Sunday, October 15, 2017

Sub Plan Ideas for High School Art

I'm preparing to attend the Kansas Art Education Association fall conference later this week, and though it falls on Parent Teacher conferences for me this year, most of the time art teachers are thinking about sub plans.

Most of the time I just try to make sure my intro classes have their new "projects" going (independent exploration after a boot camp or a themed challenge) and my advanced students are almost always working on their own projects so that I can just write "the students are working on their own projects and should know what to do" and leave notes on any behavioral FYIs.

Some of the techniques I've used in the past to hold students accountable for their work in my absence are a short survey on Google Forms or a post-it note the students fill out with their name, what they worked on, and a score of 1-10 with how engaged (on-task) they were that day.

Google Form example:
Tell me specifically what you accomplished today:
How focused were you
   Super focused- I got a lot accomplished and was on task the whole time.
   Mostly focused- I got stuff done but spent some extra time talking.
   Not that focused- I made some progress but spent more time talking or off task than I should have.
   Not focused at all- I hardly got anything done and was off task most of the time.

Sometimes, you may need a sub plan that is different than what the students regularly work on. After some of my art teacher friends and I brainstormed a list of sub plan ideas for high school, I figured I would share them here!

  • Art Prof Art Dare- Each month the Art Prof (Clara Lieu and her partners) post a challenge, which is pretty interesting, and the older ones are archived as well. My students especially enjoyed the drawing challenge from February 2017 that had charts with interesting words for the artist to illustrate. I later made my own with different words to use with my middle school students.
  • PBS Art Assignment- PBS digital studios produce some great content, such as the Art Assignment. Art Assignments introduce a contemporary artist, make connections to art history, and then challenge students to apply some of the ideas. Explore their channel!  

  • Scholastic Art- Have the students read one or more of the articles and complete the worksheets in the teacher resources. Or, ask the students to make a work of art in response to the featured artist/movement or the student spotlights.
  • Inktober- Find a seasonal art challenge. In October, lots of people participate in "Inktober". I need to start! I've seen several more pop up at different times of the year.
  • Illustration Friday- Each week there is a new topic in the weekly art challenge. You can see how artists/illustrators have used different styles and mediums to complete the task. Your students can take on the challenge, too!
  • Click on a category such as character, creature, environment, object, situation, or challenge and get a random selection from a huge database. Don't like it? Keep refreshing until you get something that resonates with you. You can even submit your own ideas. Students can use their prompt as a starting point for a sketch or finished work.
  • Art 21- "Art21 is a nonprofit organization dedicated to inspiring a more creative world through the works and words of contemporary artists." Have the sub show a video and then students could write a response, do visual journaling, answer some questions, or whatever you decide!
What easy ideas do you use for secondary art subs?

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Maped Review

I was sent some Maped Color'Peps Oil Pastels and Maped Colored Pencils to test and review. They also sent Marcia over at Art is Basic some watercolor pencils and she wrote a great review, complete with a comparison to other brands. You can check it out HERE.
I'm going to share some pictures of the artwork I made with the products and what I thought of each.

First up, colored pencils!

I made a little colored pencil #drawing on the way home from a family reunion this afternoon using some colored pencils @mapedhelixus sent me to try out.

Thoughts on @mapedhelixus colored pencils: Colors are pretty bright, will allow some mixing but are harder than some brands so better for linear work. LOVE the triangular shape which means they DON'T roll off tables! The box says the cord is break resistant and I totally believe it. The shape and break resistant leads would make them a pretty good affordable option for the elementary/middle level classroom. 

I still prefer Prismacolor for the type of colored pencil work that I and my advanced students like to do, but I will look into the Mapeds the next time I need colored pencils for my younger or intro level classes.

I went back and tried using the colored pencils for a drawing with lots of cross hatching and linear elements. They worked great for this effect!
Second product, Maped Color'Peps Oil Pastels

@mapedhelixus color'peps oil pastels. The colors are bright and blend well. I like the texture of them and love the triangular shape.

Starfish drawn with @mapedhelixus oil pastels.

Oil pastels are not my favorite medium but I've helped a couple of students use oil pastels this week and I DEFINITELY prefer the Maped. The oil pastels we have at school don't like to layer or blend and the Mapeds went on really creamy. The colors are also more vibrant and that is always important to me.

The products are available on Amazon and School Specialty (probably other places, too, but those are my go-to's).

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Showing Growth- 8th Grade Observational Hand Drawings

For one of my growth measures this year I decided to focus on observational drawing with 8th graders. Observation is obviously an important skill in the art room and across the curriculum, and drawing from life is a skill that most students could improve upon.
I started by asking the students to draw one of their hands without any other instruction from me. I let them work as long as they wanted and for most that was maybe 15-20 minutes. I collected the "pre" drawings and then we moved on to some drawing exercises like continuous line drawing, blind contour drawing, and drawing with the non-dominant hand, that are supposed to help students practice slowing down, looking carefully, and translating what they see into what they draw.

Oooooh the whining! This particular group of students spends a lot of time saying "I can't do it" and "I'm not an artist". My response is always that "I'm not a mathematician but I can still do math!" It was pretty frustrating to battle that fixed mindset so at the beginning of the next class period we had a pep talk before any artwork was pulled out. About 2/3 of my class (16 boys and 3 girls total) is on the football team and that is one of the biggest priorities in their lives. I drew a lot of comparisons between art class and football practice and told them that art CAN BE LEARNED, it's not something you're just good at or not. I said that I'm not great at throwing a spiral, but if I practiced I could get better. Probably not as good as the starting quarterback, but I could improve MY skills and show growth. I reminded them that my goal for them is to approach art like they approach football- listen to the coach, take the advice, practice, and improve. After that their attitudes were significantly better!
I demonstrated drawing my hand, and shared some of my little "tricks" (that aren't really tricks) for drawing knuckles, creases, etc. and measuring proportions.  The students had a few days to draw their hand and apply what they'd learned. Since some got their contours drawn faster than others, we also reviewed graphite rendering. I was really pleased with their progress and I think the students were surprised to see the comparison from pre and post!
I really hate rubrics but since evaluators usually want quantitative data over qualitative, I scored the following categories with this scale:
"Below Standard- 1    Approaching Standard- 2    Meets Standard- 3    Exceeds Standard- 4".

Scale: The proportions are correct- the sizes of parts of the hand are correct when compared to other parts.

Observation: The hand is drawn accurately and attention was paid to details.

Craftsmanship: It is evident the student put care into the work to make it as good as it can be.

The document I will submit has an explanation of who and why, a copy of the rubric, a chart showing scores and percentage of growth, and because I'm visual, a graph and comparison photos.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Kwik Stix now at BJ's Wholesale

Hey, eastern US readers! Kwik Stix are now available at BJ's Wholesale Clubs. I don't have any near me, but they have a 24 pack of the Thin Stix (which my students and I love using for posters) for $19.99.
While I enjoy all of the Kwik Stix products, I think Thin Stix are my favorites. They are obviously thinner than the regular Kwik Stix (about glue stick diameter) so they are easier to write with if you are trying to fit information on a poster. I might get a 24 pack for my kids for Christmas since they are probably their favorite art supply and the 24 pack includes neon and metallic colors in addition to the regular colors. 

Disclosure: The Pencil Grip Company, makers of Kwik Stix, offered to send me a set of  Kwik Stix for helping spread the word!