My instruction with Art 1 progresses from small and safe to big and open. We start slow, building courage and capacity, with weeks of Bootcamps, then on to themes, where there are countless decisions to be made. This week, we're finishing work related to the theme of Optical Illusion.
Optical Illusion can seem like a narrow sort of concept at first, but I introduced the theme by asking kids to investigate it in a very broad sense by sharing worked related to linear perspective, impossible shapes, metamorphosis and linear perspective.
The work my kids made in response to this theme was interesting and diverse.
I’ve been thinking a lot about ways to support excellence in all my students and one area I’ve noticed I needed to think about was reflection. My kids pick from blog posts or class presentations to reflect on learning, and I’ve noticed that some writing is shallow and lacking analysis.
Maybe I needed to be more specific about what I wanted them to write about.
I put a vocabulary list of words related to optical illusion on the board with definitions, reviewed the terms and asked kids to practice using the vocabulary to analyze their work in group. Then I asked them to use at least three of the words in their reflections. As I rotated around the room, checking in with each student, I asked to make sure each one had identified the vocabulary they planned to use.
This was easy and made a huge impact on the quality of reflections. Sometimes it's easy for me to assume that all kids know how to do something, but my teaching is so much better when I think about ways to support those who may not.
Student reflection from the notes of their slideshow presentation: "We used repetition of triangle shapes and colors to create the illusion of a never ending three dimensional object. The illusion we created uses depth to make the one color appear in front of another when in reality they are on the same plane."
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.