves this school in particular because the teachers she works with are great and the kids are a blast.
As I’ve observed these students and have begun to teach them myself, I’m feeling a bit nostalgic since I worked with deaf students while I was in high school as a peer instructor. But, I also feel connected to these students as a teacher with a hearing impairment. I was officially diagnosed with Ménière’s Disease about a year ago, though I had been suffering from symptoms since I was 17. One of the symptoms of this particular disorder is hearing loss: I’m 85% deaf in my left ear. Though I was not born deaf and I have very little knowledge of ASL, I feel a personal connection to these students. They are showing me that just because you can’t hear the world around you, that doesn’t mean you can’t be fully immersed in your environment and be inspired by it.
Do you ever get tired of listening to your own voice all day long? Sometimes it’s nice to take a break and let a new perspective fill the room.
I love bringing guests into the art room! So far I have brought a ceramic artist, a painter, a musician, and my little brother. I always connect the guest to my big ideas and lesson plans. Art connects to every career and person, so finding an excuse to bring someone in is never hard to do. My students are always so eager to learn from and talk to the guests.
I love the way my students respond to guests in the classroom! They ask questions and show off their skills – it is so fun to see. Having a new person in the room is a great way to liven up a unit that is taking a while to get through. It changes the whole dynamic of the room.
The unit written for 3D Design 2 was originally supposed to be a marionette lesson based in character design and interpreting original characters in puppet form, but it took an interesting and unexpected turn the day before I began teaching. This was a great practice in being spontaneous and open to new elements for a project.
The day before I started instruction, we were approached by an English teacher who was hoping my cooperating teacher could use letters written by students for a potential art piece. These letters are about times students have been stereotyped, when they have stereotyped someone, or if they have experienced prejudice at length. We collaborated and altered my unit to accommodate these letters so students would be creating marionettes that represent these stereotypes which students could respond to by writing about how to combat discrimination.
The first few days were spent talking about puppets, marionettes, and watching the Jim Henson film “The Dark Crystal,” which prompted a discussion about physical characteristics and behaviors and how they communicate certain things to the audience. The next week got a little more serious with a feminist discussion about stereotypes, prejudice, and intersectionality. Students broke off into groups and discussed stereotypes that they knew, which we gathered into a large collaborative list and discussed as a class. As students were starting to grasp what we were tackling, they were asked to choose a letter and design a character based on the content. Some letters had a personal connection to the students who may have experienced something similar and others were learning experiences in dealing with discrimination that they couldn’t experience. Students drew a sketch of their character and began creating armatures for their final marionettes. In the coming classes, we will paper mache the armatures, paint them, and add the final touches and details that best communicate the stereotypes described in the letters. We plan on exhibiting the marionettes on the board near the office which is seen by all visitors to the school.
I’m glad I got to approach such a sensitive subject in my student teaching experience, especially since this is one of many related topics I hope to incorporate into my teaching practice.
My 3D Design 1 class was given a rather enticing dilemma: Would you turn a book into a piece of art if it meant destroying the original book?
Students decided on a personal theme and investigated it throughout their book. They were given a “theme web” to help organize their thoughts before getting to work. Most students tended to represent themselves visually within their book, but others explored topics that interested them like tv shows, books from media, feminism, and original creative stories.
Demonstrations for this project included: how to paste pages together, how to use an exacto knife to cut pages, and how to create windows/frames. Everything else that occurred during this project was completely based in experimentation and exploring various materials.
— Ms. Hegamyer