Above is a Dropbox video link I took of my 5th grade students working in my room last November. It gives you a little taste of what goes on during a typical 50 minute class with about 28 kiddos. I apologize for some of the angles in the video as I think I was flipping my iPad in directions I did not realize... but you will still get the idea of the various differentiated projects happening all at once.
I am also long overdue in posting a PowerPoint for the folks who visited my session at the state AAE conference in November 2014 (remember all the computer issues... umm... yeah!). So I had my presentation at NAEA in NOLA about choice-based art - and it was pretty full and lots of Qs and lots of support from great folks. I heard wonderful comments from people about how they found their ah-ha moment. Wow! That's powerful... and not only are my students important, but sharing at conferences with fellow art teachers is just as important - comments like that remind me why it's so important for art teachers to share and connect. Thanks to all that made me feel like I gave you some inspiration - and thanks for inspiring me! So... below is the PDF I used at my session today (the PPT was way TOO BIG).
P.S. This PDF shows the layout of my art room the past few years... but I am switching art rooms and will hopefully have a new layout for the school year! Stay tuned!!!
One of my favorite centers to open and demonstrate projects for is the COLLAGE center. I think it's because I am a texture person. I love the visual and physical textures created through collage and mixed media artwork. Above is a picture of my current collage center. I do a brief overview in a PowerPoint (below) for the center while pointing out things in the physical space. I have basic directions - written and visual examples - of what students should do to create a successful collage. I also probably over did it in the sample/example area with all the various types of collage that can be created. Many of the examples are student examples, artist examples, and a few are ones that I have created.
Let me say this is not the first center I open or introduce in my art room. Drawing is always first; then I open collage; then painting isn't too far behind collage because I like to give the students the option to use paint to add layers or textures to their collage. I also do a brief intro to the printmaking center that allows students to utilize various texture stamps, printing tools, and ink pads to also create textures for collages or paintings... and well, mixed-media artwork.
One of my favorite collage artists is Romare Bearden. I usually show the students examples in a PowerPoint of his collage work (below). We discuss how Bearden used many of his life experiences for his collage artwork. Here are a few examples of my favorite Bearden collages. Pittsburgh Memories is on the left - it holds a special place in my heart as I am originally from Pittsburgh, AND I used to work at the Carnegie Museum of Art where it resides.
One of the themes I introduce when I open the collage center is "Memories" inspired by Bearden's work. I also show the students other examples of collage artworks and a time lapse videos demonstrating how one might use collage and layering materials to create an artwork. Here are a few links that are good examples: Megan Coyle's Swordfish Collage Video Art Journal Page with Magazine Cutouts Deborah Shapiro Bird Collage There are also a zillion more videos that show all kinds of mixed-media techniques (Printing, stenciling, painting, drawing, etc.) layered with the collage paper. I really want the kiddos to understand how to cut and layer paper... then this is where we talk about the paint and printmaking centers for layering.
So - Here are my menus/direction I currently use. Everything in the center is labeled, too, so kiddos can find and return materials. This is where scissors, glue, and glue sticks will live the rest of the year (even though I still have several kids asking me in February - "where are the scissors?" - Argh! Really? ....anyways...Back to the Menus....).
I do a little demonstration/review for classes using my document camera and gathering kids around tables to see the various options of collage and layering. We sometimes spend one class period creating painted paper swatches with various textures. What does that teach us? EXPERIMENTATION with.... color mixing, stamps/texture tools, layering, and sharing ideas and paper swatches with one another. If there are specific papers the kids know they want to use, they put their name on it and save in their portfolio folders... If they don't need it, we place it in a box for others to use.
Some kids take to collage - while others are not interested. I do not force anyone to try a center they are not ready to tackle for a project. Below are some student examples, and there are other examples in my Gallery tab of my blog.
So - what do some of these student collages look like? Check out the gallery below.
So... What does artwork look like in a choice-based art room?! Well - it takes all forms and depends on studio centers offered, themes, lessons, demonstrations, etc. In a choice-based room I think many teachers are striving for students to understand the creative process (hello-new national arts standards) and how to problem solve.
Is every piece of artwork going to be perfect and look great?! Does your (yes, you the artist/art educator) artwork look perfect every time you sit down to create?! Probably not. So process is just as inportant (sometimes most important) than the product itself.
I know, I know… I fell off the bloggin' wagon for a couple weeks. I have been busily editing and gathering NBCT entries and documentation for upload. It has consumed my brain and my life the last few weeks. However, I was taking a little break and checking out the Art Teachers group on Facebook (if you don't belong to it, you should because there are lots of valuable ideas and debates…), and I saw a post about a teacher who needed painting ideas for an Art II class.
…So I am not sure if it's been all the writing and reflecting on my own practices (I am sure that is some of it…) ...but I remembered this fantastic project I used to do with my 9th grade art students. I found this website several years ago about Neorealism paintings created by high school students at High Tech High, San Diego. I loved the idea and adapted it years ago for my 9th graders. As I was pouring through my folders on my laptop, I came across the documents I used as a planning guide and visual examples for the students. Ahhh - I LOVED this project. ….And ya know what else??? One of the reasons I loved this project so much was that it offered the kids a lot of choice in how they wanted to complete their paintings. Did I mention in any previous blogs I now consider myself a choice-based art educator???
Please feel free to use the documents below for inspiration. I don't teach 9th grade any longer, but I know I can simplify this for my middle school kids. I think I plan to adapt it for my 6th grade students in some way. I have so many plans and ideas to work on this summer before the next school year. What? I know this school year hasn't ended yet. I just can't help get excited for fresh possibilities and opportunities. What lessons are you excited to create or adapt???
I am a little behind on posting to my blog… so there will be a couple of these back-to-back since below is a draft from last weekend. Between state testing, national board work, and general everyday life as a teacher and mom - well, I got a little behind. So….
Oh, my! It was state testing week at my school. I was in charge of administering small group testing for 8 kiddos. Most of this group I have in my art classes. These are kids who usually thrive in my art room creating and making things with their hands…. but you could see that test taking is not their favorite. Each of them mentioned (at some point) something about standardized tests they did not like or it made them feel uncomfortable. I completely understand - I never liked tests either… I was a hands-on-project-kinda-girl, too! ...So while the mornings until about noon were consumed with test taking, I had my art classes in the afternoon. This week we alternated 5th and 6th grades every other day, so I didn't see all of my classes, but some. I know many of them (and myself) will be glad to get back to a regular schedule next week!
Still absorbing all that I learned from NAEA - I decided to try an assessment method (that I heard a few presenters discuss) with my afternoon classes . It is a Gallery Walk (...and that's what I'm calling it for our studio). The students and I are always informally discussing artworks being made throughout class and we have a rubric we use to assess our WOW! projects (which always has kids thinking about how to finish a project) - but I have been wanting to do more. I went back to my notes; researched a little more; and created a form and system I think we can use for the rest of the year and for next school year. Actually - it was GREAT!
I created a Gallery Walk form (see below) and demonstrated how to complete the form based on my own in-progress softie sculpture project. After I demonstrated, I had the students choose an artwork they either just completed OR a current in-progress projects. This was difficult for many as they tried to start making and finishing parts of their work. I reminded them that it was OK to not be finished. I referred back to my own unfinished soft sculpture work - which I did include in the gallery walk assessment. The kids loved the fact that they got to comment about my work. I loved it, too - a few comments really made me think about my plans!
After students got their artworks, they completed their gallery walk forms (this took about 2 minutes). They were to leave the artwork and the form on the table and then I explained we would all go around and make comments on the form… either an "I wonder…" or "I like…" statement (I included these statement starters around the gallery walk label). I demonstrated what each statement might look like. I wanted them to be specific and not to just say I like the color… but how or where the color is used.
...So then we all took a walk - reading the gallery walk forms (art labels, if you will) and making comments. I wanted everyone to have at least 3 comments - well, these kids weren't shy and were excited to comment and to share. Kids were sharing statements and also answers to "I wonder…" statements - Everything from explanations about artwork being abstract and plans for printmaking blocks to sculptures with found objects and drawings of creatures. Wow! Amazing! I am so excited that this went so well - and so many students had great comments and wanted to share. They do this all the time in small groups while they are working, but it was wonderful to watch a whole group "critique" happening on such positive terms! This only took about 15-20 minutes per class, so they had the rest of the time to take the feedback and work! Awesome!!!!
What do you do for informal and formal assessments in your art room? Please share!
Whew! I am wiped out from all the testing and the gallery walk excitement. I'm signing off for now and will be back with more soon!
Artfully… Nikki K.
Above: My soft sculpture creature and gallery walk form with students comments. :) Below: A PDF of the form I used. I have adapted it since we have used it as the "content" part was confusing for the students - so we just left a large area for project idea(s) to be written on the form.
The first day at the #NAEA2014 convention went well. I got in from my flight and hit the ground running… well, really fast walking - a lot of walking. I have made some new connections already and look forward to more networking and sharing these next two days. I really got a chance to talk with fellow middle level teachers and division directors which was great!
Speaking of middle level…. Today I will be presenting during our Middle Level Medley II session with a few other middle level folks about our best practices, lessons, etc. I am very excited to be sharing with so many folks. I will be giving an overview of my choice-based art experiences and sharing how I assess choice-based art projects at my school. We are required to give 1-2 test/project grades and daily work grades each quarter. The daily work grades aren't so bad, but how do I assess 320+ students' art projects - when there are so many different projects going on and being submitted???
I have to share this link (http://artsaysthat.wordpress.com/2013/10/17/teaching-artistic-behavior-its-a-wow/) to blog where I discovered some posters for WOW! and Not-So-Wow! projects. What's a WOW! Project??? It's a term a lot of TAB and choice-based teachers are using for their students' projects. We want them to understand what WOW! and Not-So-Wow! Projects look like. With permission - I have taken the examples from the blog mentioned above and adapted mine a little and have them displayed in our art room. Feel free to use these or create ones for your kiddos!
I also want to share a rubric/artist statement form the kids use to assess their work and for me to assess their work. I have taken bits and pieces from various rubrics I have found and created to make the example below. Again, please feel free to use that example or adapt as you see fit. I have adapted it a few times this school year based on student use/feedback because they need to have a rubric that works for them. I want them to share what works.
Sharing with colleagues and with your students are important components to any successful art classroom. I will share some of the things I learn from other choice-based art teachers in my next blog… so much to learn, so little time!