Now that I have some breathing space, I just wanted to share some thoughts on my grade 8 Tech unit on mashups. Students had to create a mashup of existing content following fair use policy and changing the intent of the original. They could decide to use video, audio, still image or a combination. Overall the students worked well with several attempting to be the next powerful DJ.
They encountered some stumbling blocks when trying to mix songs with different bpms. Several students searched for stems of song instead, or looked for instrumentals and a capellas. Software used for this was GarageBand or Audacity. Those using film, simply used iMovie and those with images, used Photoshop.
If you are thinking about developing this type of unit, one thing to keep in mind is that you need to require the students to provide evidence of the source material used, as well as screenshots of the files in their relevant programs. This is simply to provide evidence that they actually created the product themselves. Alan Levine’s ds106 site is awesome with some great project ideas too.
Congratulations to all grade 8 students on their graduation from Middle School here at YIS. Here is a visual arts video that showcases their work in grade 8, which was also shown at their ceremony last night. Best of luck in HS students!
Grade 9 students have begun their graphic design unit and were asked to create a composition using only the letters of their name. They selected whether to use Photoshop or Illustrator. The purpose of the task was for them to become familiar with fonts, layout as well as some of the text editing tools. The task was done without any instruction on the teacher’s part, except for the information below.
Task: What Type Are You? (60mins)
Using Photoshop or Illustrator, create a document/composition using only the letters of your name.
-You should experiment with various fonts.
-You should experiment with size.
-You should experiment with rotation, overlapping and/or mirroring.
-You should experiment with kerning etc.
-You should limit your colour palette, but may use colour in any way you see fit.
-You should consider layout, spacing and/or white space.
-Your composition should have an attractive balance.
-You may use repetition.
-You may play with orientation.
-You may play with opacity.
View the images below or directly through Flickr here. During the next class, we will critique the work.
Our IB Art show just wrapped up over the weekend. It was a smaller affair this year involving only four students and another student that joined half-way through. Congrats to my colleague Richard as well as the students on all their hard work! View some pics below or directly through Flickr here.
Following on from my previous post, my colleagues and I are chugging along the Making Thinking Visible course. We are now entering “Artful Thinking.” It is described as:
The Artful Thinking program takes the image of an artist’s palette as its central metaphor. The artful thinking palette is comprised of 6 thinking dispositions – 6 basic colors, or forms, of intellectual behavior – that have dual power: They are powerful ways of exploring works of art, and powerful ways of exploring subjects across the school curriculum. The Artful Thinking palette comes alive through the use of “thinking routines.” Each thinking disposition has several thinking routines connected to it. Thinking routines are short, easy-to-learn mini-strategies that extend and deepen students’ thinking and become part of the fabric of everyday classroom life. They are used flexibly and repeatedly — with art, and with a wide variety of topics in the curriculum, particularly in language arts and social studies.
I’ve redesigned the booklet and if you are a classroom teacher, you may find the resource of use to use visual art in your curriculum. You can download the pdf via Issuu here, or via Google Docs.
Currently, myself and some colleagues are undertaking the Making Thinking Visible online course offered through the Harvard Graduate School of Education.
Adaptable to any subject area, Visible Thinking allows getting started almost at once with ‘thinking routines’ that help students ponder ideas from the subject areas.
I’ve compiled these “routines” into the booklet below for myself as a quick reference. The routines are simple and quick. Have a look if interested. You can download through Issuu here, or via Google Docs here.
The Idea Channel makes a great and entertaining point about game-based learning and more specifically, Minecraft. Currently, my grade 7 Technology classes are using this as a vehicle to learn “How we solve problems depends on the conditions of the environment and group dynamics” with the guiding question of “What does cooperation and collaboration look like?” Watch the video. And yeah, I have still yet to play the game!
My grade 10 art class are working on a major unit on generating ideas and creativity. To make a long story short, they have to visually represent a theme. They are still currently in the research and planning phase. I know their ideas may be adequate, but more often than not, they will require more breadth and depth. As a teacher, how can I push them to try new things? How can I get them to think outside the box?
If you can get your hands on Nicholas Roukes’ book “Design Synectics: Stimulating Creativity in Design,” I highly recommend it (Davis Publications, Amazon). He offers some enlightening challenges and ways to think. It’s pretty much a staple in the art room. His “Art Synectics” book is good as well.
Within the first few pages of Design Synectics, he gets right in to offer ways to challenge your thinking about your subject. I’ve compiled them below into a document for my students to consider and apply. Feel free to use it if it makes sense to you as well! You can also view the pages via Flickr here.
I’ve just finished reading a little book with some big ideas. Phil Beadle’s Dancing About Architecture: A Little Book on Creativity states we must break the rules. Following them leads to mediocrity and being “average.” We do not become brilliant by doing what everyone else does. What I like about the book, is that he stresses teachers should be using the Arts (visual, music, poetry, dance) as ‘pedagogy to create “process-led” collisions to produce new learning experiences for students.’ He’s a big apostle of juxtaposition and focuses on process and letting the outcome float around. What I like is he tells other subject teachers to add the Arts to their curriculum to enhance understanding and involvement. Here are some activities I found particularly of interest:
Drama-Thoughts Aloud into a Sound Collage or Monologue:
Rearrange your class so students have some personal space
Choose a topic of study. Ask students to “Think about (topic)” for 2 minutes with little distraction.
Call students and ask them to offer ‘thoughts aloud’ for the rest of the class. Can also ask them to boil it down to 1 word. From here we can perform a sound collage of words that build up to create an aural slab or mass.
Classes can perform this in a number of ways:
give a stimulus or upsetting situation – students put themselves into the role of the character imagining their plight – think for 2 minutes in that role, then boil down the emotion into 1 word. Teacher can ask for the word on a 3 count where the whole class calls out
another option: kids say their word 3 times the moment the teacher passess them
extension: experiment with volume, put words together into one sentence, then 2, then into a full monologue
[There are a handful of good, similar activities that also teach empathy.]
Visual Art as Stimulus: Use art as stimulus for a written guided visualisation exercise. This can be done to examine relationships through drama & as a basis of study on how body language gives us away. Look at famous works of art and their poses. Teachers can use this as stimulus for writing an imaginative script which had an exploratory look at dialogue.
Visual Art as Recording Method: You can record sophisticated symbolic thought through cartoons. Why do students always have to write an essay? Why not create a political cartoon? Wouldn’t the study of comic art & convention both engage & teach?
Speaking in a Number: Write a poem using the fibonacci sequence. Use the sequence as fittings for syllables. Think haiku meets math.
My notes probably make no sense to you. Go read the book instead.