Students finished up their work for the Biography/Autobiography Challenge and uploaded them to Artsonia this week. It was fun to see the very different outcomes from each student. So many different materials and methods were employed to get the work done. Below are just a few of the works completed this week.
Leila D.: My artwork, "Vibrant Girl", represents a friend of mine who is always positive and uplifting to be around. I wanted to make a piece that had a combination of bold and bright colors. I also wanted to somehow incorporate collage media into my artwork. I did this by taking parts of magazines and arranging them to look like my friend. After I did that I realized that it needed something more. I then decided to add multiple layers of newspaper, colored paper and magazines to the collage. I think that because I did this, the artwork seems more joyful. I can compare my artwork to Patrick Bremer because he also used collage media. He takes magazines and uses them to create realism and abstraction in a piece. There is also a difference between Patrick Bremer's piece and mine. He uses a grid to create a more realistic piece. I enjoyed making "Vibrant Girl", and hope to continue to learn different ways to make great artwork!
Lindsey P.: My artwork is for the biography unit is a photography piece that I took on my camera. In this I used a longer shutter speed and exposure to slow the picture down and make it look like my hands are moving. Also I turned the contrast up to highlight and darken certain parts of my photo. For example, my freckles stand out more when I turned up the contrast. My work connects to me because I love trying new types of photography. My artwork was inspired by photographers I see on social media and Andy Warhol because he makes his artwork look like it is almost moving also.
Ashley W.: This assignment I used two different block prints. One print was a small print of a car. The other print was a a girl looking down at a tombstone. It has something to do with my life, because when I was very young, three people in my family died in a car crash. The cars show you it was a car crash, and the tombs show that people died in it. This artwork means so much to me! My artwork compares to Andy Warhol, because he did colors that people wouldn't do often to their artwork. While he did bright colors, I did bright red in the background. Then, I did a darker color in the front, to show sadness. I took part of Andy Warhol's idea with bright colors, and mixed it up a bit!
Colton S.: This piece is a biography of Sports legends, singing stars, iconic actors, and etc. These people have inspired me, and many many other people to do the things they do, or love the things they love. This work is most like that of Andy Warhol. This is because it deals with repetitive portraits, that depict celebrities or iconic images.
My T.: In my artwork I took pictures of family members of mine in different spots of their faces. When I was done with it I put it together like a puzzle and made a new face. I have personal connections with this artwork because I took pictures of the people in my family. I think my artwork could compare to Chuck Close because of the square/blocks in the picture because I took the pictures separately. Even though it is a picture instead of a painting or drawing I think my artwork compares most to Chuck Close because of the squares on my artwork.
Damien A.: I made Christopher Columbus's Ship because I think it's cool that even though everyone told columbus that he was going to fall off the edge of the Earth, he sailed his ship forward anyways, and he found America. Because of him, we all live in america today. My artwork kind of connects with Chuck Close because he had dyslexia which was a problem for him, but he found a solution for it and it worked. At first when the paint on the boat started leaking out, I tried to hide it, but instead of that, I found a solution for it and I think it worked pretty well, I put them everywhere.
Abby B.: n the work of art I have presented, I created a piece with drawing pencils and magazine clips of outer space. I was inspired to create this piece, as I originally wanted to create something to do with Cherokee heritage. I always thought that their history was extremely interesting, so when I heard the theme of the project, that's what my mind immediately went to. While looking through my research, I found a group of people called the moon-eyed people. Apparently legend told that these people of Cherokee descent, could see during the day, but could see in the night. I thought this was extremely cool, and I choose that to be the model in my portrait. One artist that I think my artwork is similar to Patrick Bremer, as we both use some sort of college in our artwork, with his the actual portrait and mine the background. One thing different is that I also used drawing pencils, while he just used magazine cutouts.
The last two days of the week were a frenzy of Photoshopping as students worked to complete one work (out of five possible challenges). It was fun to see students stretch their learning, even when they had to struggle through some technical issues along the way.
Mark Z.: For my Photoshop challenge I created a digital print of me. I used the technique that Andy Warhol used when he made Marylyn Monroe with bright colors that stand out. I used this technique because I liked how the colors complemented each other. Also I liked how the colors stood out more than usual. This describes me to because I love colors that are bright and complement each other’s.
Irieca W.: I chose to do the one with it looking like a cartoon person because i thought it would be fun and cool to do at first i tried it and it was kind of frustrating for me to do. but then when i did it was easy for me to do so next time i might do some thing that will give me a challenge. because this was easy of i might do i for the next project that i have.
Kristina B.: I chose to do a city for my photoshop challenge. I used the principals of design by using unity because this piece shows harmony but also variety because of the different buildings. This photoshop challenge also uses different shape and also color because of the different shapes and color on the buildings in the city.
Trever W.: I used the quick select tool to create my artwork because I used it to get rid of the background of the photos that I used. I used the basketball and baseball in my artwork because I love to play those sports. The bulldog is in there because they are my favorite dog. The hamburger is my favorite food. That is why I choose to do a couple of those things
Alayna A.: In my artwork I used the element of design color by using bright and vibrant colors in my piece. I also used the principle of design pattern by using a square pattern that all have a picture of my face in different colors and locations. This photoshop challenge was fun to create, and the end result was very fun and colorful.
This was a busy week, filled with new works and learning. I am excited to start something new next week (and to present at the MAEA conference in Traverse City)!
Watching students works in progress (#WIP) has been very exciting this week. Seeing students finalizing plans and diving into their pieces has brought into focus both their understanding of materials and application of the theme's challenge as they see fit to interpret it.
The theme for this challenge is Biography/Autobiography and students are using a variety of ways to explore the ways in which they can visualize this concept. Some students are being more direct in their tactics, using portraiture and figures in their work. Others are being more exploratory in the process, pointing to objects or artifacts or animals that resonate with theme.
Either way, it has been fun to see them work through the ideas and how far some will push the concept and materials they choose.
International Bring a Scone to Art Class Day was alive and well this 2nd Friday in October! Students did all sorts of things to celebrate.
We had students bring in scones they baked or bought. Students also made some Scone Day art and poetry.
Aron really summed up the sentiments of the holiday:
One of the best parts of my job, and something I made sure to write into my Goals for this year, is being able to also work on my art when my students are working on theirs.
Early in my career, I would have never thought to do this. I would hover over students with a careful and critical eye on every mark they made. Over time, I have realized that my students actually do better when I give them the space to grow and they do better when they see what it means to work with purpose from someone who is authentically making art for themselves.
Here are a couple of things I got a chance to work on this week:
Steal Like an Artist
This week has us finally getting into the thick of the first art-making challenge theme: Biography/Autobiography. Students were introduced to five artists who use this concept in their work to document themselves and the people around them before developing their own ideas about how they wanted to interpret the theme for their own work.
Before getting too far along in the planning, I felt it was important to discuss with students how to generate ideas, build off of what already exists, and how to transform concepts that work into something more personal to work for themselves. A great way to do this, was to have a look at Austin Kleon's talk below.
Students were initially surprised that I would advocate stealing anything. But after watching his talk, students discussed what it means to "Steal like an Artist" and how to use that mindset as a key to unlock existing potential solutions in new and unique ways by learning from what has worked in the past in order to make something new. I like the idea of leveraging past solutions to make new ones and it is something I hope to push my students on as we work through this first challenge and the ones that follow.
A Week of Demos and Planning
Since the switch to a more process-based approach, it has been tough to get new students to understand the importance and patience of going through various demonstrations, idea generating processes, and even playing (which seems like something all kids would want to do automatically) before starting their final works. By the time they have come into my classroom, they are so used to diving into a step-by-step, teacher-driven outcome from all of their classes that they are not quite sure how to handle the freedom associated with choosing their own solutions to a broad theme or idea.
That is why we spend at least one week of each challenge going through demonstrations, using our sketchbooks as a playground to experiment with media, before finally diving into a solution that will reflect the final product. This week was spent doing blind contour portraits, using pencils, markers, watercolor, printmaking, and clay as well as going through thumbnail sketches to find possible solutions for their works.
Here is a peek into some of the work we did and some of the progress students have made so far on this first challenge:
It always seems to take me about a month to get everyone's names memorized. Because I am a visual person, the project that always seems to do the trick for me is the Portfolio Name. Students took about four days to plan, design, and create a name design to show their interests and ideas on their portfolio. They first brainstorm lists of things that they identify with as being a part of who they are and then use that list to create their names.
Not only do I get to know names through this activity, but I also get to know more about my students.
Bella E.: The materials I used to make the artwork was, paper, ruler, pencil, and gel pens. I first made the right measurements to make the letters even. I first started making the flower which is to represent the "b". Then after I darkened the edges of the flower to add texture and shading. Then I made the "e" which is ice-cream. I colored the sprinkles and the cherry. Then I made the basketball hoop, the "l" and tried to make it the shape of the l and used shading to make it look more realistic. Then I also made a husky that represents another "l". After that I finally made the seedling and I had colored the stem. This artwork means a lot to me because I love to plants, then my nickname is ice, and I like ice-cream so therefor I made ice-cream. Then I love basketball so I therefor made a hoop, then I love huskies and totally wish I had one so I figured why not make a husky.
Ben V.: For my portfolio, I made the B into a hand gripping a basketball, and a soccer ball under the basketball. I am personally connected to this because I love to play soccer and basketball. Next, for my E, I drew a fishing pole catching a fish, with a pond under it. This describes me because I love to fish. I have been fishing since I was a little kid. Finally, for my N, I did a different object for each line in the N. The first line is a wakeboard because I really like to wakeboard. For the second line I drew a snowboard because my favorite thing to do in the winter is to snowboard. Finally, The last line of my N is a wakesurf rope, because I love to wakesurf in the summer.
Grace W.: So for my portfolio I did the letter G in a christmas way because my favorite holiday is christmas. I made it like christmas by make the lights on the christmas tree into the shape of the G. The next letter is R and I made that into a Hawaiian theme. I took a palm tree and made a surf board leaning up against it so it would look like the letter R. Next I made the letter A into my favorite food, watermelon. I made the point of the watermelon point upwards so it would look like the letter A. Next is the letter C. For the letter C I drew a doughnut. But to make it look like a C I made the doughnut bitten into. And last but not least the letter E. I made the E a beach. On each point of the E there is a different beach activity. On the top one there is a wave, on the second one there is a palm tree, and on the bottom one there is a sand castle with a small tide. And that is how I made my portfolio to represent me.
I also had the chance to spend the day in downtown Grand Rapids with students on Wednesday for ArtPrize. It was cold day filled with a ton of art and fun (and sniffles). I am still recovering from the fun we had that day!
Studio Habits of Mind
One thing I have been working on with my after school art students is the Studio Habits of Mind. I asked them to create their own version of the habits to remember via a sketch note and here are two of the results:
2nd Annual STEAM Film Festival
Students spent this week working on and then presenting their videos that included topics about making healthy choices, celebrating diversity, promoting character, and choosing appropriate online behavior.
It was fun to see students work in groups as they took their scripts and storyboard from last week and transformed them into videos this week. At the end of the week, we had students present their videos in small groups as they rotated to different groups. This was a technique we learned from last year that worked well for us in a different challenge. It also helped keep us off the hook if there were internet issues accessing the videos since students streamed them directly from their computers.
Here are a few that were shared and will make their way into various competitions:
One new feature of our STEAM collaboration was having our community television crew visit the kids on our final day! In addition to talking about their work on Byron Center Community Television, students were offered an opportunity to check out and work their equipment and sign up to get more information on volunteering.
There are definitely things we will work on to make this project even better next year. We made sure to ask our students to help us with that by having them fill out a Google Form as a self-reflection. In it, many students said their favorite part of the PSA Challenge was filming and working in groups that included students from both Art and STEM.
Some things they would like us to do in the future is open up even more categories for topics they can create films about in this project.
We will definitely be looking into that...
3D test prints
When students finished their videos early, they were directed to Tinkercad to play with the 3D print designer. We are still learning the potential of our 3D printer, but one student was able to walk away with a pretty nice chicken they printed...
Starting with STEAM
For the first full week of school, the STEM teacher and I combine our classes for a STEAM collaborative. This allows for us to start the year out showing the students that we use common language and methods for design thinking.
Students use their sketchbooks to map out the process, so they can have it available as they move from my class to his (and visa versa) at semester. For Design Thinking, we use DICE (Discover, Ideate, Create, Evaluate). We used to use a longer process, but have found that this fits just right.
After students were introduced to the basics of video production and given a variety of topics to choose from, they got into their groups and started working on scripts and storyboards. Students know from past examples that a well done video could mean recognition in a variety of venues and used that to help generate new and innovative ways to approach topics like "Building Character" and generating a "positive digital footprint."
Students spent the later part of the week actually filming their work based on the scripts and storyboards they crafted. It was interesting to see groups make choices on whether or not they were going to "act" in theirs or use animation or use a combination of both.
It will be fun to see hoe these works come together in the end and the showcase that follows as they are featured in our 2nd Annual STEAM Film Festival.
Since starting this blog 5 years ago, I have been looking for new and different ways to share all of the things that go on in our Art room. I used to post daily and more recently have moved to less and less posting.
For this school year, I am hoping to post weekly about what we are working on and how we progress through learning, making, and exploring along the way.
Start with Art
For the past five or so years, I have opened up the first day with clay. We use this opportunity to make our bowls for our annual Empty Bowls event. I am so thankful to work in a community that supports the Arts and that we can in turn support the community through our Art in action. Our Arts a la Mode Night will happen on May 23rd this year and I know it will be even better than last!
In addition to getting students immersed in making art with clay on the first day, I leverage this act of making on day two as I introduced "The Dot" by Peter H. Reynolds. I have been doing this one for a few years, too, in different forms. I am really in love with students making their own mark after being inspired by the story and then bringing it all together to make something larger than their single part. I hope that can see the symbolism in that as we tackle many challenges together throughout the semester and will need each other to get through many of them.
Here are a few of the finished ones and the classes put together to make larger "dots."
Corinne W.: I consider the story The Dot inspirational because Vashti makes beautiful pieces of art, yet so simple, she feels like an artist. I consider myself not the best drawer but in this piece, I let my pencil just take me away and it ended up better than I expected. I ended up finding things I hadn't noticed before while drawing this, like how the shape to the left looked like a dinosaur, and how in the middle shape looked like a distortment of a palm tree, so I colored it in that way. This relates to the story because it was simple to draw and still turned out good ;)
Abby B.: A story, known as, “The Dot”, has a theme, that can be interpreted that anyone can be an artist. The story starts as a young girl has trouble on thinking about what she should make for her art class. Her teacher tells her to make a dot, which she does, still frustrated with herself. But when the teacher puts it in a frame the next day, the girl keeps working on more dots, surprising herself with her own creativity. I found this book to be funny and inspiring, and a good message to think about when you work on art. This story helps connect with the current piece I’m working on, known as, the dot. I believe that this project was given to us to show that we can be artist too, know matter what our skill levels are.
There are a lot of things we can feel good about that got accomplished this week. And with that in mind, I know there will be so many things to look forward to overcoming this year. This week we got to see the 3D printer in action, relive the accomplishments of the past as a challenge to the future, and get excited about our first STEAM collaborative starting on Monday!
I had an awesome summer of unwinding and unplugging because I know this year will be a big one. We have a lot to live up to from the past and instead of being daunted by it or feeling overwhelmed, it is a challenge to push harder and reach higher! I hope everyone else who started their school year feels that same determination in their gut and leverages it to their best year yet!
Earlier this month, in a letter to parents, I invited my students to use Artsonia classroom mode and upload their personal art from the summer.
It is always an awesome thing to see how some students will take advantage of that opportunity to showcase their work, even if it is not for a grade.
I want to take a moment to thank and congratulate Leila for uploading multiple pieces to the gallery for the challenge and winning an Artsonia gift card for participating!
Somehow summer vacation is just an excuse for me to get some more time with art. This year my husband and I took a road trip to Montreal, where we were able to visit museums, eat incredible food, and experience new sights and sounds around every corner.
My favorite spot was probably the Beaux Arts where I viewed an amazing exhibit of Pompeii (something I have taught for years). It was amazing and incredibly humbling to see the artifacts from that place up close and personal.
I had a wonderful summer and I learned a lot and was inspired by so many things. I cannot wait to bring that inspiration back to my students when we return in the fall!
This year was amazing!
The Field Trips, the unconventional approaches to ideas, and most Scholastic Awards in BCWMS history are just a few of the highlights.
Here is a look back to the best year ever (although 2016-17 feels like it could be something even more special):
Scone Day is a BCWMS staple. To cement this International Holiday this year, two students wrote and filmed the melody you can view above. It helped make Scone Day 2015 an epic one to remember!
January marked the 5th year anniversary of this blog. I started this blog as a way to document and share the happenings in my classroom. So many other things have happened that I could not have predicted, including recognition like this award. Thanks again to all who keep coming back and using the resources and ideas shared!
There is a lot from May I could have selected. We raised funds for our local food bank with Arts a la Mode, we went to the Meijer Gardens, we made many fun GIFs of elementary student work, as well as the variety of other things that was amazing! I chose this image because I think it will have a huge impact on the future and the 3D printer we purchased with the grant funds. I know Mr. Dennett and I already have several plans in the works for future STEAM collaborations involving this new tool!
This year ended with another trip to the National Scholastic Awards. This is the fourth time I have had the privilege to join my winning student and their family to NYC. Each time is an honor and I look forward to see what happens in 2017!
I am so proud of all that was accomplished this year and how far students pushed their ideas and skills to make those accomplishments happen. I know that this year will be a defining one for years to come. I will refer to it often with future students as the year we tried new ideas, received so much recognition, and planned for the future.
It was a great school year (unparalleled in so many ways) and even though it was the best one yet, I have a very good feeling about what next year will bring!
Teaching Visual Arts since 2004 and making images since picking up a crayon.