Thursday, April 13, 2023

Spring Exhibition

 We wrapped up our Art History Unit by tying up bunch of loose ends. We glazed our Pop Art sculptures and Screen Printed Campbell Soup Cans. We put together a hallway display comparing and contrasting art movements, we watched "Midnight in Paris" and paused to talk about all of our old "friends as they made cameo appearances in the movie: Picasso, Gertrude Stein, Matisse, Talouse-Lautrec, Gaugan, Monet, Salvador DalĂ­. 

We also had our spring exhibition. I had a few students who were so disheartened at the lack of attendance at their shows, that this year we decided to create a video showcasing projects. The students narrated it, and it included field trips. Looking back, we've done so much! The video was shown at the beginning of the performance by the music department, and I think it's great that we can work together to let all of the fine arts students: music and visual have a chance to shine. As I left the auditorium, the superintendent said, "Mrs. Applebee, you didn't tell us to bring our tissues!" We love our students.

Wednesday, April 5, 2023

Differentiating Assessments for Art Class

I create simple rubrics for weekly student art projects, usually with about four components including originality and craftsmanship. But there's a huge range in what my students can physically accomplish so I like to add other assessments to balance out grades.

A Venn Diagram is a good way to determine if a student understands concepts well enough to compare and contrast, two art movements, for example.  It helps if students are given questions such as, "What is the main idea behind this movement? What kind of subject matter did those artists address? What were the aesthetics? Was there something unique about how those artists made art? What time period was this movement? Where did it take place?" A student or small group of students may have to answer questions about several movements or specific artists before they're ready to make a diagram, but it's important to be able to articulate similarities and differences for real world application.

I made timeline flash cards for students to match artists, years, and movements. The cards were made in Braille so that every student could take turns reading and matching. We created a chant to help them remember an order: Monet, Degas Cassatt! VanGogh, Cezanne, Seraut! Matisse, Picasso, Braque! They sure did paint a lot!"  We petered out by the time we discussed Dada, Surrealism, and Expressionism, but some of my students will take those first names to the grave.

Student presentations were also part of the unit. Every student picked an artist from one of the movements we studied and one that was different from their classmates. They shared facts, stories and a couple of famous works during their brief.  Although I'm always trying to incorporate literacy, we don't use technology enough in my classroom. They did a great job, even though a couple needed me to help them find and describe images because of their visual impairment.

Class participation can be graded for discussions when I start the week with a slide presentation or article to review but I generally save participation grades just for for setting up exhibits and group critiques.

Study games led up to the Unit Test so that there was plenty of chance to review the things we learned months ago. Art class is more than just a hobby craft class. I want my students to have cultured minds and understand humanity a little more than when they first entered my classroom.

Tuesday, April 4, 2023

Screen Printing Pop Art

It's hard for me to talk about screen printing without talking about Andy Warhol and hard for me to talk about Andy Warhol without talking about screen printing. For a quick project to finish up our Pop Art unit we went to the press.  I let students choose from a couple of images, pick a paper color and an ink color and print. All of my totally blind students used plastic powder on their wet ink. After shaking off the excess and applying heat the plastic melts and the image becomes tactile. 
And that's what I love about teaching Art History through hands on art projects and about teach techniques through Art history. There's a lot of media to explore and lots of processes to learn, but the structure of chronology and story telling gives the materials meaning.


Pop Art Ceramic Sculptures


Our Art Class Unit in Art Movements has taken longer than I'd thought. We created projects to align with each movement we studied: Fauvism, Post-Impressionism, Cubism, Expressionism, Precisionism, WPA Mural Art, and Pop Art.

For Pop Art we looked at the fact that Claus Oldenburg made sculptures of every day, mass produced objects. Each student hand-built an object based on something that would represent the time and place where we live, such as popular foods, shoes, or accessories. This was lesson that double dipped to cover clay techniques and art history, but most of all it was just fun!