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.
Following on from my previous post, I’m still thinking about a “remix” unit for an art class. I’m leaning more towards a still image approach, but am keeping an open mind. The video work of Christian Marclay (“Clocks” info, Telephones video) would be great, but complicated. I’m thinking more about how the combinations of items/images can create new meanings. How do we perceive appropriation? What and how can we “sample?” What and how can we transfer?
We live in such an overcrowded visual culture with advertising, the internet, social media, TV and numerous other experiences. What would be an artist’s intention to sample work? How is it easier or difficult to appropriate work? What are the physical acts involved in creation versus the digital? How are they separate and how can they overlap?
It’s a lot to consider and raises more questions, which I like. So, similar to the tech unit planned, I am leaning towards “How can existing works (images/items) be used to create something original?” as a unit question. With the concept I am thinking of including how context and the manner of appropriation is used (i.e. juxtaposition). Naturally, I still need to refine these areas.
I’ll be the first to admit that I wasn’t a big fan of visual journals before. I thought they involved too much “craft.” However, the more I read and the more examples I saw, the more I became interested. I am considering making visual journals as a new art unit of study for my grade 7s. The reason being, it may be a good way to introduce various ways of drawing and various other ways of utilising various mediums and presentation (that’s a lot of various). These activities may further assist the other units the students do on drawing and collage as well. I am considering the summative assessment to be a visual journal for their one week field studies trip that they will do in October. Anyway, as I read, I took some notes on journaling and compiled them into this attractive document to share here. I know you will be dying to read this during your summer vacation by the pool. If you have any suggestions for me, I’d love to hear from you. I’ll also let you know if I decide to go ahead with this idea.
I received the following message today if anyone is interested in film projects for students:
I’m working with the MHZ Networks to promote their annual film festival for youth ages 7 to 18 and teachers. The Shortie Awards gives participants the opportunity to be a part of a global competition and an opportunity to share their work. In addition, there is no fee to submit and all participants will receive feedback from judges. The Shortie Awards is in its 10th year. Last year, we received 450 films from 20 countries and 28 states. We would love to beat that!
For more information, please visit www.shortie.org or email firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also visit our YouTube page to see submissions from previous years. Submissions are being accepted through Without a Box and are due April 1, 2011 by 5 PM EST.
This blog has suffered of late as I am taking an online course that is eating up all my free time. I will try to post some relevant ICT stuff soon. In about a month, I will also start planning a new grade 7 unit on collage. To my surprise, I found this video via the excellent Modern Art for Kids blog, which I subscribe to. I love it when the universe aligns like this! Talk about coincidence. It’s a pretty good video and I recommend you check out the blog as well, especially if you teach elementary art.
My colleague Leanne has done a pretty good job revamping some of the Elementary Drama units at my school. Though I am no longer working in that division, I do miss it at times. Her grade 4s just finished learning about the Mie Kabuki pose (amongst other things). What I like about the unit is the nice black and white photography for the students’ pose, and then the simple masks drawn with oil pastels on top. Congrats to the class! Head over here if you wish to read about it in more detail, see a video and/or a VoiceThread.
Pitchfork recently published a great article on sound collage artists. They “explore the worlds of tape collages, blurred pop, and double-drummer comprovisation…This month’s column begins, though, with a look at the necessity of tiny experimental labels and what their disappearance might mean for the music industry at large.”
I would really love to do something with art and sound in my art classes but am not sure if time would allow it. It’s a shame as it would allow some really good integration and is a often an overlooked art form. I love strange stuff like this (below), but it is more song-oriented than some others out there. If you use sound in your art class, I’d love to hear from you.
Photographs do more than document history — they make it. At TED University, Jonathan Klein of Getty Images shows some of the most iconic, and talks about what happens when a generation sees an image so powerful it can’t look away — or back.
Benoit Philippe contacted me offering the above ebook as a resource. He describes it as:
…a collection of 17 practical exercises for artists. I have learnt some of them over the years and designed some to fulfil my own needs. I am a painter, so most of these exercises are visual ones. However, many of them do not require specific artistic skills and are suitable for anyone regardless of their age or level of artistic ability.
These exercises are varied and you probably already own most of the required materials.
You can use them as warm-up before you start a new project or as a way to explore new avenues. I also hope teachers will use these exercises in their classes as they are great fun.