During the last week my darling artlings have been hard at work applying what they've learned in our current unit " Artists Solve Problems." We started the unit with the newspaper challenge, where I gave them the problem of making art out of a very unfamiliar material. They did all the thinking and planning for the work over the course of three class periods. Then we had a TASK party. To keep challenging them the next short project involved them foraging for materials in the context of earth art and found object art.
For the unit's summative assessment I had the kids select their own problem, in the form of a physical limitation or supply restriction, and use it as the jumping off point for artwork. It's been incredibly freeing for them to have play and experimentation be required. In fact, for the last few days I overhear multiple conversations where students talk about wishing they could spend the day in art - and they aren't students who I'd classify as "art kids". A great by-product of a project where no one knows how to use the materials starting out is that they all feel like art kids - right at home and successful.
The most interesting thing about the production component of this project for me has been the sort of organic loosening of style and the inclination to work abstractly - not forced like projects in the past where I've required abstract work. Check out some in progress pics below. :)
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.