Friday, November 27, 2009

Beyond Elements and Principles

Instead of going all "Black Friday", I went cyber-sleuthing for more curriculum ideas, and came across the post-modern art ed thoughts of Olivia Gude (see link). Her basic premise is that DBAE, focused on mainly the elements and principles of art, does a disservice to art students. I am a hybridizer by nature, taking inspiration for curriculum and my own work from many sources. Yet, I don't think teaching elementary students about the "10 types of line" drawn 4 different ways is a bad thing for instance, because students then have a visual vocabulary to start with. Plus, although a high school student may get "recontextualization", would anybody younger understand the new principle? I appreciate Gude's thought-provoking ideas, though. Also, here's a video which speaks to the 21st century student we all have.

Born Digital from Oakes Media on Vimeo.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Designer Animals vs. Holiday Art

We're wrapping up a big drawing unit in fourth grade, and as I watched the students color, blend, and shade beautifully with their colored pencils, I thought about all the bad holiday art that was forced on elementary students ages ago (like that infamous hand-traced turkey, or snowman made of cotton balls). To be sure, even in first or second grade, I knew we were getting ripped-off cognitively and creatively! Watching my students working so diligently, even the day before a holiday break, just confirmed my whole "education through the arts" premise: make it accessible and interesting and great things will happen. The fourth grade had choices of what they wanted to do, but the title links to the resource we had the most fun with on the Smartboard, "switchzoo"....For those of you who must have a turkey--try to make one out of tans, as you follow along with "Grandfather Tang's Story" (an integrative lesson which shows that "holiday art" can be so much more).

Wednesday, November 18, 2009


We've had a lot of fun saying "Yupo", and fifth grade really nailed laying down textures on the first day. The second stage of using watercolors on Yupo was more challenging. Very quickly, I found that controlling the water was the number one issue for students. Secondly, finding images within the watercolors required a lot of 1:1 brainstorming. The project took some unexpected turns, but the student discussions of what they were experiencing with the media validated the effort. Elliot Eisner summarizes the 10 lessons the art teach, and this lesson seemed to touch on many of them.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Doing DaVinci

Every year, it's a struggle to design a good drawing unit that the kids emotionally vest in. This year, my fourth graders had a drawing "design challenge" choice of either designing a rocket ("10,000 Rockets" competition was the inspiration), a font, or a designer animal (by combining at least two types of animals). Choices help the students get excited about a project, but the biggest scaffolding success was relating the drawings of Leonardo daVinci (see link) to our drawing and designing process. Specifically, drawing simple shapes first, drawing lightly, refining/layering--all easily visible in daVinci's drawings, especially his invention drawings. So many students have watched or heard of "Doing daVinci" on the Discovery channel, and it made the artist from over five hundred years ago seem modern and cool! ( & I left all the info. up on my Smartboard after the introduction discussion so students could interact with the images at leisure)

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Free Tech 4 Teachers & Blog Options

Although I' m very fond of "blogger", I have played around with Wordpress (visually sweet but not as easy), so I realize that some educators may want other options. The title links to a tech blog for teachers, for instance, that reviews those apps and sites most helpful for educators. Additionally, there's Edmodo, which is a "micro-blogging" platform some may find more useful (for posting/entering assignments for instance). Plus, there's Blogmeister, which helps classroom bloggers connect with each other. So, options abound, and it seems like every day, a beta version of something new is being offered on the digital frontier (okay, that was corny, but apt). And, let's not forget the JingProject or setting up your own Ning.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Voting, Videos, and "One-Day Clay"

Yesterday was voting day, and the music room next door to me is a community polling venue. Our vocal music teacher becomes a cart-based gal that day, while band (one one side), and myself (art, on the other side), try to be a little quieter for that one day. Well, also happened to be the day for my fifth grade to do "one-day clay", where we roll-out a slab, make a container, and get the art room back in order in 45 minutes (see title link for the inspiration artist). This is not a quiet activity, and I can only wonder what the folks on the other side of the collapsible, noise-permeable wall thought! To add to all the activity, I was trying to help a student edit video and upload it to our newspaper club blog. Multiple roadblocks included having an upload error on Blogger, then the file just over the 100 MB limit for TeacherTube (arrgh!), which was my work-around, and so I made a quick edit in iMovie and so hoping that it works.

The Sketchbook Project

The Sketchbook Project: 2011

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The journey of process intrigues me and I am always changing it up.

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