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.
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.
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.
What advice do you give to your students of art? Yeah, the list varies, I know. I’ve compiled some ideas from books and sites etc., with Kit White’s “101 Things to Learn in Art School” being the most used. I was playing around with the Moleskine app on my iPad and my one page document on advice ballooned into the 36 page booklet below. It was also time for me to become more familiar with InDesign, so I decided to merge the two ideas. Only the text was done using this and I purposely kept the “art” looking crude. Have a look below and let me know what you think. Feel free to drop me a line if I have omitted a gem of an advice nugget for the art room. If interested, you can also view the booklet by individual page on Flickr here.
Following up from my previous post, I’ve also been trying to set up my units with an overarching task, which guides and pushes students to create their final product and overall guides the course of the unit. However, I and we (meaning the school), view their process work as equally as their finished end product or solution. Investigative and research work are documented and required to show their growth and knowledge. I try to apply it to the real world, but to be honest, I still need to refine and develop some. Here is a taste of a few that I have done so far:
Grade 8 Art Unit on Character Illustration Task: You work for Pixar! Pixar are about to develop an animated feature film based on Typography. You will be assigned a typeface. Pixar requires you to personify your font into a human character. You will need to think both creatively and critically. You will need to research your font, gather resources for inspiration, develop several thumbnails for your character in a variety of styles and then decide on the final one.
Grade 8 Technology unit on MashUps Task: You will create a remix or mashup of your choice. You should recombine elements from published works in a new, thoughtful way. Your mashup may focus only on the visual, video or audio only, or both. Your product should correctly follow fair use policy and not infringe or plagiarise. You should consider where you will find or gather your source material and the technical tools required to complete the task. What technical skills do you think you will need to learn? You should also evaluate the purpose and character of your use, the nature of the copyrighted work, the amount and substantiality of the portion used and the effect of the use on the market for the original. Depending on your creation, your video should be no less than 30 seconds and no longer than is appropriate for its type (if you’re making a movie trailer, they generally run 60 seconds. Music videos tend to be the length of the song.)
Grade 7 Technology unit on Minecraft Task: You are a member of an engineering team in a virtual environment! Your team wishes to create a new development for a theme park. Each team is creating a themed street or area of the theme park. Each individual is responsible for creating a structure in that street/area. Your engineering team must negotiate with the rest of the class as to how to organise and unify all the group work together. You will need to work collaboratively and cooperatively. What roles, jobs, duties and responsibilities will this require? You will also need to investigate the Minecraft environment and record findings on how it works and possibly share your research and investigations onto a wiki (time permitting). Your structure will also require investigation into function, appearance and design. You will document your work and progress weekly in your Design Folder with notes and screenshots. Good luck!
Before starting our second units in grade 7 and 8 Technology, I decided to incorporate a little bit of art and technology. We made some glitched photography, which you can see below or directly through Flickr here. I’ve blogged about this before, where there is a great PBS OffBook video and a link to a tutorial. Basically, you open your photo in text edit and start corrupting the file by deleting, inserting, copying and adding text. Give it a try. It doesn’t take long and the students enjoyed it.
This is my first year teaching Middle School Technology using the MYP Design Cycle. It is a rather thorough and demanding programme, both in terms of student work, teaching and evaluating. However, I understand and agree with the goals of the programme and how the focus is on process over product.
Recently my grade 7 class just completed their unit on digital stories. Our significant concept was, “We can communicate our stories in many different ways.” Our unit question was, “How can we use media to communicate our stories?”
I’ll save myself the trouble of summarising the unit on this post. If interested, you can view what we did weekly for about 12 weeks here. Of course, I will be making some necessary changes and improvements to the structure and delivery of the unit, as well as some refinements to the evaluation.
What I would like to do, is showcase some of the efforts these clever 12 and 13 year olds have done. These “stories” were rather flexible in their definition, with some students creating fiction, documentaries and instructional videos. They had only three weeks to actually create the product and some were very successful. To clarify this, some “unsuccessful” efforts were also successful (and probably more direct and efficient) in teaching what is needed to create a piece of work. This is an aspect of the MYP that I like. Some of the applications ranged from iMovie, to Powerpoint/Keynote to VoiceThread, Doozla, Blender, FinalCut and Adobe Flash.
The first one here impresses me. It is a hand drawn comic that was imported into Prezi in order to pan across the panels, which was then screen recorded. Next it was imported into iMovie for further editing. Did I mention this was completed in 3 weeks? I like the mixture between digital and analogue.
There are several others I can show, but this post would run on forever. If you’d like to see some student reflection/evaluation examples, check out these two here and here. Feel free to leave some of these students comments directly on the video sites.
Grade 9 students have finally completed their first unit on observational drawing. Their goal was to create and draw realistic, interesting compositions in pencil using measured proportions, values and tones. View the slideshow below or directly through Flickr here. You can also see the unit breakdown here if interested.
Popcornmaker! I’m looking forward to this. Check out the demo below.
Popcorn Maker is a creative tool that makes authoring interactive media pages as easy as point and click.
Popcorn Maker 1.0 will empower you to make cool web-based media, whether you’re a beginner or pro. With over 20 plugins—ranging from Twitter to Google Maps to video processing—you’ll be able to stitch up a stylish video that’s woven into the web. And, of course, it’s 100% free and open source.