Teaching Making

Experiments in Art and Education

2012-08-20 14.51.48

September 4, 2012
by Professora de Arte

A Line is an Edge

I am starting this very crazy year with one very simple element. Line. With all of the changes this year, new (unfinished) classroom, different course load, CAS coordinator position, I felt like it would be good get back to the basics. I love arts ability to foster critical things and creativity, big ideas, essential questions, that stuff is important, BUT there is essential value in time spent building skill. So the trick in teaching, as in art, is to find balance between concept and form.  How to investigate the concept of a line while building skill in the application of the element.  So we start by asking, “What is a Line?”

6th graders were prompted on the first day of class to individually come up with their own definition of a line and then to demonstrate in their sketch books as many different lines as the could. The only explanation of gave them of a line was that it was “an essential element of visual art”.   After about 20 minutes the students were grouped and asked to compare what they had come up with. Then as a group, on a large piece of paper they complied all of the kinds of lines they had come up with, naming them, and finally creating a definition of line. Invariably they all began by quoting my first description but when gently pushed each group came up with a their own unique definition. It was great to see them navigating the line between accuracy and universality.


After discussing what a lines is, visually speaking, we determined that it is, in fact, an edge. Students then took to the windows. Using white board markers they attempted to trace every edge they could see from their perspective


June 19, 2012
by Professora de Arte

Minimalism Paper Installations

This was an incredible project. I constantly am impressed by the ambition of my students.  I began the project by discussing minimalism as a reaction to modernism. The students had to create project proposals and do research on minimalist artist. They presented both on the class blog. Next year all my IB students will be working with personal blogs for proposals and reflections.

The response from the school was overwhelmingly positive and the students received great feed back. I hope to do this project again next year because I feel like its a great way to raise awareness about arts in the school.


May 5, 2012
by Professora de Arte

Bird Prints!

I decided to attempt relief printing with 4th grade. With a lot of planning I managed to cultivated a lot of creative chaos and avoid complete disaster.


April 19, 2012
by Professora de Arte

Elementary Art Show

This is my first school art show.  I teach only 4th and 5th grade so Katy was responsible for most of the artwork prep as she teaches pre-k-3rd grade.  Over all considering the space we have to work with I think it worked.  I had the janitors build zigzag display boards and I was very pleasantly surprised with how they turned out. Their height was quite helpful in breaking up the space. It makes me very optimistic for the High School Art show in a month.


March 28, 2012
by Professora de Arte

Human Animals

This lesson began with a game.  I found a list of “spirit animals” and traits associated with that animal. I create cards with only the traits listed and a number that corresponded with the numbered list of the animals. I distributed the cards to the students they each got about 6 or 7.  I instructed them to read the cards and choose 1-3 that applied to them and then they gave away the left over ones to the classmates that the cards best applied to.  They were all walking around doing this at the same time so they could not pay attention to who was giving them what trait. Then they looked at their cards again and held back 3 and passed the rest out.  Finally they chose three and one by one told me their cards numbers and I told them what the corresponding animal was.  Reading off the animals was a riot.  A great way to start this lesson

The mask making went faster than I had anticipated so to fill out the lesson I had the students create a back drop so that they could pose in their mask for a photo.  I plan to present the masks at the art show with the photos to accompany them.


March 25, 2012
by Professora de Arte

wait, so what does it mean?

After about 8 weeks of work, this piece will be put in the kiln tomorrow. Stephanie presented it at critique unfired but with the zipper and flowers in place.

There was a plethora of interpretations but Stephanie was tight lipped about her intentions.  I was pleased to see how impassioned the discussion got.



March 16, 2012
by Professora de Arte

Print Exchange Update

Things are coming along great with the all of the students prints.  Many students are being quite ambitious and taking on 4 or 5 colors. I recommended two…I don’t think that they knew what they were getting into.  As they are beginning to print they are understanding why I made such a modest suggestion.

We are on schedule to have them finished for the art show during the first week of May.

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