Saturday, September 24, 2016

High school win

I don't write a ton about my art teaching on this blog, it seems that when I want to- I am at school.  If I wanted to write on this blog there, I would have to sign out of google on my school account and sign in on my personal account.  And let me tell you - to try and get both of my emails back into the tabs of my computer at school is a royal PITA. I am able, by some sorcery, to have up both of my email accounts available in tabs**, so if I sign out of my school account- bad things happen.  SO, therefore I do not write at school on Blogger.  I thought I was solving all sorts of issues by getting an older iPad to use at school, but turns out google decided to take the Blogger app OFF of the app store- what the ever living hell?????  And the nightmare that ensues to try to post from Safari on Blogger at school is not worth it.  So I take pictures with my phone for now and try to keep up to date on my school blog.....  My plan always is to work on it at home.


 If you have lately looked at my school blog, well you will see how well that particular plan works.  So until I get a handle on that, oy.... idk.  

4 very cool phone designs and their selfies

Anyway, since I am apparently in a writing mood, I want to show all of you these VERY cool things that my Intro to Art students are doing.  Turns out I have a very creative bunch of freshmen.  **YAAAAAYYYYYY** I'm so freaking lucky!!!  

I begin my Intro to Art class with a design unit.  This has many reasons, one of the main ones is that they don't have to worry yet about drawing.  Which makes many kids nervous when they get to high school, though they are perfectly good drawers.  I have several set "mini lectures", and one of them is about the fact that if they were perfect drawers, they wouldn't necessarily need art class!!  I love those little aha moments that they have when I tell them that....

So anyway, I begin with a Zentangle design, which is pretty nonthreatening, and then proceed to a design project that includes the elements of design.  It is a way to start deliberately using compositional techniques by knowing what they are using.....  Some students are very intuitive and get it, but it helps to know what you are dealing with. Most kids need to actually know the list in order to use them to their full potential.  This is a good way for me to get to know the kids, their abilities and build up trust.  Trust is a thing that if you don't have with your students, certainly in art, then you might as well give them a text book and let them wing it.

I could tell I had a high functioning (artistically) group of students in my intro classes, and so I wanted to push them a little. Plus also I came up with this new lesson to bridge the design lesson with the new intro to photography unit that I am doing with them next.  What could be more engaging that designing something for their phone and give them absolute freedom to make their selfie look like they want???  Not much!

So I presented the assignment and I saw the look of terror on some of those faces...  I had to laugh a little.  The trust isn't complete yet, they don't know me like they will- and actually like they do now that they have completed the assignment.  I had to tell the poor, panicking kiddos that indeed I had not given them one moment of instruction on drawing a face.  So how would I expect them to draw a fantastic realistic portrait??  My idea was to allow them to either cartoon or try to do the realism.  TOTALLY lets them off the hook and allows them to relax and design the phone case- with freedom.  The selfie could have been shown with a filter, or with other students, or what have you, and they had the choice of their backgrounds, all that good stuff.  I did impromptu lessons on colored pencil techniques, drawing upside down with a photo, composition things.....  it was stellar!!

The top selfie is from a student who went to Italy with my group!  His I recognize as the stop we made overlooking Sorrento!  (or possibly on the top of the Island of Capri)

The results blew me away.  I now wish I had thought to take more pictures- other solutions to this problem were very different and just as effective.  Gives me goosebumps.  I'm so excited to get to school every day and see what these folks can do.

Their trust that I won't embarrass them, judge them harshly, or make them feel less than gives them the courage to try out hard things. Without their trust they would never even attempt things that seem difficult.  The Mrs.O they had in elementary school is not the Mrs. O that they have in high school.  Art every day is a far different situation than grade school, and they seem to respond positively to me.  And I am delighted to share my mornings with them.

Trust is something that takes time, and consistency, and effort on my part and I hope to never let them down.  We have a lot more to do and it will involve taking chances.  There are a lot of life lessons that happen in the guise of art, and I hope that I prepare them in some small way for some of the choices that they will have. I say over and again- from intro through advanced art,  the easy things in life (and art)  are not the most satisfying.  It is the hard stuff- the things you struggle with,  the things you really have to work on- they are the most memorable.  They are the things that in the end give you the most joy.

**As you can imagine, I am a tab person and I have a ton of them UP and open on my Safari.... don't judge me!  Lol

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