Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Sharing Ideas at the PCPS Inservice Training

     Every year during the pre-school week our county has one day of county wide in-service training.  Usually the art teachers are placed in some boring, non applicable, session with other core teachers.  Not often do we have a specifically "Art" related training.  This year I called the assistant superintendent for instruction and offered to lead a session for the art teachers.   One of the best parts is that because I am a teacher in the system they wouldn't have to pay me.  Just give me re certification points.  This was a big selling point as the county really has NO money. 
     I presented 2 options for training.

Option 1 - Lesson / Technique Exchange
      - 2 Groups (k-6) and (7-17) Each Art teacher brings in their favorite lesson/project or media technique to demo and share.  Notify teacher prior to work week for them to bring in 1 paper copy of the lesson or instructions and to bring necessary supplies for demo and practice.  Lessons/Instructions are to be photocopied during session so everyone has a copy of the lesson to take back to their school.
Option 2 - Printmaking and image transfer techniques and projects
      - For this session I will demonstrate how to do a variety of image transfer techniques and how to incorporate them in to larger art projects.  I will also demonstrate different printmaking techniques with a focus color mixing and value variations that can be done without a printing press.

 About 4 days prior to pre-school week she notified me that she would like me to do both options with all the art teachers together.  So out went the email to the art teachers to bring in a lesson and on I went to plan the hands on training.

Visual Arts In-service Training
Session 1 – Play with purpose
Rational – Art teachers often do not have the time to “play with purpose.”  Rather the art they create usually amounts to project examples for their students.  During the pre-school week of teacher in-service training and planning the workshops and meetings teachers have to attend usually do not relate to the visual arts.  Most meetings and trainings are geared toward the core curriculum, technology, policy and procedures, or curriculum alignment.  The art teachers are often assigned to a course that does not relate to their field. 
The purpose of this in-service training during pre-service week is to give art teachers an opportunity to experiment with media and allow them time to brain storm how they could apply these experiments to the own art and the lessons they develop for their students.  These exercises are a direct reflection of my summer studio course work at the University of Florida in July of 2011.
The sessions consists of 8 art teachers (3 elementary, 1 middle, 1 jr. high, 3 high school)

Session Outline

1.     Wax Resist Watercolor Painting Memory Book
a.       1 8x12 piece of watercolor paper. (substitution: white drawing paper)
b.      Single color, very diluted water color paint in a jar
c.        Wax paper
d.      Tape
e.       Marking tool (Ball point pen)
f.         Fold paper in ½ (Hamburger) then fold edges in to the half fold. Crease edges.  Unfold paper then fold it in half again (hot dog)
g.       Place wax paper (over watercolor paper with the waxy side down)
h.      Tape papers to table
i.         Prompt – Think back over your summer and visualize your favorite moment, place or activity. 
j.         Draw the scene or the feeling it brings to mind on the wax paper with water color paper underneath it. (fill the space)
k.       Cover the entire paper with watercolor.  Allow to dry.
l.         Cut the centerfold but leave the two end sections attached.
m.    Push together to form a book.
n.      As a warm up to water color painting
o.      A book for poems
p.      Intro to wax resist as in batik

2.     Frottage – Printmaking by rubbing – Focus on Line and Color Mixing
·         Red, Blue, Yellow Printing ink
·         Plexiglas for spreading ink
·         Brayers
·         Marking Tools
·         Papers (watercolor, or drawing)
·         Wax Paper
·         Newsprint
·         Music
·         Tape
·         Contact paper – or any other thin paper for blocking ink
·         Roll out 9 inking stations (3 each color)
·         Place 1 piece of paper (gently) over each plate of color (secure with tape)
·         Place wax paper and newsprint over the printing paper.
·         Draw your response to the music heard. (1-2 minutes)
·         Gently peel back the paper
·         Re-ink the plate
·         Go to the next color (Place contact paper cut outs on inked surface)
·         Place paper over plate
·         Draw your response to the music heard (1-2 min)
·         Repeat process with the third color
Applications / Variations
·         Color mixing – the areas resisted by the contact paper preserve the original color.  The other areas blend.
·          Variation – Rather than re-inking surface you could use the ghost of the ink as an exploration of opacity/blending
3. Image Transfers – Experimentation with transfer mediums
·         Glue, Modge podge, Acrylic medium, Gesso
·         Packing Tape, Contact Paper, Transparency paper
·         Mat Board, Watercolor Paper, Drawing Paper
·         Water
·         Tracing Paper
Process 1:
·         Place packing tape or clear contact paper over image
·         Soak in water 5-10 minutes
·         Use a gentile rubbing motion to remove the paper backing from the image
Process 2:
·         Cover tracing paper (watercolor paper, or drawing paper)with glue, mod podge,  gesso, or acrylic medium
·         Place images face down on paper
·         Burnish the back of paper image
·         Allow to dry
·         Use water and a gentile rubbing motion to remove the paper from the back of the image.
·         Tracing paper should be stiff in the end 
4. Experiments in Posative and Negative Space
                          * Wet Erase Markers,  Rubber Bands, Paper, pencil
                            1. Drop a hand full of rubber bands on to the paper.  Draw the negative space created by the overlapping bands and their shaddows.
                            2. Demo how to use the wet erase markers
                            3. trace the pencil lines drawn with the markers and use water to spread the color and add design.
                             4. The negative space now becomes the positive space.
1. Exploring positive/negative space, line designs, abstraction,
2. Exploration in making something complex from something simple
3. Exploring the power of chance in the creation of art.

My Reflection:  When it can go wrong it will.  I got to school and realized that we had no yellow or red printing ink and there weren't enough wet erase markers for everyone.  I left the contact paper at home, and all our brayers wouldn't roll.  Ok.  So time to improvise.  I ended up mixing acrylic paint with gell medium so it would flow better and not dry so quick, and found some sponge brushes to spread the ink on the plexiglass. At one of the teacher's suggestion we tried out the crayola markers.  Wow.  They work just the same as the wet erase markers, and they're less expensive!
    I decided to switch up the order of things and do the hands on session first and the lesson exchange in the second session.  This worked great.  After the opening session with all teachers the art teachers were ready to do something creative.  I skipped the opening session to get the room set up for the art teachers and do some print samples.  They weren't working the way I had hoped.  The paint substitution was too think and I couldn't get an even print.  This is one process I really need to work on before I attempt it again.  With that in mind, I decided to do that process last.  As it turned out we ran out of time in the first session so we started with that after lunch.  While the teachers liked the process, the results weren't that great.  The good thing about it was that we all began brain storming how we could use the process, alter the process, and make it relate to Va standards of learning at different grade levels.  So maybe it actually was a success.
Everyone liked the wax resist memory drawing, and the idea that it could be made into a book for use in writing memories, poems, or for sketching.  The rubber band activity was quite a conversation starter.  How the activity could be used was explored by us all.  I call that one a success.  From there we went onto the image transfer techniques.  I showed the examples from my sketchbook class, how to use the glue, modge podge, gell medium, tape and transparency.  I skipped the gesso as only the high school teachers used it.  I explained that we were experimenting with different media that did the same thing to explore how we each could utilize the concept on varying budgets.  Through trial and error, everyone discovered how much of each transfer media was needed as well as how much rubbing would work and not take off the image too.  Again, I call this exercise a success.
We ran out of time after the image transfers and had to break for lunch.  Refreshed we came back for the printmaking.  This was not as good of an outcome as I would have liked.  Lesson learned: Make sure you have all the needed materials on hand before offering to do a project, and practice more before doing the demo.  We spent more time that I had thought on this process so we had to rush through the lesson sharing.  The success of that was in that we all found out what each other was doing so we did not duplicate at a different level, but built on each lesson in the following grades.  Lesson Learned: Give a media or process topic for the lessons teachers are to bring.  Such as, today would have been great if I had instructed everyone to bring a lesson they use for printmaking.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Not Just an Art Supply Catalogue

I’ve always loved to looked at art supply catalogues, but I never paid much attention to the little side notes. Nasco, Sax, Utrech, Dickblick all have web sites for ordering, but did you know they had lesson plans too? Until recently I didn’t know that. With a little exploring I found many lessons that I could adapt to my own curriculum and grade levels. While most of the lessons are simple and geared more toward the elementary classroom, they are great for brainstorming about my high school students.

Her are some of my favorites:






Sunday, August 28, 2011

Seeds of Light

Continuing with the theme of identity, students will move from bas relief portraits to sculpture in the round. From objective and obvious, to symbolic. The next art work will build on the techniques of assemblage, but this time there will be more variety and options in their art creation. Life cycles in nature will be explored. How ideas come to life will be explored. Through "Seeds of Light" students will incorporate light into sculpture. I'm still working out all the terminology and lessons with in the unit, but I've got some samples in the making.

Project 1 continued and other thoughts

Well now in VA we've had major brush fires spreading smoke all the way from the coast to Powhatan. We've had earthquakes. We've just gone through a hurricane and its tornados. What a week! Two days now without power. No internet or TV means the family actually has to spend time together. Research was put on hold but more work was done on projects samples.

After cutting and glueing many layers according to my grid drawing of the value sectioned face I realized that more needed to be added to make the sculpture more complete.
Lessons learned:
  • Students will use their basic grid drawing as the foundation for their sculpture creation, not as the only map of where to add levels of relief.
  • This project will take longer than originally expected. If it takes me more than 4 hours for construction, it will take my students longer. The good thing is that now that I have gone through all the steps (other than painting it) in art work planing and construction I can make a more realistic time line for this particular unit of study.
Multiple Layers build the face and hair.

I used the large grid drawing as a template for cutting the cardboard that I stacked and glued to form the various levels of relief.

Card board boxes are available from the cafeteria at school. Recycling at its best! Rubbing the back of the drawing works as a transfer medium so that the drawing can be transferred to cardboard for cutting.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Project 1 - Layers of Me

I want to begin the year with something familiar to all my students.What's more familiar that their own face? Also the fact that I know that whether the students came from Art I, Art II, or Basic Design they all will have some background knowledge of bas relief, the artist Chuck Close or the grid method of enlarging. While I know that most of my students have been exposed to these aspects of art, their actual knowledge of them is debatable. But, it does give me a familiar ground to start on.

Starting from the back end. What will they create? They will demonstrate their knowledge of bas relief, the methods of artists like Chuck Close, and their understanding of how to use digital imaging through the creation of a relief self portrait. First we'll construct the art work and then we will investigate means of creating the surface design. Before we do this their will be other inquiry into the art history, symbolism, surface design techniques, and other knowledge building exercises.

Bas relief portrait based on a photograph. This is the relief in progress. A few more layers of card board then it's ready for surface design.

To create my example I used a photo of my daughter and transformed it into a bas relief sculpture.
Step 1: Take a picture - Step 2 - desaturate the image.

Step 3. Grid the image.
Step 4: Use the grid to draw the imagesbigger on another paper.
The other pictures of the process that will be on my web site. Blogger just takes too long to upload the images that they will have to wait end get up on my site.

Backwards Design

Using the backwards design model for designing curriculum allows me to start with the question; What do I want my students to learn from their experiences in my class? Well, what do I want them to learn? I want them to learn that their art is an expression of who they are. It's an expression of where they come from, their culture, their thoughts and beliefs. The process of creating art work is a way to voice their point of view and claim their own identity. I want them to understand that artists throughout history and cultures have used their art for self expression and as a tool for better understanding the world in which they live.

So how will I do this? Well I'm starting with an enduring idea. It's the idea that individual identity is an essential part of every artist's creations. The "Big Idea" is to develop a year long curriculum for a high school 3D Design Art Class that is held together by the underling theme of identity. By using a thematic approach to curriculum design I am guided to develop units of study that have a common theme. This ties all the units together as they build on each other. This also allows students to emerge at the end of the year with newly constructed knowledge about who they are, what's important to them, how artists have used their art to express their identity and the students will have had a personal stake in the art they create. The processes they learn become new means for creating art that they are engaged in.

It helps that I have great models in curriculum design that will aide me in creating units of study that will engage my students and guide them to construct their own knowledge. Rethinking Curriculum in Art, by Marilyn Stewart and Sydney Walker is a guiding text for anyone wanting to develop a balanced, student centered, curriculum.

I will have to admit, that like many of my art educator colleagues, I like figuring out what kind of cool art my students could create before I finish designing the path to get there. As I create models to use as examples my brain turns on and floods of ideas and design structure for how I could guide my students come to life. What type of processes would best allow my students to create art based on the enduring idea of identity? I have to keep in mind that the class the curriculum is being designed for is a 3D art class. So the majority of the art created will be three dimensional. But that doesn't mean there will be no drawing, painting or collage going on as well. Drawing is an essential part of any art creation. It serves as a guide, a tool for working out ideas, and a possibility of mixing media to create a more powerful artwork. There will also be exploration of how artists have used their art in the past, and present, to express their own identity. My students will construct their own knowledge. My job is to provide them with the tools and guidance to do that. So lets get on with it!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

What's the big idea?

The big idea here is to explore, reflect, document, plan, illustrate and communicate my ideas about arts education. As I continue my graduate studies in Art Education with the University of Florida I am taking a critical look at my own teaching pedagogy and how I can improve arts education for my own students and others. I have a website where I have completed units of instruction for further investigation. As I continue completing units I will document them there. This particular blog is to track my process in learning and creating.