Reductive Printmaking

I’m teaching reductive printmaking with my grade 7s. This gets them really confused. I am still yet to find the clearest way to get their heads around it. To begin, we created simple reductive prints using small pieces of styrofoam.

This helped a bit, but once they start planning a 3-4 colour print, constant repetition and reinforcement is needed. They usually get their “a-ha” moment once they start their second pass. To assist, I created this and this video below. Next year, I’ll get them to watch it at home first and then review it in class again, which hopefully will save some time and make it a bit more clear. Hope it can be of use to you too.

Staged Reality

I’m pretty proud of these grade 8 students. For their first unit project on documentary photography, students were to photograph a basic “event” attempting to utilise some of the photographic techniques discussed in class. This was to be something rather dull, such as reading a book etc. They were encouraged to experiment with various angles, proximities and framing. Their goal was to capture the essence of the “event.” I really stressed to the students to take more pictures than they need and to MOVE AROUND their subject. These particular students captured some very interesting shots that went beyond the requirements! If the images below are to small to view, head over to the Flickr page here. Awesome work guys!

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Expressionism with Grade 7

I am working on expressive painting with my grade 7s, and naturally, we looked into German/Austrian Expressionism and Fauvism. We are creating simple portraits to build on from our previous unit and the students were introduced to scumbling.

For their painting, they will be evaluated on composition, brushwork and their use of colour. My goal is to loosen the students up when it comes to painting and to seriously consider how they utilise colour and if applicable, blending. To assist them, they first toned their papers to provide a middle tone to show through their work.

I was going to be absent for a class and created the following painting (time-lapse) in 30 minutes to demonstrate how being organised with a colour palette can speed up the process and for students not too worry so much about details. The students have two 70 minute classes to paint theirs. After this, we’ll move onto printmaking!

Gr8 Documentary Photography Planning

Following on from my previous post, I think I have finished planning my grade 8 unit on documentary photography. I have decided to let the kids brainstorm, plan & decide what they would like to document. My only worry is that it will have to be done during their time outside of school, while we develop skills and critique in the classroom. *Fingers crossed.* I have set the summative task like this (click on the picture to enlarge it):

Documentary Photography summative task

I am hoping the students realise that anything can be documented photographically. I am also assuming that most may choose an aspect of family life or locale, which is OK. To assist them, I’ve come up with the following planning sheet below. I intend to use this as part of their assessment as well. (If you wish, you may also view/download the doc via Google here.) Apologies also for the size of the Issuu embed, but it is not allowing me to change the size : (

My next step is to now write the rubric. If you have any feedback, constructive criticisms or advice to add, please do feel free to drop me a line in the comments.

Documentary Photography Resource

I’m currently writing a grade 8 unit on documentary photography. I’ve never taught it before, but am excited to do so. I still have a long way to go, but in the meantime I created this doc as a resource. If you have any feedback to offer, I’d greatly appreciate it. If any changes need/are to be made, I’ll update this post and probably share it via Google Docs as well. It’s a little hard to navigate landscape docs with Issuu at times.

Feb. 6, 2014 Update: You can now download the doc via Google here.

Gr7 Speak Up Ads

Just Be yoUnique

My 5 grade 7 classes have wrapped up their portrait photography unit. It was my first time teaching photography and I really enjoyed it. The students themselves were constantly engaged and motivated as well. Overall, a huge success. For their main summative task, they were assigned the following:

You are a designer. You wish to raise awareness to some of the plights of being a Middle School student. You will do this through portrait photography and text. You will select to promote an issue for Middle School students.

  • This can be items such as self esteem, exclusion, popularity, beauty, peer pressure etc.
  • You may also wish to promote a positive aspect or achievement.
  • You will need to include a bold statement or slogan to enhance your work.
  • The image you produce should promote the principal objectives or symbolism related to your issue.
  • This can be done in several ways. You are invited to explore as many as possible.
  • You should consider, framing, light/shadows, background, pose and emotion.
  • When taking photographs, consider leaving space where your text can be placed.
  • If you wish to erase the background within Photoshop (like you did in project 4), you may do so.
  • How will you most effectively capture attention and generate thought about the issue?
  • How will the choice of font/text & placement contribute to the impact of your work?
  • You may alter the contrast of the photograph in Photoshop and/or put an effect.
  • You will create an additional layer for text. (**Tutorial provided)
  • You should create some type of brainstorm/planning in your sketchbooks. This will also be submitted for assessment.
  • Create a contact sheet for all your photos. Annotate them. This will form part of your assessment.
  • [Your contact sheet should demonstrate variety and experiments/attempts with different angles, backgrounds etc.]
  • Save your project as “Your Full Name-Your Tutor GroupProject5-2013″
  • Backup your work in Google Drive.

To improve, next year I think I will explain exposure more as well as utilise studio lighting more effectively. I may also consider doing something more like this. Feel free to view student work on the full Flickr set here. 

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Grade 8 Chiang Mai Looking Logs

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Before the winter break, our grade 8s went to Chiang Mai as part of their service and outdoor education experience. For Art, their job was to create an 8 page “Looking Log” book on their travels. Our focus for the unit examined:

  • How can I develop sensitivity to other cultures through art?
  • How is my own culture similar and different to other cultures?
  • What do I know about the Thai culture in advance of my visit?
  • What have I learnt about Thai culture after my visit?

The unit involved experimental drawing, drawing in perspective and a smorgasbord of other ideas. We discussed and experimented on:

  • how using media can be part of expressing an idea
  • the importance of mark making and drawing
  • how drawing is a record of how we see
  • how line alone defines pattern, shape and/or image

Students were encouraged to experiment, have variety, include text/annotations and include sustained drawings. To develop their ideas, they were shown the following slideshare below.

You can see some of their highlight pages directly on the Flickr page here, or see the full large set here (note: the books have been opened to photograph).

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Ceramic Slab Plate Tutorial

My grade 6s are busy creating slab plates. First of all, they selected a Global Concern activity from school to promote as one of our guiding questions was “How can we create art that will raise awareness?” Students were required to brainstorm, create thumbnails and then develop and refine three of their thumbnail ideas. Throughout this process, we investigated “Where do good ideas come from?” & “How can we communicate our ideas effectively?” Time permitting, I’ll try to make an update, that also includes this developmental work.

We then pitched these designs in small groups where they received constructive criticism from their peers. Students then submitted their final design to begin clay work. I created this tutorial video for the students to watch before the lesson. It’s a little long-winded at 12 minutes but covers all the required elements for the forming elements of the plate. It’s not fully flipping the classroom, but is a bit of a time saver, especially when you have to teach the same thing a few times a week. If interested in a bit more detail on the process of the unit, click here. However, the end of the unit needs further refining, as well as some exit strategies for each lesson.