Friday, November 30, 2012

Sub Binders- Helping Things Run Smoothly

Routine Ready

A while back I wrote about one of the forms I use in my substitute binder. Well, here are a couple of other forms I use. They contain information about routines, procedure and where things can be found in the art room.  It's all about making things run smoothly if I ever have to be out of the classroom.

Take a look! They may help when you're coming up with your own substitute binder.

Let me know what you think! Would something like this be helpful in your art room?

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

A Simple Way to Get Feedback on What You Do

Back in August I wrote a post about communicating with students. I got the idea about communication after listening to  key note speaker was Joel Manby, President and CEO of Hershend Family Entertainment and author of the book Love Works: Seven Principles for Effective Leaders.

A Take-away

Well, there was another take-away I got from listening to him speak at that conference. It was about letting the people you lead evaluate  and give feedback on how they think things are working under your leadership. I already have an art class evaluation/feedback form that I use in my class. But I wanted to try Mr. Manby's method  because it seemed like a very simple idea. And I am all about simple. And I'm all about getting feedback on what I do. How else can I become a better teacher?

 3 Questions

When Mr. Manby wants to get feedback from his employees about how they feel his organization is working, he asks 3 simple question- What do you want to see 'more of,  less of and the same of.'

I thought I'd try incorporating this into my art room this year. I'll still keep my old art class evaluation/feedback form on standby, but I'm trying this method this year and see how it goes. It seems like a good way to get a gauge of what  the students feel about what goes on in the  art room.

Here is what I've come up with-

Here is the link to the PDF of this form.
Feel free to print it out!

What do you think of this type of class feedback form? Would this work in your art room? You can leave a comment

Friday, November 23, 2012

Pastel Self Portraits- Who Am I?

The Essential Question

Who am I ?  That is the first question I ask when starting this lesson on pastel portraits.

This is a great question to ask middle school students. As they're growing into adulthood, they're in the process of dealing with issues such as: 'Who am I?', 'Who do I want to be?' and 'What's important to me?' all the time. 

For this lesson I introduce various self portraits/portraits  that contain symbolism that reflect the subject of the painting. Self portraits by Frida Kahlo and Vincent Van Gogh; portraits made by Jacques Louis David and Warhol all contain symbolic clues that reflect who's actually in the painting.

The symbolism could be: something they're wearing, something in their hand, or how they hold their hands or something in the back ground. All of which that can be the focus of  discussions with the class before the project is started.

The Steps We Take

These self portraits are all made with oil crayons. We start with a rough draft first, while we review all the proportions of the face. Then, we  practice blending colors with the oil crayons. Lastly, we create our self portrait, cut it out and glue to the background paper.  We then draw our symbols which are cut out and glued on to the background.

What do you think about making self portraits with your students? Would this work in your art class? Let me know.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

What's Your Symbol? Grant Woods in the Art Class

Yea, I know, you've probably seen it hundreds of times, it's an American icon. But do you know what it's really about?

Also, did you know that using Grant Woods' American Gothic is a great way to bring an American artist and American history into an art lesson.

I start off by asking my students- What they think was going on with going on in American in the years of the 1920s?

Which they usually guess- WW I and the Great Depression.

I then ask the students- How would these two events have effected our country?  How do they think people were feeling after such tremendous emotional upheavals as a great war, financial and employment problems? Their answers are usually- fear, anxiety, depression and uncertainty.

Which leads me to discuss with a Prezi how Woods' American Gothic helped to raise the spirits of Americans when we were going through a time of great turmoil. Inside Woods' painting were  the symbols (faith, family and hard work) of the qualities that made America great. They reminded Americans that these qualities (if held on to) could carry our 
country through the hard times it was going through.

After watching the Prezi and discussing the symbolism of the painting, students are asked to think about what 4 symbols they would use to reflect their qualities and make them special. They then create their own "American Gothic" with a 'farmhouse' (any style house, I once had a pineapple house)  and two figures. Their 4 symbols must some how be included in their picture. 

What do you think about this art lesson? Would this work in your art room? Let me know below in the comments.

Friday, November 2, 2012

8 Simple Graphic Design Techniques

Did you ever buy a whole gallon of Oreo cookie ice cream that you really didn't need?  When you get home you asked yourself this question? Why did I just buy that?

I have. What was I thinking?!

It may be because the designer who created the advertisement in the magazine you just read, knows the right way to grab your attention with a gallon of Oreo Cookie ice cream. And you   run right out and buy a gallon. Ugh!

Using cropping, positive/negative, location and color

One lessons that is informative and gets students to really think about what they see in advertisements is to teach graphic design techniques.

I start out showing them examples of how the different design techniques (positive/negative, overlapping, cropping, texture, touching, scale, intersecting forms, color) are used in magazine advertisements. They have great fun seeing and guessing which advertisement uses which technique.

Positive/Negative, Cropping, Touch and Overlapping

After we review all the techniques they decide on a motif or symbol. They choose six of the techniques (and one motif/symbol) to work on for their rough draft. 

A work in progress- using positive/negative, color, cropping and texture

For the final, after they measure out their border and four frames, they choose their top four techniques. All frames are colored in with markers. The broad tip markers work best for coloring these.

A final copy above- using touch, scale, positive/negative, texture

Another final copy above- using positive negative, overlapping, color, scale.

What do you think about this lesson?  How do you teach graphic design?  What works for you? Let me know!