Time on Task is an interesting concept. Traditionally, students are expected to work on our schedule. The expectation is that students will begin working as soon as they enter class and end work when the bell rings to leave. As teachers, we often try to accommodate the time on task concept by assigning projects with due dates and other related methods. However, there is an issue. Artists don't always work this way.
When Kaitlyn said she wanted to produce an abstract marbling painting I wasn't sure what to tell her. Creating marbleized paper using shaving cream was about the extent of my experience. So I said what any TAB leaning teacher would say..."OK, cool". I'm sure that wasn't as much help as I thought it was but it was fine by Kaitlyn. She had been reading up on different techniques, watching YouTube videos and collecting a plethora of pins on Pinterest. Now she was ready to experiment.
Kaitlyn started small, working on 4"x 4" canvases. She experimented with different paint thicknesses and tried several different mediums including gel and white glue. The idea was to created different consistencies so the paint would flow together at different rates. I mean, I think that's what she was doing. Either way, it worked. Since then she has moved on to much larger works. Like the one in these photos.
Time on Task:
Kaitlyn does not work on a bell to bell schedule. This doesn't mean she isn't on task. It only means she works on her own schedule. Kaitlyn may go several days when she is not producing product. To someone not familiar with how Kaitlyn works, it may appear that she is time off task. This is not the case. Though she may not be in the act of physically creating, she is thinking, planning, researching, collecting information and preparing for a major project. She may go several days or even more than a week when she is not producing product. Then, when she is ready, on her time, she knocks it out of the park.
The above image may look a lot like a digitally manipulated photograph. However, it's not. In fact, it's not a photo at all. Instead, it a traditional work of art that has been digitally altered. It's part of a series Naomi is creating by experimenting with Photoshop.
Naomi starts by creating a drawing on newsprint paper. Sometimes she uses charcoal, other times she uses markers or other traditional media. Once she has created the drawing, she photographs it and imports the image to the computer. From there, Naomi begins the manipulation process in Photoshop. She will change modes, make adjustments, arrange and transform and apply filters until she has created something entirely different. For example, the image above is a manipulation of the drawing of the bird with the triangles below. She will also create between five and fifteen different versions before she settles on one she likes.
Time on Task:
Naomi's schedule is much different than Kaitlyn 's. Though she on occasion works on a larger scale project that may take several days, her preference is to create daily projects. Each day, Naomi creates a new drawing. She then imports the image into the computer and spends the rest of the class time manipulating that image. She will continue the process until the end of class. The next day, she starts the process over all again.
Patsy is currently working on a series of portraits of children she has interacted with through mission trips to Guatemala. The drawing are completed in charcoal which gives Patsy the ability to create rich contrast in her work. In her early drawings, Patsy created the portraits without backgrounds, allowing the focus to fall solely on the subject. recently, Patsy has been experimenting with background imagery. By uploading photographs to the computer, Patsy has been able to print these images directly on charcoal paper allowing her to draw with charcoal directly on top of the photos.
More recently Patsy has been collecting flyers, maps and other images associated with her mission trips to Guatemala. She plans to incorporate these images into the backgrounds, similarly to how she did with the photos. for example, he middle image below is a pattern Patsy created in Photoshop of Guatemala's national flower the White Nun Orchid.
Time on Task:
Patsy takes time to complete each one of her drawings. Similarly to Kaitlyn, Patsy does take time to plan. However, her planning schedule is much shorter. She may only need a day or two to collect her thoughts. Similarly to Naomi, Patsy works every day. However, she doesn't finish a project each day. Instead, she may work four or five days on her charcoal portraits.
In an Open Art Room, students are allowed to pursue the artwork they wish to pursue. Each student is an individual that produces individual work. Since they all work differently, they require different schedules. Time on task shouldn't be an across the board scheduling routine. Time on task is individual too.
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Click Here to Read the March SchoolArts Magazine Article Tracking Student Progress with the Burn Book!
Click Here to Read the December SchoolArts Article, Build A Dynamic art Program with Modular Teaching!
Click Here to Read the February SchoolArts Article, How to Write an Artistic Behavior Unit