When I saw Jean Barnett’s recent "Year in Review" blog post, I thought I might want to write a post like that too. This being my first year at South B, there was Stuff that Worked, things that were like, Ugh! And things that didn’t happen this year but will happen Next Year. So let’s jump right in…
Stuff That Worked
This semester we started each class period with a warm up. These warm-ups, which usually lasted between 10-20 minutes, were each designed to teach a skill or technique or introduce a concept or new medium. Previously, these types of things have either been introduced as Bootcamps or else they were tied directly to the lesson. However, these warm-ups were totally stand alone. They functioned more like the HS version of the TAB five minute demo. For that reason alone they make the “stuff that worked” list and we’ll continue this next year.
Every Wednesday we would take a look at an artist or artwork that leaned slightly away from the idea of traditional art. Students commented on how weird some of the art was and Weird Wednesday was born. Artists that made the Weird Wednesday list include Janine Antoni, The Guerilla Girls, Geoffrey Ricardo, Ron Murek, Alexa Meade and Patricia Piccinini to name a few.
On previous blog posts there has often been a theme or overall concept that we’ve learned about. This semester however, we tended to not be so, let’s say, concerted. So in order to demonstrate the plethora of ideas our students were working on, many of our blog posts took on the title of “happenings”. This is stuffed that worked, sure, for the blog posts but more importantly for allowing the creative freedom to reign.
First up on the Ugh! List, brushes. Has anyone ever found a solution for this issue? Brushes, ugh! They are expensive, they often aren’t taken care of and they are important part of painting. Honestly, we can’t’ afford to purchase new brushes every year. We just don’t have the budget.
So next year, we will ask that everyone bring in a small set of brushes that they can keep in their cubbies. I tend to believe that when people own the brushes, they take care of them. For those who aren’t able to get a set, we’ll have some loaner kits.
We started our National Art Honor Society and this was a big Ugh! Not because students weren’t interested. We had a great group. However, scheduling was an issue. First, it took a few weeks before our school schedule added smart Lunch, which was out time to meet. Later, issues occurred and Smart Lunch was discontinued so we had no time to meet. It was later decided that clubs would meet after school. By the time the dust had settled, most students had lost interest.
Still, a small group of dedicated students persisted and we ended up have a fun induction celebration/barbeque. Hopefully next year we can maintain a consistent schedule and then things can really take off!
First it was the iPads. We could get any app we wanted! Any app… as long as it didn’t have a community, didn’t have ads and was free. Needless to say 7 of the 8 apps I requested were denied. Scratch iPads. Next we tried blogging. But Blogger got blocked. So we tried Wordpress but halfway through the year, it was blocked. Scratch blogs.
On the bright side, I was able to get a class set of Chromebooks and a Makerbot 3D printer and an Epson color printer through ha series of grants. So even though we got off to a rough start, I believe we have a solid foundation to work with next year.
This year I asked students to maintain sketchbooks but it wasn’t required. Next year, sketchbooks will be required for all students. They need a place to work on warm ups, to sketch ideas and thumbnails, and a place to keep notes about art work and artists that we cover. Maintaining a sketchbook will help students keep track of their progress and allow them to review everything we’ve covered in class.
Next year will be the first time AP Art is offered, not only at South B but in Brunswick County. We have a small be dedicated group of students willing to put in the time and effort to complete the required portfolio. I’m cautiously optimistic…
Even though Melissa Purtee and I just finished writing a book about how to set up the curriculum for an open art room, this year’s curriculum was all over the map! Next year I plan to read my own book and roll out my class just like it says in chapter three. Beginners with themes and grouped media, intermediate with Artistic Behaviors and Advanced with full TAB and AP prep. I think that sounds about right.
Art of South B
This blog contains the work of Visual Artists, Computer Graphic Designers, Animators, and Street Artists from South Brunswick HS, NC
The Open Art Room provides a student-centered approach to art instruction that is inspirational, practical, and classroom-tested.