Normally I teach both abstract and non-objective art in a full-on unit. This year I decided to revise that. While I think the information included is important, it was information that could be learned in a shorter amount of time…with the right activities and check-ins. I am lucky as our school is 1:1 and has a set of TVs at the front of the school that we can hook in to.
Day 1: Each class broke into 5 equal groups. They brought one computer with them and we headed to the front of the school. Each group hooked into a tv, and they were asked to first define both abstract and non-representational/non-objective. After that, each group went thru a slideshow and determined if an image was abstract or non-objective, based on what they had discovered in their definition search. At the end of class, we went thru the slideshow as a whole class.
Day 2: We briefly went over the definitions of each style of art. The students then were to watch 2 videos through playposit. One video was on Joan Jonas and the other was Soo Sunny Park. They students had to determine which artist would be considered abstract and which was non-objective. They also had to say why. This was really to stress the difference between the two genres and to let them see 2 artists at work.
Day 3: At the start of class, we had a check for understanding where kids defined each term, said what they had in common and what made them different. Then it was time for was our image find day. Each student had to create a document that contained 10 images. Five of the images had to be abstract. Five had to be non-objective. They also had to say why they chose those images–what drew them to those pieces. I like having them do this because it causes them not to choose the first 5 they find and to really search through a ton of images. Furthermore, it gives me some behind the scenes info into art they find intriguing.
Days 4-6: These were studio day. Students chose which type of art they wanted to create, then had 3 days to create that art. It was awesome. The first day about 60% of students were working, but by the second day, 95% were working and not rushing thru. I was very pleased with the conversations and the engagement by my students.
Day 7: Our final day of the bootcamp was reflection day. I asked students to fill out a google form. I asked them again to tell me the differences and similarities between abstract and non-objective. I asked them what genre their artwork fell into. Then I asked some opinion questions about the bootcamp and abstract/non-objective work. With the extra time left that period, kids could finish up anything they hadn’t gotten to over the past 3 studio days.
This was a huge success. It wasn’t so long that they eventually lost interest. And, it was focused and narrow enough for 95% to understand the two concepts.