Tag Archives: art 1

A Great TASK to Help Start the New Year

Standard
A Great TASK to Help Start the New Year

Today was the start of a new semester at school.  I thought we needed to start off with a great activity–one that would shake off the slumber of winter break and ring in creativity and imagination for a new year.  And what better way to do so than have a day-long TASK party.

What is a TASK party you ask?

You can also find a previous post on TASK here.

I pulled out a bunch of supplies I had in my storage room:  yarn, egg cartons, craft items, fabric, 12″ dowels, wooden hearts and starts, buttons.  I plugged in all the hot glue guns we had.  I grabbed the large rolls of colored paper from the faculty lounge.  And, I started with a container full of tasks.

This party was to last all day.  I have 7 classes.  Once I started the party, I only broke for lunch, which consisted of writing more tasks.  This was the only place the students faltered…well, and when it came to blindly picking a task.  (Many wanted to pick and choose their task.  It was hard to stop them.)

It really was a fun day.  A few kids fought it at first, but ended up having a good time.  I think they need that time to play.  High school kids don’t often get that anymore.  And bonus, no one was on their computer today.  I wish I knew how many tasks were completed today…or at least attempted.   It would be fun to figure it out.  Perhaps next time.

By the end of the day, my feet were killing me and I was tired as all hell.  But, I had a counter full of artifacts.  I had a hopscotch board on my floor, and I had 2 body outlines–one in dry erase marker and one in tape.  (Just an FYI–certain dry erase markers don’t come off the floor so easily.)  I had a roll full of photos of the students making and laughing and creating and smiling.  I had a heart full of memories. And, I think it set the tone that creativity is welcome here–and encouraged.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

How Do My Students Feel About Choice?

Standard

If you have read any of my posts, then you know exactly how I feel about Choice in my artroom.  And in case you are new…I love it!!!  Love it, love it, love it.

But all too often we talk about what we as teachers want and how something made us feel or if we made the right decision.  We don’t ask the students, the most important people in our teaching world, what they think.

So, I did just that.  I asked them on their midterm exam what the experience of having choice in their classroom was like.  Here are some responses.

“This effected me a lot because last year we were very limited on the materials we had to use, and we all had to do the same art work in  the same manner everyone was doing it. It was a good idea for you to change it to were we can all do different types of art work but with the same theme, for example we were able to carve, paint, draw, and a lot of types of work. i think that method should stay because you can see what each person likes, and what their good at.”   ~Aharon, art 2 student

“I was really appreciative of the opportunity to get to pick what I wanted to do and how I would do it.  Having little restrictions was really helpful in expanding my creativity and giving me more choices.”    ~Edward, art 2 student

“We had a variety of things to use and how to use them. I personally think that some of the projects shouldn’t have been so optional with such a variety of things. That the assignments shouldn’t have been so open to do what those of such wanted. Some should of been open to pick to choose their material used, but some also should of been told what to use and work with that and grow on that to know how to use it and get used to using it. When starting a project it took me awhile to pick what I wanted to do and what I wanted to use due to all the options we had. I am the type of person that I’m more comfortable to be told what to use and then go from there. So it was a challenge adjusting but I got it done. ”  ~Kalisha, art 1 student

“I liked the new way of teaching/learning you introduced because it gave me a lot of liberties. In my school (in Germany) we have more defaults and the pictures look similar. Here everybody can draw and interpret the theme his/her own way. That way everybody draws something different and unique.”  ~Dania, art 1 foreign exchange student

“I felt like it really effected me because if you wouldn’t have given us the choice to really be creative i wouldn’t really try and make something really boring just something easy. I feel like it honestly did help me because i am actually interested and feel like i could do something with my art one day in the future. I am honestly really happy i stayed in this class and you gave me freedom because without that i probably wouldn’t see how much i enjoy art and really see i can do a good job when i put actual effort into it.”  ~Casey, art 1 student

“I loved that we got to choose what our artwork was this year. It’s given me a lot more freedom and has actually made me care about my artwork because I’m doing what I want to do, instead of something that i have no connection to.”  ~Ryan, Art 2 student

“This was effective to me by, letting me use the things that i needed and allowing me to have the things i need to make my artwork be great, and make it to where i don’t just slap something on a piece of paper and turn it in. I can actually give it character.”  ~Zoe, art 1 student

“I remember last year in ceramics when we had to make a certain piece, but use the method our art teacher wanted us to use. This year, we have theme that our pieces must revolve around, and we may use which ever method of building we like. Personally, I love this new method our teacher has been using for this year. I feel this allows us to continue to use a method we enjoy and focus on improving our skills using that method. Instead of constantly changing which method we have to use and using a method some students might dislike more than others. For example, say we are assigned to make usable containers, one student could use the slab method while another might use coils. There could also be a student who wants to use his or her own method to build a container. They each can find a way they like to sculpt and continue to learn more and more about whatever method they choose. We also have the privilege to try and improve our skill in a method we are not yet comfortable with.”  ~Joseph, intermediate ceramics student

Far and wide, almost all of my students (with the exception of beginning ceramics because I have not moved that class to choice…yet–it is coming next semester) really like having the choice.  They like being able to experiment and try new things and start over with another medium when the first they chose isn’t working.  They like being able to interpret themes as they wish.

I appreciate Kalisha’s perspective as well.  I know for some it is really hard to not be told how to do something, especially when you have been told how to do it for most of your young life.  She is a fabulous artist who spends time thinking about how she will interpret things and trying new mediums.  She works hard and has created some fabulous work.  I think that one day she might change her mind about having such freedom because from my perspective, it is working for her.

For more reading my students’ responses, go here.  I would also like to thank the teachers of Apex High School (for the umpteenth time) for sharing what they have done in their TAB classrooms.  I “stole” their exam questions to use with my students.

 

You Can Go “Home” Again

Standard

Our third theme in Art 1 this year was “home”. This proved to be a harder theme than anticipated…and one that many thought was uninteresting. I knew some students wouldn’t be able to get past doing a drawing or a painting of their house, no matter how much we discussed different things that “home” could mean.

I challenged them to look beyond the obvious and look into their lives and show me what home meant to them. Many took this challenge. Many succeeded. But, many fell short. However, that doesn’t mean they didn’t learn anything.

A new “station” was opened on this unit. I introduced them to paint. We looked at watercolor pencils and watercolor paints. We also looked at acrylic paints. I could see the sparkle in the eyes of the few that explored the world of acrylics. I watched the frustration. And I saw the perseverance of the few that kept working and working until they were satisfied.

While I am unsure if I will use the theme of “home” again, I am pleased with the results. Here are some of my favorites.

P1040790

To see all the artwork, visit The Barnett Blog.

Man / Machine

Standard

Our first TAB unit is coming to a close.  Art 2 finished last week, and Art 1 is just about done.  The theme the students were challenged with was MAN/MACHINE. As a class, we talked about what “man” could mean, what “machine” could mean, and what connections/interactions/relationships they could have.

The students were limited to a black and white drawing no smaller than 8X10. We talked about different techniques including hatching, cross-hatching, pointillism, and scratchboard.  The students practiced these along with charcoal and using white pencil on black paper.

I couldn’t have asked for a better first theme.  The students gave it their all–well, 98% did.  They learned so much about the artistic process.  Many sketched first before committing to a final drawing.  Others went through 2, 3, or even 4 ideas before settling on something.  Some even started final works, reflected on what they were doing, weren’t happy, then started over again.  Kids researched drawing faces and learned how to draw wood grain.  I don’t think my classroom has seen so much independent learning in one artwork in an art 1 class, ever.  Art 2 amazed me with their thought processes and choices.

Interpretations were all over the map.  Here are just a few.

P1040280

P1040281

P1040288

P1040289

P1040294

P1040295

P1040296

P1040297

P1040299

P1040303

P1040305

On "aged" parchment paper.

On “aged” parchment paper.

P1040326

P1040330

P1040333

On newsprint, like a comic.

On newsprint, like a comic.

I have to admit that I was nervous putting them up in the hallway to display.  I was nervous that my colleagues would think my students weren’t as talented as in previous years.  I wrote a carefully worded email announcing new artwork in the hallway.  I always do this because the fine arts hallway is out of the way for many.  This time I explained what the students were learning, TAB, and the authentic art making happening in my art room.  My worries were not necessary.  I received…well the kids received so many complements.  In fact, one of my AP’s complemented me on the artwork, the wonderful email, and the exceptional learning going on in my room.

Finally Having a Great Time

Standard

And when I say I am finally having a great time, I mean that I love teaching and I love my job…every period, every day. While I struggle with the stupidity that comes with all the paperwork and administrative stuff, I do it with little complaint because the rest is awesome.

Why is it so good? Because I love teaching ceramics and because of TAB.

My ceramic classes are all working and learning and having fun. The clay is here. And the students want to be there and are eager to work and get messy. Finally all my non-ceramic classes have started working on their artworks for our Man/Machine theme.And I couldn’t be more excited by all the different interpretations and the enthusiasm in my students.

It is like my classroom is a whole new place. My eyes have been opened and I never want to shut them. I don’t watch the clock any more. I don’t surf the web anymore. I talk with my kids…about their art, about their process, about their struggles, about them. I know it’s only been a few weeks and perhaps I am still in the honeymoon phase with TAB, but I foresee us having a long and happy marriage.

My TAB Classroom Is a Living Entity and Must Be Treated As Such

Standard

I’ve been at this TAB thing in my classroom for about 2 weeks.  I have implemented it in my Art 1, and my Art 2.  My ceramic classes aren’t quite there yet, but they will be.  I started Art 2 first on the TAB path.  I showed short demos and had them practice using the techniques.  We talked about out main theme of man/machine.  I plan on revisiting tomorrow.  

I feel I made some mistakes in my approach, so after a week of monster pinch pots and bobble heads in Art 1, I had a chance to have a mulligan.  I changed how I had them practice.  And after the first day, I even added a practice exercise that I didn’t do with my Art 2.  

As I go along, I am learning just as much, if not more than my students.  I think that is important in the TAB classroom.  You have to be flexible.  You have to take a step back and re-evaluate.  And, if you are lucky, like I am, you can get a mulligan and try a new way within a few days and not have to wait until the next unit in a few weeks to try something new.  

However, as I watched my Art 2 students finished the final practice before re-visiting our brainstorm session of man/machine, I felt that how I was having them practice just wasn’t right.  I feel they weren’t really having a good go at the different techniques/media.  I plan on finishing up with Art 1 how I completed Art 2, but over the course of the next few weeks, I will come up with some new ideas on how to practice.  Because hey, what worked at one time may not work at another time.  That’s just how the TAB classroom works.

“If there is no struggle, there is no progress.”  -Frederick Douglass

“To improve is to change; to be perfect is to change often.”  -Winston Churchill

“If we don’t change, we don’t grow.  If we don’t grow, we aren’t really living. ” -Gail Sheehy

Bringing in Some Art History and the Digital Age

Standard

A fellow art teacher posted this link to our FB art teacher group.  I thought it was awesome.

Basically, this middle school art teacher in Georgia shows a carefully selected group of artworks to her students and has them add text over the images to create memes.  But, she takes it a step further and then has the students research the original context of the artwork and when they post the meme to their edmoto page, they write about the original context in the comment section.  Then students are asked to comment thoughtfully on 3 of their classmates memes.

I think this idea is great.  And, I am going to incorporate it into my art 1 classes.  I think once every other week, the students will pick from the list of artworks and create the meme.  They will then upload it to their blog and add a description of the original context of the artwork.

It is a great way to tie art history with technology.  And, using the meme makes it relevant to the students and their lives.

Thanks to Artful Artsy Amy for sharing her blog.  I hope you don’t mind me borrowing your fabulous idea.  😉

Art 1 Final Project (Part 3: In Progress)

Standard

We have been working on the final project in art 1 for 4 days now.  And, let me tell you, it has been a blast.  After making monoprints, I introduced the idea of surrealism.  Then, as a class we talked about the “requirements” of the final project.

I talked about composition and how it was important to invite the viewer in and keep them in by creating an entryway, “lines” that help the viewer to move around, and depth to keep them there.  I told them that an artwork is a 2-way street–both the artist and the viewer are important.  Not only can you use the artwork to say what you, the artist, had to say, but you also want to create something that the viewer wants to look at.  I told them that they could have this horrific subject matter, but if they created depth and interest that the viewer could get lost in and move around in, then they have won.  They have solved both problems and their artwork is a success.  I told them of a painting I saw in Vienna that was so bloody, but had so much depth, that I went and stared at it for over a half hour, just lost and wandering.  I never showed them the painting, although I have thought about it.  I can still just stare at it for quite some time and get lost.

“Kreuzwegstation”, Hermann Nitsch, 1961. (Translation, “Station of the Cross”)

But, back to the art 1 assignment.  The last part of the assignment was the use of multiple mediums.  I told the students that I wanted them to explore mixed-media art.  I let them know they could use any technique or material we have used.  I told them they could try new things we haven’t used.  I was open to anything.

And off they went to collage.  And, off I went to collage. We have been having a blast.  The kids are loving looking through magazines and having me make photocopies.  Every piece is so different.  Some are serious.  Some are fun.  Some are just plain awesome.  I can’t wait to see where they end up.

One student today said to me as I was walking around looking and asking questions, “I don’t know if I am doing this right.  Is this what it should look like?”  “It looks exactly like what it should look like,” I said, ” Yes you are doing it right.  I am coming up with mine as I am going along.”  He seemed very pleased with this answer.  I know he is working hard and I can see he is making carefully planned out choices.

P1030947

 

A serious piece about words that hurt us–I think she is still looking for the “right” eyes.

P1030944

 

Yesterday, she said she wasn’t sure what to do.  All she could come up with was trees.

P1030942Today I was joking around with the bottom half of some penguins I added to mine and told her to glue them to look like the feet were hanging out of the tree leaves.  She did.  And now she is painting in a volcano under the tree that the penguin will fall into.  I told her this is awesome.  It is so not serious, which is so different than her normal work.

 

This student has been inspired by both the highest point, Mount Everest, and the lowest point, the Black Sea.  She chose the former.

P1030948

 

Simple, at least for now, with just a set of eyes.  Can’t wait to see what the conte will bring.

P1030949

 

I have one student that pulled about 5 monoprints.  She is creating multiple mixed media pieces and then will decide which one is the most successful and will turn that in.  Here is one of them.  I love the energy and her intensity with which she is working.

P1030946

I have been having a blast, not only watching my students create and make choices and collaborate, but also creating mine.  I think that the energy I am bringing to making my piece has rubbed off because the energy in the room is different.  The way the students are working is different.  And that is a good thing.

The students are funny.  They are like, “Who are you?”  “You are never like this.”  “You’re examples are never this crazy/weird.”  I told them, “Not weird, Awesome!  My artwork is just awesome and you are jealous of it’s awesomeness.”  Of course, this is all in good fun and they jab me right back.  (Then the whole penguin thing occurred, so….um….yeah.)

But, here is my example, just in case you were wondering.  Yes, that is a duck ship.  Yes, it is beaming up an armadillo.  And, yes, that condor is shooting laser beams at the unicorn. But, no, I don’t know what’s up with the monkey.  And, no I don’t know which side the fish are on.  I just know it is Animal Armageddon in Penguin Town.

wpid-20140516_163017.jpg

The students have 5 more class, plus their exam period to complete their surreal mixed media artworks.  Every day I look forward to my 3 art 1 classes.  I can’t wait to see what they do next.

 

 

Art 1: Final Project (Part 2: Monoprints)

Standard

I had planned to start on Monday, but an unexpected Mother’s Day gift from my son (stomach virus) caused me to start a day late.  While I felt bad taking time away from my students to work, I think they are strong and will not let it affect them.

Today was part 1 of the project:  monoprints.

Several years ago at a conference at UT, I learned how to create monoprints using water and tempera paint.  It was messy and tons of fun.  At the time, we used the paper to make paper kimonos.  Cute, but not really my thing.  I have used the technique another time as a background to learn about symmetry using the Maori Moko Tattoos.  I have since stopped that lesson, but I thought the monoprint technique was a great base for this artwork.

As I stated in part 1, I find that many people, myself included, have a hard time making those first marks on clean, pristine, white paper.  So to help solve that issue and hopefully allow the kids to jump right in, we created monoprints.

Our “plates” for this were my tables.  I covered three tables with water and 2 colors of tempera:  blue/yellow, red/yellow, and red/blue.

Image

 

Next the students would lay down their paper and pull their print.

Image

 

 

Image

 

Some of the kids liked the process and made several monoprints.  Others were not into the mess or just didn’t want to make art today.  But I am happy with the outcomes and I hope they all have a great base for their multimedia artwork.

Now, the worse part of this activity is the clean-up.  I did have newspaper every where, but there were still a lot of dripping from walking the prints over to the counters.  And, unless you ask the kids to help, no one will.  They will all just sit and watch you clean and wipe up the floor on your hands and knees.  I was disappointed that out of my 65 students, only 3 offered to help clean.  I guess the brightside is it was cleaned to my standards.

Here are some of the fabulous results.

Image   ImageImage

ImageImageImage

Art 1: Final Project 2014 (Part 1)

Standard

Originally, I planned on being able to have one last project in art 1, spending a day or two reviewing for final exams, and then having a written test.  Not exciting, but it is what it is.  Then STAAR happened.  I didn’t really take into account that state testing would take kids out of my room for 3 days (and me for one to administer), thus having me lose almost a whole week and pushing back my plans.  There wasn’t really much I could do that could be done in less than 2 weeks that was meaningful.  And, I couldn’t just let them do nothing for 2 weeks.  Plus, I really didn’t want to write an exam.  It’s not my favorite thing to do.  So, I came up with a final project that would also become their exam grade.  I call it “”.

Over the next few posts I will document our exploration through the multimedia process.  I am not sure of the outcome, but I am excited about the journey.

First we will create monoprints using tempera and water.  I have done these before, albeit 6 years ago, for a project on symmetry and the art of Moko Tattoos.  This will become the “ground” or base for the artwork.  I have found that often students are intimidated by the white surface.  It’s so clean and error free.  Hopefully having this monoprint background will help break that fear.

Second students will find several images from magazines.  I suppose if a student really wants a certain image from the interwebs I will allow it.  They image will then be in b/w unless the student has a color printer at home.  I am hoping to halt images at 3 or 4 so it doesn’t become too crowded.

While I was out administering the STAAR test, students did 2 Arts & Activities reading about composition and leading the viewer through a composition. Here and here.  We will review the major concepts from the readings and I will expect them to create their artwork with the concepts in mind.

Students will then be asked to add more to their collages using a variety of other media: pencil, colored pencil, marker, sharpie, pen, paint, and well, I guess anything else we have used this year.  I am hoping they will had additional layers of depth and interest with the additional media.  I have created a pin board for them with some collages, but I really am unsure what to add to the board.  I don’t know what to search for to find examples to show.  But, maybe that is good as it will leave the door wide open and they won’t have preconceived notions of what this “should” be.

Pack your bags and join me on the journey to places unknown and unfamiliar.  My art 1 kids are always surprising me, I hope they do here as well.  (And I hope they will be able to work in our short time frame–this is the most nerve-racking part of this.)