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!
This project was quite extensive, but one of my favorite projects I have ever taught! We spent a day having a class discussion about the work of Shepard Fairey and the way Shepard Fairey uses visual art as a way to draw attention to a particular social issue such as pollution, inequality, and greed. We also talked about the works of Banksy and Ricardo Levins Morales (Minneapolis-based activist artist). We listened to a Podcast interview of Ricardo and his work. Listen to the podcast of Ricardo Levins Morales on MPR here.
Students were first asked to brainstorm different social issues. At first, some students really struggled thinking of ideas. For the kids who struggled, I asked them what they liked. For example, a student said he liked music. I asked him if he knew of any problems in the music industry. He immediately said "Piracy", "Inequality", "Sexism" and "People need to support local music more". These are all great examples of social issues that tie into a student interest. Some examples of social issues chosen by students for this project include marriage equality, racial equality, saving and protecting animals, recycling, protecting the environment, religious equality, self esteem, perfectionism, anti-bullying, and greed.
One issue I did run into was I had one student who wanted to do a design based around legalizing marijuana. Even though I personally didn't find this offensive, I knew it would be an issue since I teach at a public school! Drugs are bad...mmmk? So I had to explain to the student that while I am all for freedom of expression, that I would appreciate it if he chose a different, more school appropriate topic. I dislike the idea of censorship in my classroom, but there's got to be a line drawn somewhere, right?
Next, students were given the challenge of illustrating that social issue. The goal was to create a design that clearly illustrated the chosen social issue. Some students did better at this than others. Each student had to show me their design plan in order to get their linoleum. Students used a 6B ebony pencil to outline their design plan, flip the plan on top of the linoleum, and burnish the design onto the linoleum. This helped students keep their words & letters backwards when carving without having to worry about writing the letters and words backwards.
Finally, students started carving their designs! View my demo video below for complete instructions.
Students were asked to create 6 different prints and choose 3 for display. After they finished preparing their prints for exhibit, they were asked to write an artist statement. Two of the guiding questions for their artist statement was "How can art change the world?" and "What is visual art's relationship to society?". Some of the responses I got were truly inspiring. Overall, I loved this project and how it engaged all of my students!
I am a 5th year high school art teacher in Rochester, MN. I have taught middle school for 2 years and high school for 3 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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