How do you know when your instruction has been successful? In my Art 1 classes, the time for reckoning is always at the first Artistic Behavior Unit. Prior to that, I'm laying the foundation by introducing media and technique in Bootcamps. Just as importantly (and maybe more so) I'm scaffolding independence by teaching kids how to use Design Process Thinking to plan and make their own work.
I wonder, after weeks of Bootcamps, are they ready to pick media and develop ideas? I start slow.
Our first unit is Artists Understand Space. We begin with a series of mini-lessons, used to examine the the element of Space - which I define as "how an artist uses or manipulates length, width and height, or our perception of them" - from multiple perspectives. We spend a day with forced perspective, playing with compressing space.
Next, we spend a day on one point perspective creating realistic space. Kids work in groups to draw the hallway, which helps them understand the process in a short time.
On day 3 we make geometric tape murals. (lesson plan here)
Next comes the part I hold my breath for. Mini lessons are done and it's time for students to investigate Space in a work of their choice. I review what we've covered in mini-lessons and show a few examples of artists that use Space in their work.
"Okay", I say, referencing my Design Process Thinking model. "There is your Inspiration. Now Design in the way that works best for your needs."
I do attendance, then look up 10 minutes later and see kids experimenting with anamorphic drawings, planning to use forced perspective in stop motion films and brainstorming where in the school might be best for an architectural drawing.
All on their own. That's when I know my instruction has been successful.
I'm an high school art teacher who's really interested in student choice and creating opportunities for self expression. I'm also a writer for The Art of Education and co-author of The Open Art Room.