Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Cut Paper

The title links to the absolutely incredible paper cut art of Peter Callesen, but I just wanted to share what my third and fifth graders have been up to: tunnel books and accordion books, respectively. I decided to really work on those small motor skills of cutting and gluing, not to mention the spatial/motor skills involved. Everybody sort of groans when they see the construction paper being pulled out (myself included), but then, as three-dimensional demonstrations with each class get underway, I've even gotten applause from the students! Yes, a lot of fun can be had with our old standby, paper, if everything in the curriculum is scaffolded and supported right. Check them out....

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Finding Stuff

Some days, you can look and look online and never find that "quick reference" for the brainstorm you just had regarding curriculum. Today was a very good day for "Googling", because I found "Teachnet" and those lessons and resources are wonderful (see title link). What was I looking for? Well, it was not in there, but I did find the puppet making resources readily enough elsewhere. Currently, grading accordion books (5th), glaze-firing the 5th sculptures, and wrapping up tunnel books (3rd). 4th is on a large colored pencil unit. I just decided to change-up a sculpture project based on today's research.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Project H

A story of "public education" and how implementing design education, even in a rural community, energizes and reinvigorates schools (see TedTalk on that topic from post link). From Dr. Martin Rayala's andDesign blog:
"Designer Emily Pilloton moved to rural Bertie County, in North Carolina, to engage in a bold experiment of design-led community transformation. She's teaching a design-build class called Studio H that engages high schoolers' minds and bodies while bringing smart design and new opportunities to the poorest county in the state.
Emily Pilloton and her Project H Design initiative are looking at:
(1) Design For Education - the physical construction of improved materials, spaces, and experiences for students and teachers;
(2) Redesigning Education - a systems level look at how education is administered, what is being offered, and to whom;
and (3) Design As Education - actually teaching design in schools by coupling design thinking with real construction and fabrication skills fulfilling an actual, useful community purpose."
cited: Tuesday, November 9, 2010, http://anddesignmagazine.blogspot.com/

So, in my own little way, I have been encouraging "design thinking" with our current 4th grade project (designing robots, rockets, or translation tessellations) and I have found a recurring issue: students sometimes confuse "design" with "decoration". Even after showing pinboards, having reference books of inventions/rockets/robots, drawing samples, demonstration, and discussions about DESIGNS REFLECTING THEIR FUNCTION. (I put that in caps, not to show frustration, merely emphasis). I know some students have construction/build toys, at least some of them, so this was a surprise for me. Next year, I need to extend the unit by at least two weeks to allow some scaffolding of that concept---that there is a huge difference between "design" and "decoration".

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Artful Thinking

Busy, busy, busy grading and labeling art, and processing what has been happening in the art room (hint: good stuff). Which led me down a familiar rabbit hole: assessing creative thinking. The title links to Harvard's "Project Zero" resource on the topic, but the visual (also from the PZ Artful Thinking site) conceptually sums up what I aim for with our art experiences. Today, students happily made "M" folds for their tunnel books, and most thought it was pretty fun. In one class, in particular, we came up with the phrase, "Art is like P.E. for your hands!", which I truly adore. I might just have to make a classroom poster on that...

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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