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.
Jo Jo was at it again, creating a new, interactive bulletin board. He incorporated his STEAM skills by wiring Christmas lights to run off of batteries so the fire marshal would approve his sign. The concept is simple. There are sticky notes and a pen on a string. Take a sticky note and write your New Year's resolution! Below are some examples of the sticky notes that students wrote.
Next semester we plan to fully implement the Learning Target concept. What's that you ask? Well, let me explain. Previously, we have asked students to consider what they accomplished by selecting a writing prompt based on the Standards. While this is very beneficial in regards to reflecting on the work the student has accomplished, it doesn't capture the student's initial intent. That's where Learning Targets work!
Learning Targets ask the student to consider what they intend to accomplish before they start working. Furthermore, the Learning Targets, like the coordinating reflection prompts, align with the Standards.
Since we were only introducing the concept, we decided to start with only a few select Learning Targets. Students were asked to select one Learning Target from the list that would align with their next student-directed project. Here is a look at the limited list we provided, followed by several examples of students work and the targets they selected.
Standards Learning Targets
For this project you will design a work of art that presents a message. If you feel strongly about a particular topic, this is your opportunity to express your thoughts through your art. Check out artists like Banksy, Shepard Fairey or Kristen Visbal.
Appropriation is taking two objects and combining them to create an original piece. For this project you will combine different things that inspire you in order to create a new, unique work of art. Check out artists like Jamian Juliano-Villani.
This project is all about improving on something you already are good at. For this project you should consider a material or a skill or technique that you are good at and seek out ways to get even better. You might consider following a YouTube tutorial.
This project is all about trying something completely new. For this project you should consider a material or a skill or technique that you have no experience with and learn how to do it. You might consider following a YouTube tutorial.
For this project you will work with other students to create a work of art. It’s all about learning how to work together which can be both challenging and rewarding.
"We Collaborate: This project allowed us to come together to create one piece. We each had our own ideas that we all did, so the four of us represent the four seasons. ."
"Take Risks: This piece was an enormous challenge because I haven’t used colored pencils in forever..."
"I Create: this piece was inspired by an artist on social media. I’ve drawn one of their characters in my personal style..."
We offered two new Tables in the New Year, Candle Making and Rock Painting.
Though we looked at several different candle making techniques, the students selected to try the string dipping method. They each took a wick and dipped it into the hot wax. As soon as it dried, they dipped it again.. and repeat. After a while the wax forms a candle around the wick.
Inspiration for the rock painting Table was based on The Kindness Rocks Project. The Kindness Rocks Project is all about paiting rocks and then leaving them in places for people to find. There is even a chapter of The Kindness Rocks Project on Oak Island.
The Art of South B: displaying the art from students at South Brunswick High School, NC
Art of South B
Artwork by students at
Making Artists picks up where The Open Art Room left off, covering issues and situations choice teachers encounter as they design their program.
The Open Art Room provides a student-centered approach to art instruction that is inspirational, practical, and classroom-tested.
Click Here to read the March SchoolArts Article, Student-Directed Answers to Five Frequently Ask Questions
Click Here to Read the April SchoolArts Magazine Article Tracking Student Progress with the Burn Book!
Click Here to Read the February SchoolArts Article, Build A Dynamic Art Program with Modular Teaching!