Sunday, October 27, 2013

Ways to Motivate Your Art Students

       Most students enjoy art class, but there are some that do not share the same enthusiasm for it. That is why it is important to use different methods to motivate all of your students. Besides being passionate about the topics you teach, make sure to have fun while teaching and present themes in unique ways. Developing projects around students’ interests will help get them engaged. For example, you can have the students create an expressionistic painting influenced by their favorite song. You can allow them to bring in their iPods or cell phones (with headphones), so they may listen to the song in class as they paint. They can also play the song for the class as they present their piece. Another great idea to switch things up a bit in class is to invite a guest artist to come and speak to the students. The guest artist can present and talk about their work and perhaps show the class a new technique. Taking a trip to a museum can also be fun, if you make it exciting. You can turn the visit into a scavenger hunt. As you tour the museum have the students find certain artworks such as, a piece of art they would like to put in their bedroom, their favorite impressionism painting or a painting that shows repetition. This will make the museum trip more interesting because it will help reinforce topics they have learned about in class. Besides, there is nothing like actually viewing artwork in person. Getting the students involved in the planning of an art show can be an exciting and a rewarding experience for them. They can choose a theme for the art show and create works that represent that theme. The students can choose which of their own works they want in the show. They also can help set up by hanging and displaying the artwork. These are just a few examples of how to motivate all of your students in the art classroom .



Sunday, October 20, 2013

Technology and Pedagogy

I was browsing the web looking for an art lesson that included digital technology. I came across a lesson called Monochromatic Self-Portraits, by Judi Morgan. As I read through the lesson, I was pleased to discover that it was mostly student centered. I think it is very important as teachers that we guide our students, but give them the opportunity to make their own choices and learn by doing. This lesson allows the student to choose either themselves or another person to use for the image they will be basing their artwork on. It seemed optional for the students to either take digital pictures in class and download them to the computer, or bring in a picture to scan into the computer, so the camera and scanner both appear to be essential. This lesson also introduces the student to Photoshop basics, by giving them step-by-step instructions so they can posterize the image they have chosen. I believe the use of Photoshop was important to the lesson plan because certain elements of this software are used to alter images. This lesson requires the image to be posterized in order to break down the different values of color within the image. The students are then able to paint these different values with their color of choice. I think the use of the particular digital technologies in this lesson support the goal of the objectives listed by the teacher. The only other technology I would use would be a power point in the beginning of the lesson to introduce the students to Andy Warhol, Expressionism and the meaning of colors.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Art With a Hint of Halloween

       Since the fall is upon us, and Halloween is drawing near, a lesson with a seasonal theme can be fun for the students. Usually this is something geared more toward the elementary art classroom, but there are projects that can be appropriate for middle and high school students as well.  
       For elementary students, a great lesson inspired by Vincent van Gogh’s Starry Night, would include the use of mixed media. First, the students would observe van Gogh’s painting. The students would then draw a scene using oil pastels to mimic the brush strokes in the painting, concentrating on some of the swirls in the sky. From there they could add a tree and a cityscape. After they are content with the drawing, the students then would use watercolor paints to fill in the sky and the rest of the background. When it is completely dry, they could add a “wavy” paper ghost. This can be achieved by not gluing the ghost flat to the paper, but just placing glue at the top edge, middle and bottom edge of the ghost.  

        For middle or high school students, a lesson inspired by Edvard Munch’s The Scream, is great for this time of year. Once again, the students would first observe and discuss Munch’s painting. For this lesson, the students could use neon tempera paints to create their own expressive version of someone screaming. The students then could write a short story about their painting.
        For a multicultural lesson, a Day of the Dead project can be implemented. Students can learn about this Mexican holiday while they create a Day of the Dead skull. This can be achieved by using many different medias, such as paper mache or clay. This also can be created just as a two dimensional project using paints, pastels or colored pencils. These are just a few lessons that can be tied into this time of year. The possibilities really are endless.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Fine Art Prints

       Filling an art room with students’ artwork creates a “classroom gallery” where the students feel pride in the display of their creations. However, I think it is also important for the art classroom to have fine art prints put on view for students to see every day. Not only do these prints provide a source of inspiration, but they expose students to artworks and artists that they may not be familiar with. The use of art prints in art, or picture study, is not a new technology. It was very popular in the late 19th century, but faded out by 1920.  
       Fine art prints can be used for lessons in Art Appreciation, Art History, Art Criticism and Aesthetics. Teaching students about different eras, movements, techniques and styles of art will give them a better understanding of art. This knowledge will allow them to better appreciate art as well. Having a variety of art prints is key to introducing them to the vast artworks throughout history as well as contemporary work. It also will help them develop, improve and assess their own artwork.
      In addition, fine art prints are essential when teaching students formal analysis. Having various examples of artwork to point out the different ways artists use the visual elements (line, shape, texture, value, color, space, form) and the principles of design (unity, rhythm, balance, contrast, emphasis, movement, pattern) is beneficial for the students as well as the teachers.
     Art prints can evoke inquiry about the artist as well. Students may admire a particular work of art which, in turn, might lead them into researching the artist, wanting to know more about them and their work. Using fine art prints for an “Artist of the Month” bulletin board is a great way to celebrate various artists along with introducing them to the students. Art educators should take advantage of the many uses that fine art prints can provide throughout the art curriculum.