Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Revitalizing Old Projects

This semester I decided I needed to breathe some new life into one of my projects I have been teaching awhile. The students have always done well on it, but I wanted to see them think more deeply than they had been. The project was focused on mixed media. At this point in the semester, students had learned how to use many different media in their work, and the mixed media project was meant to help them think past one art material at a time and use several including non-traditional materials like found objects to create a unique composition.
I decided to update this project by providing a new focus for the theme of their piece and adding an inspirational artist to the lesson. I chose Romare Bearden as the artist and personal culture as the focus. I included a reflective essay in the project where students explain how they represented their culture and why they chose the media they used for the piece. Below is my student gallery for the week. I really enjoyed this new twist on an old project. 

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Buried Treasure: Communicating Learning Outcomes

We all have goals for our students. Whether they be state standards and benchmarks we are aiming for our students to hit, or more student-friendly learning outcomes written in language that students understand. I have seen this illustrated in different ways in classrooms I have visited. Sometimes they are posted on the wall by grade level, other times they are printed on syllabi or posted on the introduction page for a lesson.
It is important for students to understand what they are going to gain from our classes and I think sometimes this gets lost somewhere between when we share these desired learning outcomes and when they go in one ear and out the other for students, or aren't read or heard in the first place.
For years, I have wanted to develop a fun an visual way for students to see what they are learning in my Art 1 class and how they are learning it. In my school we use the term "course map" to describe the document that houses all of our learning outcomes and assessments for a course. I decided to create a REAL course map modeled after a treasure map, because as we all know, learning is like discovering new exciting gems!

Click to enlarge
I made this map in Photoshop and really enjoyed it because I am a big nerd. I hope that my new map catches the eyes of my students and helps them understand the journey they are taking in my class. What ways can you think of to help students understand the "what" and "why" of their learning in your class?