I started my graphic design 1 students on Adobe Photoshop CS6 standard version first. Eventually we started to move into Adobe Illustrator and this is a fun lesson to teach students the basics of Illustrator. Since Photoshop and Illustrator are very different programs, I informed my students ahead of time that this would be a another learning curve-- that some students might catch on quickly, while others might need more practice.
Last year, I won a $4000 grant to purchase tech for our graphic design program from the Centurylink Grant award program. I purchased 36 small Wacom drawing tablets for students to use and I instructed my graphic design 2 students to use them for this illustrator sefie project.
First, students took a selfie using their phone or one of my classroom cameras. I instructed students that their face had to be showing, but the artistic style, color, line quality, was up to them. I also told students they could change their selfie to an "alter-ego" which made for some very interesting changes to their actual look.
This tutorial below by RiceGum on Youtube is both entertaining and informative & we watched the video as a class and then I posted it to the graphic design 2 google classroom for students to reference.
When I first taught this lesson, I was worried that it would be too "tracey" and boring for my more advanced students, but it ended up being really okay! Since I allowed students much creative freedom, they were able to really have fun with it. I even had a girl turn herself into a werewolf! After everyone was finished, I created a simple google slides slideshow of each student's selfie to share with the class and I plan on sharing them with future graphic design classes. It was fun having the students guess who each person was! Check out additional examples of graphic design 2 students illustrator selfies below:
Art 2 students created reduction prints using a 6"x6" block of safety cut linoleum. Students had to create an original drawing and plan for 3 colors + the color of the paper (most often white). Feel free to use my basic instructions with examples below! Reduction prints always seem far more complicated in theory than when you actually make it. One of the best ways to help students understand this is to have them practice on a very small piece of linoleum. Something simple like a flower is a good subject matter. See the process below.
Make learning about art history more fun and engaging by having an art history of the week! Geared towards secondary level students such as high school and middle school, this download includes everything you need to teach a semester (or 18 weeks) worth of art history movements & styles. Each art history movement takes approximately 10-20 minutes to teach, depending on which video links you decide to use. Integrate art history mini lessons quickly and effectively without boring your students!
Use the Burrito book template so each student can make their own art history "sketchbook" and all you need are scissors! Not sure how to make a burrito book? The template comes with pre-marked dashed lines for cutting and instructions with images in the powerpoint slideshow. Each page of the burrito book is dedicated to a different art movement. Students must write down the time period, art movement name, a definition in their own words, how the elements/principles are used in the example artwork, 3 characteristics of that art movement, and 2 things they learned from the video. The image examples are glued to create interactive flaps that make studying the art movements even more fun. This entire product took over 30 hours of work to complete, so save yourself some time & use this one!
These cubes were made by my high school Art 1 students. Students signed up for a visual artist to research & create their own famous artist cube. I had students trace a cube template I made onto poster board and then encouraged them to "think outside the box" (Pun definitely intended). The results were pretty amazing! Each student then presented their creation to the class and we talked about our researched artists.
This semester, I got an idea from a fellow art teacher that I just love! The idea is that you take old hardcover books and upcycle them into sketchbooks! I had the library donate about 75 books to my classroom that had worn covers or torn pages. I asked each student to select a book and "upcycle" it in a way that they liked! I let my high school students use paint, oil pastels, markers, colored pencils-- pretty much any media of their choice. I got out my paper scrap and scrapbook paper buckets and let them go crazy...it has been so much fun!
The nice part about this project is that it is ongoing, allows students a range of creativity and choice in their creations, and eventually each student will have a full and interesting visual journal to keep. Many of my students are taking this project very seriously. I plan on taking photos of each student's visual journal at the end of the semester and I will post photos soon!
I created a set of prompts for each of my class. They have the entire semester to complete the prompts. I included the list of prompts below for your use.
Art & Design Visual Journal Prompts
Draw/Paint II Visual Journal Prompts
Since 3rd quarter is just about done, I decided to try something new with my art students. I just finished having what I call "Mini conferences" with my high school students, and I had to write a blog post to report my findings! Basically, I spent two days meeting with each of my high school students one on one during class. Half the class was on the first day, half the class was on the second day. I focused on talking about the following with each student:
1. Get Feedback from Your Students
This was something I was not expecting, but was beyond value to me! While talking with each student privately, they provided me with a ton of feedback to improve my teaching and curriculum. When I asked students how they felt about the class, most students said "Good". When I asked them about the pace of the class, I had several students say they felt that it was going too fast. Many students said they'd like to spend more time on their paintings. If I had never asked them this, I would have kept trucking along! I also asked students how they felt about the projects. Many students shared their own ideas for projects they would like to try. They gave me so many ideas, I just wish I had them for the entire year so we could do them all!
2. Identify Strengths and Weaknesses
While discussing grades, I also talked with students about their strengths and weaknesses. Even if a student has 100% in my class, I know they are not perfect. For example, I have a student who has exceptional skill and a high level of perfectionism. Her artwork is college-level work, but her artist statement writing is below average. When discussing this with her, I discovered that she has always struggled with writing and just doesn't know where to start when writing an artist statement. She said she really struggled with getting her thoughts onto paper. We talked about this for a bit, so I offered a piece of differentiated instruction: I would walk her through the questions for the artist statement verbally, then she would orally respond with her answers and I would take notes for her on her responses. Next, I had her re-write my notes as a 2-paragraph artist statement. This seemed to really help her through the process and she still demonstrated her learning (which is the goal, right?) Identifying strengths and weaknesses with students helps them understand where they need to improve and grow, but it also helps me understand where I need to start with a lesson. It helps me differentiate depending on student skill level and readiness.
3. Help them Stay on Track
I don't know about you, but I have a few students who would rather sit on their phones all day looking at themselves than work on their projects. For these students, I found the mini conferences to be extremely valuable. First, I showed them what work they were missing. One girl literally had no idea she was missing 3 assignments. Turns out, she forgot to turn 2 of them in. She immediately went to her drawer, got the 2 assignments out and turned them in. I didn't take points away. She had done the assignments and demonstrated her learning. Next, we talked about participation. I showed students the total number of points they had received and why they lost points (on their phones, not working during class, etc.). I think this was a real eye opener for some students. While the points don't negatively affect their grade, I keep track during class as a way to collect data. If a student is not doing what they are supposed to do, I take a point away, and attempt to redirect them. While I love my cell phone, I explained to students that when they're just on their phones the entire time, they are not able to focus and also miss important things like announcements, lessons, and the real world around them. I ended the conference by telling them that I care about their success in my class, whether they like art or not, and that my job was to help them succeed. I can't tell you how many of my struggling art students went right to work afterwards!
I am a 6th year high school art teacher in Rochester, MN. I have taught middle school for 2 years and high school for 4 years. I truly enjoy working with students on a daily basis. I also enjoy teaching real-world skills such as problem solving, using technology, and the power of teamwork and collaboration. My joy is sharing my passion for art with others!
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