Thursday, March 31, 2011

The Golden Mean

There are a multitude of projects that can integrate math & art framed by the concept of "The Golden Mean", here's a brief video (converted from a Powerpoint, Copyright 2010 The Incredible Art Department), that can be shown/paused as needed. Additional resources at this site.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

2D Design: It's Not Just A Poster

From Art Ed 2.0, Dr. Martin Rayala has some suggestions for those "poster contests" we get requests for:
"2D Graphic Design should be part of a complete visual literacy program. A poster design involves students in doing a variety of jobs:

1. Art Direction - the whole thing has to be managed and pulled together.

2. Writing - the main concept for the poster - headline and body copy - need to be written.

3. Type designing - the poster is going to need special lettering for the main theme.

4. Illustration - a well executed illustration or photo will be needed to anchor the poster.

5. Layout - All of the above needs to be laid out.

6. Production - The final poster needs to be printed or produced (adding credits, etc.).

Run the students through the typical design process:

A. Ideation - what will the theme of the poster be? What do we really want to say? What is more unusual, effective, unexpected?

B. Visualization - everyone do a bunch of sketches to show some possibilities. Brainstorm - build on each others ideas.

C. Prototype - mock up some possibilities to see which are most promising.

D. Implementation - produce the final posters."

I have used similar structure in an advertising unit I've done with 5th graders in the past, and it has been quite successful. Right now, I'm reworking my curriculum map for next year, and possibly, this could be a huge literacy/technology integration.
Check the title link for 27 design tips structured by the elements & principles of art.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Origami Math & Soundsuits

The journey for relevant integration is never-ending, but several nuggets of gold were unearthed today in my continual search: 1) possibly the best origami artist, whose website totally covers engineering/technology connection, Robert J. Lang (see title link). You can even download origami simulation code (not on Intel Macs, though)! Then, Nick Cave the sculptor/dancer, and his amazing "soundsuits". I think a lot of Chihuly's glass sculptures when I just see the suits, but the videos show how much the experience of hearing them is important. So, beautiful things, from humble materials, with incredible potential for integrative connections.
(image from Creative Commons of a Nick Cave soundsuit made from spinning tops)

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Smartboard Figure Drawing/Cartooning Reflections

Just found a very helpful online site called “Figure It Out”, which really lends itself to drawing figures proportionally. I wish I had it when we did our cartooning unit, but better late than never. Basically, you just pose the figure, draw over it, then drop the figure out. Perfect for the Smartboard. Okay, so this year, we really focused on trying to come up with good story lines for the 4th grade cartooning unit as a Language Arts integration: Comics in the Classroom as an Introduction to Narrative Structure. Students got the proportions right, the process of drawing simple shapes first, etc., but I felt like the writing support needed took away some instructional time on the drawing end. I’m reconceptualizing the whole unit for next year, starting with doing “Figure It Out” first, then possibly making a game out of the pre-writing component. Then, maybe students can choose a narrative layout sheet, flipbooks, or collaborative brick films for cartooning. Just seems like a new “hook” is needed. I’m also including a link to a portal for digital portfolios, possibly a way to tie all my technology ideas together…

Tuesday, March 15, 2011


We've been talking a lot about assessments in our school, and I've always used rubrics to assess artwork. The title links to a great resource for them, "Rubistar". You can click on a project-based content area, and customize a template really quickly. Other good resources, some repeats from earlier posts:
Thinkfinity (does not seem to work in Firefox browser)
Teachnology (also has rubrics)
Cybraryman (has everything!)

Sunday, March 6, 2011

LES Art Club Rotoball 2011

This took a ton of time, 225 stills without a "real" tripod, so a little jumpy, but I'm still very proud of our entry for the 2011 Shanghai Student Film Festival.

Digital Natives and Design Thinking

Recently, I've been thinking deeply about "design thinking" and how structuring more lessons around real-world applications is important. A book has been recommended to me, "Teaching Digital Natives Partnering for Real Learning", by Marc Prensky, and it is on my next-to-read list.I'd like to make the ideation and prototyping stages more important, and even pull-in architectural thinking, game design thinking, technology skills---all of it spiraled in with the hand-skills. Much of what we are already doing is so good; having just hung art for the annual spaghetti dinner, I was really proud of our k-12 art program.
Some ideas Dr. Martin Rayala suggested to me through an education forum: "Look at what Ideation and visualization look like - post-it notes, sketches, mind-maps, photos, notes, etc. - show the process the students go through. Make the thinking the display. Parents will love it. Teach the students to think visually - with designed text (different hand-drawn type faces), sketches (of people, places and things), photos, frames around topics (thought balloons, boxes, explosion boxes, etc.), connectors between related ideas (arrows, lines, dashes, etc.), bullets of various design to show ideas on a topic (stars, black dots, open circles, squares, etc.), and shadows to make these things pop out from the wall.
Everyone will love to see for their own eyes the process of thinking the students go through to come up with ideas and to solve problems. Show them 10 sketches the students did beforehand that show how they were thinking through the problem."

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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