Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Goals for the 2011/ 2012 School Year or Activities (techniques/concepts) to Revist

F.Y.I. It has been ingrained in me since my days at UMD with my all my art education professors, to say "activity" instead of "project."

Looking through my photos, I think I have posted about most of the lessons I documented last school year. There are a few however that didn't turn out as well as I had hoped, for various reasons. So, with a new school year (at a new school and with new age group) just weeks away, I think I will make a list of things I'd like to "re-do" or try again.

I tried a pattern (strips) pumpkin paper weaving last fall, with 3rd grade.
Ultimately, like any activity, there were fantastic woven pumpkins, while others were finished, but not entirely correctly. I'd like it to have a higher success rate.
see at the bottom left and top right
A few things didn't work:
1. Being the "new" art teacher, I only had these students for a few weeks at this point, and I did not fully know their capabilities. Some knew how to weave, some did not.
2. Timing- if I recall, this "one class period" lesson I found in a Scholastic book, took us two class periods.
3. Not having the right words- something I struggle with is phrasing directions in an appropriate, "kid" language, while still using the correct art terms and formal language.

If I did this again, I would possibly do some lead up, practice weaving sorts of activities. I think I would also make the pumpkin warp bigger for smaller hands. I would also nail down the language that would work best, before presenting the material.

As I will not being teaching 3rd grade this year, my goal would be to teach weaving this winter. There is a TON of yarn at my new school, and pre- notched cardboard looms begging to be used! The one other time I taught weaving, I had 12 kids in the class and I made the looms myself. I think making a small tapestry during the cold New England winter will be a perfect activity for my seventh or eighth graders.

Observational Drawing

Now transitioning to all middle school, all the time, I need to get into a different mind set. Middle school kids get it stuck in their head that art, and in particular drawing, is only good if it is realistic. While I don't agree with that, and will try to change their minds over the course of the year, I do want to give them tools to become better drawers.

These two observational drawings are done by 5th grade students. I feel like the process worked well and I would like to use it with my middle schoolers this year.

I had a couple of boxes at the back of the room, filled with the random nick nacks only art teachers could have. (Seriously, a fish on a stick!) I randomly called on a student to select an item. I encouraged certain sized items, but the choice was theirs. They then brought the item to a table in the front of the room, and the class sketched. After a few minutes, the next student selected an item and placed it behind the previous item. As a class, we made observations using key terms, and added the new item to the sketch. We continued this process until our square was filled. Over two classes, we did about 4, small sketches. 
We had also talked about value and had previously completed a "shattered" value, abstract drawing. I feel like the transition from that activity, to this drawing helped the kids understand the concept more completely and then were able to practically apply the idea. I feel like there could be more contrast in the values in these drawings, but then I have to remember that this was 5th grade! How great is this 5th grade drawing!? And, in just 2 classes?

So back to middle school, a goal for the year would be to complete more activities that build drawing skills.

Two little characters that when placed next to each other, evoke fear and anxiety in the hearts of some art teachers. --I tried this past school year, I really did. Not until the end of the year, but I did try.

Actually, both 3D- ish lessons we did came from There's a Dragon in my Art Room. We made abstract cardboard sculptures in 5th grade and Louise Nevelson inspired shoe box top reliefs in 6th grade. Unfortunately I do not have photos of the cardboard sculptures, as we finished them about a day before the end of school. However, I managed to collect so many pieces of cardboard, that I lugged two boxes full to my new school yesterday.

There are two reasons why I feel like I avoid 3D activities:
1. The "engineer" part of my brain is not strong. I feel like I would be unable to answer construction questions.
2. Managing 100+ student works is like trying to flamenco dance. I don't know the steps, I don't know how to contort or balance. Chances are I am going to fall or step on some feet. However, with practice, the dance can be beautiful.
So for the new school year, my goal is to learn, plan, and manage a few more 3D activities.

Seriously, how cool would a wall of these be?

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