It's true, you don't know what you don't know. This is particularly true when it comes to using media. Before you can create a watercolor painting, it helps if you know that watercolors are available. It also helps if you have some idea how to use them.
As a traditional art teacher, this was never an issue. I would teach the material and then give the class an assignment based on that medium. As a choice-based teacher, I want students to decide which medium they want to use for their project, and I want this to happen as close to day one as possible. So how can I bring a whole class up to speed on at least a foundation level of what is available and how to use it? Start the year with a Media Bootcamp.
If you've read the Open Art Room, you are already familiar with Bootcamps. Bootcamps are best employed when an entire class needs to be brought up to speed on a particular media but demos or mini lessons aren't enough to cover the topic. Examples of Bootcamps include Drawing, Acrylic Painting, and Ceramics.
A warning about Bootcamps:
Bootcamps should be offered in moderation. The point of a Bootcamp is to bring the entire class up to speed so they can get to the art making part. It would be easy to go overboard on Bootcamps, offering so many they become the curriculum.
When considering Bootcamps, determine what the minimum amount of knowledge your students need to get started, run those Bootcamps, then let them make art.
Next semester, we will begin with a week long Media Bootcamp. Each day we will offer three different, but related mediums to rotate and explore through stations. Students will experience:
Day One: Dry media such as oil and chalk pastels
Day Two: Wet media including acrylic and watercolor paint
Day Three: Digital media including photo manipulation and 3D printing
Day Four: Hands on media such as printing, etching and ceramics.
Each station will include demo and video tutorials. Students will not only experience the media, they will have an opportunity to create a product as well.
After our week long Media Bootcamp, students will be introduced to the Nine. Each of the Nine topics includes demos and techniques that relate to each topic. For example, when presenting architecture, we will review linear perspective. This is one way for the inclusion of technique while still offering full choice. But what happens once all of the Nine topics have been presented? How will we continue to introduce ideas, concepts, artists and technique? Enter Technique Tuesday.
This is part four of a five part series. Read the rest here:
Part 1 Grading | Part 2 Reflection | Part 3 Subject Based Choice | Part 5 Teaching Technique
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