It's been a good week.
We're entering the last few week of my beginning art classes and I introduced our last unit of the course; self directed learning.
Students could pick from the following two options to work from:
A. Set a goal and work to achieve it.
B. Create a series of work in your personal style.
We started by talking about both options, then I asked students to choose and start planning using forms I created. The majority of students picked goal setting, though a handful of independent learners in each class gleefully jumped in to work on a series (or had been anyway).
The forms seemed to be very helpful to students, but they were even more helpful to me as I talked to each student about their plan. Question 3, where I asked students to think about what they needed to learn or do to accomplish their goal was key - it helped me see where kids needed support, because not everyone was able to identify effective ways to accomplish their goals.
The framework I use to support students looks like this.
I noticed that many of the students who chose to work on a goal instead of a series were in the "developing" or "not yet present" categories for Finds and Develops Ideas and Skills Supports Vision, at least with the skill they selected to focus on. This task worked well for them because the way the assignment was framed helped them find an idea and identify specific ways to develop the skills related to things they wanted to work on. It also helped me easily identify where support was needed and how to provide it. I did demos, connected kids with resources and even sat with a few as they filled out the forms, helping with each question. Many students, however, needed nothing from me but an occasional check in.
Here's what this looked like in my class yesterday.
The student on the right is working on a series of stylized landscapes. The student on the left picked painting as a goal. He experimented with paint for a few days and didn't seem to have mush direction or want me to show him much. However, when I suggested taking inspiration from some of the artists I remembered he'd loved in art history class he found inspiration and came to class excited about ideas for the first time all year!
Check out the unit plan and resources for this unit here.
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.