Thursday, February 18, 2016

Community Engagement

 I found these images in an old hard drive. This project was an attempt to help students engage with the realities of their community as well as in other neighborhoods in their city.

Myself and two friends drove through a few communities that had been influenced by the work of Habitat for Humanity. We took photos of homes that were empty, not yet affected by the organization's work.

I brought these photos to my classroom and explained the work that Habitat does, challenging to think about living in a neighborhood that had empty, abandoned homes. I asked them to think about the things they take for granted, and to consider what they thought made a home a good place to live. Then they each chose a photograph and got to work using whatever material/techniques they desired.


Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Personal Interests

Students often have little time during school to pursue their own interests. For example, this young man is fascinated with the sport of boxing. Along with creating this drawing of Rocky Balboa from an image he saved on his laptop, he also designed costumes in the Fashion Design Center for a movie idea called "The Knockout." I am not sure if he would have had the opportunity to explore those ideas elsewhere. 

This 4th grade girl has had a hard time finding her artistic voice in my room because she was more fascinated with collecting small, shiny objects from the floor. After opening the Sewing Center it seems she has finally found her niche and is now putting her detailed attention into her sewing projects.


It is always a pleasure to see children combine forces to create something that could not happen on their own. 

These three first grade students experiment with items from the collage center to create three-dimensional trees.  The girl on the right is sharing what she has learned so far about cutting and attaching the various parts of the sculpture.

These fifth grade girls were inspired to create a quilt for their homeroom teacher's new baby. None of them have sewed a quilt before, but they each share their ideas about how it can be done. They discuss the arrangement of the pattern to make sure that it is balanced well and unified. 

In the choice based classroom students learn to appreciate the skills and experience of others. They grow in independence (learning how to do it by themselves) and dependence (knowing when to ask for help from a peer). These second grade girls sit in close proximity as they try weaving for the first time. 

This group of 5th grade boys have been creating a 3D paper stadium for a number of weeks. The three of them (one is off finding materials) seemed to be rather unproductive at first because two would sit around while one would work on a portion of the project. I encouraged them to delegate jobs to one another and find ways to work around each other so that they could make progress more quickly. 

It is also interesting to see how "friend groups"interact in the studio setting. There are four pairs of girls creating similar 3D spaces (a resort...???). Even though they are in separate friend groups they are constantly commenting on each other's ideas and helping each other solve problems.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Art Assessment

As most art teachers might agree, there is never enough time. In my classroom, I have struggled to find a way for students to share their artwork and receive feedback from other students about their work. I have also wanted to create some authentic motivation for students to complete projects in a timely manner. This year in my older grades we are experimenting with an event called a "Critique/Share Party." Students have a due date by which they must complete at least one work of art and complete an artist statement about the work. Titles, artist names, and statements were typed out and posted along with the artwork in a gallery (i.e. the stairwell). At the end of the term students came to class, received critique sheets, and wrote about the work of their peers. To complete the event we had refreshments (snacks are a big deal to kids, let me tell you...). 

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Art Sharing on the World Wide Web

Sometimes the limitations of space, size, fragility of media make it difficult to display kids artwork at school. Sending artwork home with kids can also be risky. It's hard to know if it ever makes it. In a choice-based art classroom, I think that it is especially important that families support and encourage their children in their creative pursuits. This year I have decided to use a website called ARTSONIA as a way to display and share artwork with families. The teacher can take photos or make scans of work as the students complete it. I have instructed my students to complete artist statements complete with titles so that I can enter those in along with their images. Granted, this process can be very time-consuming, but so far I can see that the benefits outweigh the drawbacks as students seem excited to participate. As an added incentive, parents can purchase products with their child's artwork printed on it and 20% of the profits go back to the school in the form of gift cards. Not bad!



Thursday, September 5, 2013

My favorite part of the year is after all of the initial instructions and classroom guidelines. After they finally get the hang of the class order and my expectations of their behavior, I finally release them to their own ideas. What a joy to see the variety of interests, invented techniques, and ideas.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

We bought a zoo!

As an artist I see drawing as one of the most vital parts of my artistic process. Drawing also seems to be the hardest and most rewarding part of what I teach. For this reason I am always looking for ways to keep my students excited about it. To me, the art room seems like a pretty sterile environment when it comes to visual stimulation. The great outdoors, the clutter of a home, or new places seem like more ideal settings for discovering objects of interest for drawing. I do know, however, that children adore animals. For this reason I have invested in a set of realistic animal figurines. They still encourage the student to draw from a 3D object, but especially for the younger ones it stirs their imagination to create wonderful, inventive drawings. 

Monday, August 19, 2013

Way to go, 6th grade boys!

Congratulations to the fourth semester 6th grade boys who successfully completed their 3D town sculpture! The work paid off for them when they were able to share it with the student body at the end of the year art show!

100 Color Challenge

I don't like to use up much time in class explaining things. I just don't. I would rather a mad frenzy than a bunch of yawns. I find it tricky to gets kids warmed up to the art classroom at the beginning of the year. At the grand opening of the Painting Center this year, we began work on a 100 Color Challenge. My hope is that by working with a partner in this color exploration my students will discover new ways to create colors and use these in their paintings throughout the year. So far they are having a blast!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Share Station

This is one of the new additions to my classroom this year. After continuing to refine and enhance my choice based classroom and reading up a lot more on the TAB resources, I have but together an area in the classroom for the purpose of encouraging students to share their classroom experience.

The "Share Station"

This station contains charts with lists that correspond to all the classes I teach. There is also a file that contains stickers that correspond to the centers. Students mark their progress from week to week, allowing us both to see a rough picture of their interests and work in the centers. 

There are also artist statements for students to fill out once they have completed a work. These are then attached to their piece and submitted to the teacher to be photographed and placed in the "W.O.W Student Art Gallery."