I start Art 1 with Bootcamps because they do two vital things very well:
Bootcamps are my version of opening centers. Once the weeks of Bootcamps are over, students know how to use, as well as have access to, a broad range of media. The trick, for me, is to keep the Bootcamps short in order to provide the challenge of choice and the deep learning that comes with it for the maximum amount of time. In my experience, students bring a range of capabilities for independence to my class. Some are ready to generate their own ideas from day 1, while others are unsure and need to learn the steps of ATP to feel confident with self directed work. To support the needs of both extremes, as well as all those who fall between, I make sure to plan Bootcamps to include both open ended options for work, as well as more concrete options.
My drawing Bootcamp this year took 5 days. I told students at the beginning to few the first two days as a time to collect ideas, as they would be expected to apply new learning to plan and create an original drawing in the media of their choice. I frame the exploration stage of the Bootcamp as research, which helps kids shift their mindset from expecting answers to knowing they will be in charge of important decisions.
Day 1: value in graphite and charcoal, with a short whole class demo of shading a sphere with graphite, followed by the group challenge pictured above in charcoal.
Day 2: Draw Around the Room, inspired Diane Jaquith and Cynthia Gaub, with centers set up that students rotate through for chalk, oil pastel, colored pencil and pen.
Day 3: Development starts for the summative drawing students will create in a drawing media they'd like to explore further. Students complete two Development activities from the Artistic Thinking Process.
Days 4 and 5: work time with a gallery walk at the end of the last day.
This year's drawing Bootcamp went well, in large part because I was very consistent in referencing the ATP for every stage. I see the shift I'm looking for happening already; students are starting to view the tasks I assign as a way to collect information, not steps to complete for a grade. They are starting to consider their personal goals and needs instead on focusing on what they need to do to earn an A.
I'm interested in creating a student student centered space for my high school students through choice and abundant opportunity for self expression. I'm also a writer for SchoolArts co-author of The Open Art Room.