Monday, February 17, 2014

Art Standards: State Roadmap or National?

Our k-12 Art Department is nearing the end of a year long process, writing our curriculum to align to the new state standards. Yet, the National Art Education Association is rolling out National Standards soon and it would have been nice if they had been adopted at the state level (much like Common Core). So, how do they compare? The state standards are here-
They fit on just a few pages, which I like, and they focus on Enduring Understandings and break into simple progress points:
Enduring Understandings:
Personal Choice and Vision: Students construct and solve problems of personal relevance and interest when expressing themselves through visual art.
Critical and Creative Thinking: Students combine and apply artistic and reasoning skills to imagine, create, realize and refine artworks in conventional and innovative ways.
Authentic Application and Collaboration: Students work individually and in groups to focus ideas and create artworks that address genuine local and global community needs.
Literacy: As consumers, critics and creators, students evaluate and understand artworks and other texts produced in the media forms of the day.

Progress Points:
The student will at the appropriate developmental level:
  1. Recognize that people from various times and cultures create works of art to be looked at, valued and enjoyed.
  2. Explore a range of art concepts and artworks and construct meaning about the works.
  3. Connect making art with individual choice and understanding personal cultural identity.
  4. Produce artworks that express and represent their experiences, imagination and ideas using a range of media including new technologies.
  5. Form and express opinions about artworks and apply critical and creative thinking skills to assess and refine their artworks. 

    Here are the National Art Standards-

    You need to scroll down to page sixteen before you get to them...They are divided into grade bands that do not make sense to me (k-4, 4-8, 9-12 is the only one that makes sense). The standards are subdivided into "Achievement Standards" and "Content Standards". So in grades 5-8, you have one that reads 
    "1. Content Standard: Understanding and applying media, techniques, and processes
    Achievement Standard:
    a. select media, techniques, and processes; analyze what makes them effective or not effective in
    communicating ideas; and reflect upon the effectiveness of their choices
    b. intentionally take advantage of the qualities and characteristics of *art media, techniques, and
    processes to enhance communication of their experiences and ideas"

    I do not really see the value in separating them out. I guess you can see that I am leaning towards the state standards. The national standards, though, are much simpler because there are only SIX CONTENT standards  in each grade band instead of 17->18 state standards (divided into PE, perceiving/knowing, PR, producing/performing, and RE responding/reflecting). The national standards also provide a simple rubric.

    I guess I like the state "progress points" better than I like the national "content standards". For instance, in the national k-4 band, there is "2. Content Standard: Using knowledge of *structures and functions", and I have to admit, without the glossary, I would have had problems interpreting that. For the record, the glossary definition is: "Structures. Means of organizing the components of a work into a cohesive and meaningful whole, such as sensory qualities, organizational principles, expressive features, and functions of art." (Remember, that is a k-4 content standard!)

    So, this is what I wonder, are we getting too fancy and elitist with national content standards that need a glossary and state standards that are divided into PE/PR/RE? Can we make art and learn about amazing cultures and their artifacts, maybe get some integration and design thinking in there without all the mumbo jumbo?


Saturday, February 8, 2014

How Graphic Novels Unit is Going/ 3rd Grade Note

  • We are into the third week of the fifth grade "Graphic Novels" unit, and I finally feel like a can take a deep breathe. I decided to use the myth, "Pandora's Box", and found a one-page version at an appropriate reading level for my students. I wanted each design team to use their own strategy to divide it into a beginning, middle, and end. I really did not think that would be such a hard thing, but it ended up taking an entire class period for some groups. Still, the "pirate" in me decided to stay the course in letting the students own the learning, let the pacing be student-driven, and be prepared for more scaffolding. Then, the storyboards started. I could have easily said, "One storyboard of four panels per student." I let the students decided who would do what, and some groups went with the minimum requirement of 12 panels, 4 layout pages, while others wanted to add a ton more to the myth in service of their selected "tone". There are Pandoras who are Pandas, robots, fairies, and sporting Manga hair as a result----I love it! Stuff popping out of the box (envy, crime, hate, disease, plus hope) also might look like ghosts, fairies, zombies, etc. In several cases, the box is a portal to another dimension. Exactly the type of creative thinking I was hoping for!
  • Onto the layout panel designing...Having reference on Pinterest was helpful for some groups, others just wanted to copy my layout, others used the posters I had in the art room. The place where I need to make changes for next year is cycling back to "why" different layouts serve the story. I talked with groups 1:1 to make suggestions for changing up their layouts, but my voice is nearly shot after a week of 1:1 conferences (14 groups a day, 5 days a week). and another thing---turns out some students do not know how to use a ruler correctly to draw a 1/2" border around their layout pages. I was a bit floored by that, but definitely brought some math into the language arts lesson. I do not want to make it easier by having them trace a border, so I need to allow time for this component.
  • Now, we are at the fun stage, the drawing! After all that scaffolding and cycling back to the concept of "tone", I am anxious to see how the art turns out. The process is the point, and I definitely think integrative learning is the best, but the art teacher in me is dying to see some drawing finally.
  • 3rd Grade note: I had this fun idea to get a bunch of cereal boxes and have my third graders cut them up, make either owls or fish, and paint them before doing a little free-form weaving on them. It has been really well-received because of the novelty of using that donated cardboard. The kids started making a game out of seeing who got what type of box ("I got Cheeerios!"). During a demonstration of cutting and gluing, a few students incredulously asked me, "Where do you come up with these cool ideas, Mrs. Girbino?". My favorite comment came on Friday, when one of the boys in my last class of the week came up to me and said, "When I get home, I am looking for an empty box and making a dragon!" My mood matched the sun streaming in my window---sunny! Great way to end the week and worth the hassle of cutting up those boxes all week.

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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