Thursday, December 27, 2012

2012 First Semester Reflections

I changed a lot of things this year, particularly with scope and sequence, for my third/fourth/fifth grade art students. I made some projects larger and more integrative, shrunk a few down, and overall, revised about 60% of my curriculum based on feedback and observations from last year.
  • Third grade started with cartooning to break the ice and as a formative, then we moved into A.T.C.'s, followed by the four P's: painting, puppets, pop-ups and more painting (Zonkey Cartoons). see--> Ian Sands : Make Art!: How To Draw A Zonkey!: "In less than two minutes you too could be drawing a Zonkey! If you can draw a square you can draw a zonkey" Our soup can Pop Art Pop-Ups were a huge success, and the students loved learning about Andy Warhol, plus I even dragged out one of my old photo silkscreens from art school to show them. There are a lot of pictures of the pop-ups on my Artsonia gallery, third grade section. 
  • In Fourth grade, I was able to bring back linoleum block printing and the results were so much better than the collograph prints of last year (these are also loaded onto Artsonia in the 4th grade section). We also had a huge integrative unit with geometry, based on Cubist art and painted "self-portraits" based on numbers (like Charles Demuth's "I Saw the Figure 5 in Gold"). We moved onto "The Wallet Project" based on Stanford University's "Design Thinking" curriculum, and I really focused the concept with mindmaps being part of the project (a quarter of the grade, knowing that many of the fourth grade teachers have students do mindmaps as a form of note-taking). Now, we just finished "flutter books" and are going to use them as the pages for our Anime/Manga cartooning unit. As far as that unit goes, so many students are very familiar with Manga, so we are comparing the cartoon-y/cute style to the more realistic style instead of comparing to the Marvel superhero proportions.
  • Fifth grade changed the most, with several smaller projects (Op Art shading blobs, radial slot card designs, rapid prototype group slot card buildings) leading up to bigger projects (clay and ongoing computer centers using SketchUp and Illustrator). The slot card buildings were more experimental and experiential, but I think the students learned a lot about working with their hands, problem solving, and working as a team. I posted a video of the process on my school website , under "rapid prototype slot shelters." This was part of design challenge posted at In fact, my fifth grade artists seemed so good at 3D thinking this year, that I squeezed in a two-point perspective drawing project right before break---treehouses, and they are looking great (in watercolor and tempera).
  • Art club has changed the most in that a large collaboration has developed between my 5th grade group and the 5th grade advanced math students. The art club is designing sprites for the Scratch programmers, using Illustrator and Bamboo tablets. It is all being facilitated online by both myself and the gifted teacher via the Edmodo platform. I love hearing pings on my iPad at home, as push notifications come in--students working together, online, outside of the school day! I highly recommend looking into MIT's Scratch--it is a free download--->
  • So with all that, I fell behind on updating my Artsonia gallery and school website, but I think that was a minor compromise giving me the flexibility to be more attuned to adjusting projects as they were moving along. I caught up over break, and probably nobody but me noticed.

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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