Teachers Connect
Jul 16, 2014

Thoughts on Final Project

After the Summer Institute, some teachers have returned to the classroom and believed they needed to cover all elements and aspects of the Art Books, & Creativity curriculum.  A teacher who was using the curriculum for a second year wrote this:

Last year I was just “trying to get through the lessons” because I thought I had to.  My tunnel books came out much better this year because I have slowed down and focused on teaching some of the elements in each lesson more thoroughly rather than covering everything.

As you think about your proposed lesson concept what, specifically, do you want your students to learn through this lesson?  While there are many concepts that could be taught through a lesson what is one on which you will concentrate?  What challenges do you anticipate?

29 Responses to Thoughts on Final Project

  1. Melba Lucas says:

    My final project will focus on the concepts of visual thinking in relationship to art, photographs, and objects, The students wil be given reflective and creative writing assignments based on a theme related to Science and Poetry, which I hope will evolve into short dance compositions. This unit of study will be introduced during the Second Semester with my Dance 1 Students but it will be introduced to my Dance 2 Students and my Modern Dance 3 students during the First Semester.
    The Modern Dance 3 Class will go though the same creative process but I will apply for a Washington Post Grant In Education for this group of students. If this grant is awarded I would extend this unit to include the artistry of costume design that could evolve into book art which could be displayed during my Spring Dance Concert.

    • Leigha says:

      I love the idea of using science in dance. I did a PD where we acted out how molecules change in different temperatures. It was so fun!!!!!

  2. Emily says:

    My landscape book turned out to be a perfect lesson for my students so to answer the questions:

    What, specifically, do you want your students to learn through this lesson? They will learn that the scales are real and worthwhile. They will also learn that art can help them remember the scales.

    While there are many concepts that could be taught through a lesson what is one on which you will concentrate? Assuming this is about art concepts, I hope to concentrate on the concept of space (positive and negative). Their designs need to show off the specific scale, key signature, and how many sharps and flats but their design around it can be open ended.

    What challenges do you anticipate? I feel as though there will be a lot of hesitancy towards integrating the visual art. There might be a materials challenge, and there will definitely be a time challenge.

    • Leigha says:

      Are you worried about the hesitancy from the students or from the administration/teachers at your school? I feel like the students will most likely greet it with open arms. Whenever I say something about science terminology in art class, they always respond with “Hey, we learned that in science!” And then they tell me all about it!

  3. Suzanne Blair says:

    I can really relate to that feeling of trying to include everything or squeeze stuff into too short a period of time. Or the other side of that, feeling guilty if I didn’t use an idea or accomplish a goal. This week is so chock full of ideas and info and the VTS technique – we all have a lot to work with. I really feel that when something is meant to be for you it will happen. In other words that day will come when the landscape book will be the exact extension you were looking for for X. I have taught a color wheel lesson for years in the same way and I am going to totally shake it up for my final assignment. Yes, there may be some issues the first time I try it in the classroom but I think by incorporating the book and some written language stuff the lesson will be much more exciting and richer for both the students and me.

    • Leigha says:

      I can’t wait to see how you do the color wheel! I always have trouble teaching this in an interesting way, and would love some new ideas!

  4. Gina says:

    One of the things I really appreciate about the ABC curriculum is that each of the lessons is laid out in a very general fashion which allows for them to stand alone if necessary. This is the same aspect that allows them to be easily adapted to virtually any content.
    Certainly I have been feeling the crunch of rushing through the projects this week. I will remember how overwhelming it has been for me, so that I consider how much time my students might need and what compromises I might be able to offer to make the experiences enjoyable and meaningful.
    I can easily see using the landscape accordion many ways in science. From biomes, to the water cycle, to body systems, to resources, and energy, it will easily allow students to show the different key concepts for each. I absolutely would pair this with VTS to familiarize and encourage students to think about the foreground, middleground, and background, as well as shape and perspective.

  5. Yanitza says:

    Many of my students have expressed enthusiasm when working on 3D projects so it will be interesting to integrate lessons based on this week’s book projects.

    I think it would adapt well to our studies on Hispanic Heritage… In September we create paper molas from Panama, banderitas or papel picado from Mexico, abstract compositions based on Latin dance and designs for Hispanic artist posters.

  6. Jonathan says:

    I have taught the ideas of foreground, middle, and background to my students before, but never thought about in the way that in the way of the landscape book. The landscape book really got some ideas rolling for me. I now just have to find the best common core standard to bring into the art lesson. I’m kind of wondering how I can tie in the idea of perspective and geometric shapes in the landscape book. As for challenges, maybe trying to work and collaborate with teachers to find out when geometry units are being studied and time for sure may be a challenge.

    • Leigha says:

      As far as linking it to the geometry lessons in their classrooms, I have stopped worrying so much about that. I feel like even if I have touched upon it, they will cover it later or they have already covered it in the past. It is really difficult to time, but if you give them enough information, they will still be successful and remember that the vocabulary was used in another class.

  7. Carolyn says:

    Seeing the many tunnel books created today with a variety of themes and images made me excited to further explore this for my final project idea. Similar to Gina, the tunnel books are an exciting alternative to focus on space, specifically foreground, middle ground, and background within a composition. The project itself is an interesting visual balance between two- and three-dimensional fields and the final results can be so open that I think my students will be excited to create tunnel books. I’ve taught site-specific sculptures in the past and my students could explore this type of book to design the site in depth to show how people would interact and engage in their sculpture design within a specific place.

    • Leigha says:

      I love the idea a of using this to think about the space around a sculpture! It is almost as important as the sculpture itself, and the students will better understand the concept when it is more visual.

  8. darrell williams says:

    In the upcoming school year I would like my students to develop an understanding of elements and principles of design while developing an appreciation for art for art’s sake. I think it’s important for students to know that art is a language and that it speaks to us through elements and principles.
    Implementing all of what I learned in a one week session would be a challenge, but I know my students will benefit from my involvement with ABC.& VTS
    Moving forward I would like my students to be able to compare and contrast artwork, interpret artwork, appreciate art work and produce artwork in meaningful and creative ways.
    My school has a number of instructional models in place that would complement what I’ve learned in one week, for example, (Readers Writers Workshop), (Responsive Classroom Management, Tools of the Mind), and many other programs that involve literacy integration.
    However I’m looking forward to becoming an asset to the learning process of my students through visual literacy, writing, math, and other disciplines
    The upcoming school year will be challenging, being that art teachers are looked at as being just a planning. period for the classroom teacher I hope that I am able to dismiss this myth become a part of the core curriculum .

    • Susan Little says:

      Finding out what some of the initial content topics are from classroom teachers may help you focus your projects to support the classroom. Sharing the project especially these books that we have made that may begin in your classroom and be completed in theirs would tie art and content in the classroom.

  9. Susan Little says:

    My goal is to use VTS strategies with our two fifth grade classes. Narrative writing is their first writing task in quarter one. I would like them to choose a setting and develop that setting using a landscape book. There should be a different element on each part of the landscape that would be a part of their narrative stories. Developing that setting in more depth before writing a narrative may give students a better quality product.

  10. Amy says:

    I like to introduce the Artist Books as a choice of media and as a part of art history, acknowledging artists such as Carol Barton and women from the NMWA library exhibit. In addition, to enhance writing & planning skills through a flag book could accomplish both. Honesty, I have many thoughts whirling around and to settle on one in 24hrs will be my immediate challenge.

  11. Tasara says:

    Realizing how long some of these projects would take students, I can see how it could feel overwhelming to “cover” all the lessons. As we learn some of the different construction techniques, I’m thinking of current projects that exist in our school, and how this might give them new life. I can see today’s accordion pop-up book working with our 6th grade Readers & Writers Workshop, and even showing the bug book construction as an option when they write their informational book.

  12. Cathleen says:

    One of the most successful collaborative projects that I tried last year was with the 3rd grade and their state reports. What they did in art (a small watercolor of their state bird and a drawing of their state flag) was displayed on their poster board at a State Fair.

    This year, I would love to use the accordion book to expand the state illustrations. The drawings of state bird, flower, flag, map, famous person etc could be included. State facts could be interspersed on pages and make a memorable keepsake of what is a major project for our 3rd grade.

    One challenge that I would anticipate is the student who does 4 or 5 things that they like in their accordion and then comes to something that they wish that they could remove. I need to think through the proper materials (no tempera/watercolors inside) so that they can be their most successful.

  13. maureen mcdonough berard says:

    We have definitely been fed ALOT OF IDEAS! The challenge is to choose and adapt to our time and material constraints. I would like to integrate with a social studies unit on civil rights and non-violent protestors. My tie in would be artists who have been involved with these movements. Wei-Wei, Picasso, Norman Rockwell, and perhaps even Maya Lin, etc., I think the accordion book would perhaps be my best way to do this. I also loved the triangular template that Carol Barton gave us yesterday- I definitely will use this in some form to teach my foreground, middleground, background, and horizon lessons this coming year.

  14. Suzanne Blair says:

    Woke up this morning with a different idea for my final project. This class really gets the juices flowing.

  15. I am thinking about possibly morphing a unit on self portraiture I do with my students that involves a lot of written self reflection and use of symbolism (Frida Kahlo is our inspiration) into a bookmaking project using mixed media to spice up students’ interest and mine. I would love to see the written piece become more than just a caption tag below their portraits but I am anxious about the time involved to “grow” this project.
    Alternatively, I also see the 4th graders’ study of early American geography and history in a 3 tier “tunnel” book with foreground, middleground, and background depicting a region of the United States. With both units, I foresee time being the biggest impediment and engagement and richness being the biggest gain.

  16. Leigha says:

    I think the idea of using the self portrait book would be a great way to start out my year next year. I would like the students to focus on symbolism and self reflection. Even though I have worked with most of the students for four or more years, I feel like I still don’t know them because I only see them once a week if I am lucky. My fifth grade visual art students would benefit from this project because they would be introducing themselves to the art room procedures and using materials at the very beginning of the year, while they are introducing themselves to me and the class.

    I also would like to use the abstraction lesson as a component of sketchbook creation. Last year we just painted the cover one color, but I feel that I could use that time more effectively as a review of art concepts at the very beginning of the year.

    Right now, I feel like I could use the lessons almost exactly as they are, but I would like to incorporate more writing. I guess I need to think about it some more before making my final decision.

  17. Mary Ellen Fink says:

    I am still in the decision making mode on which standard to focus on for the final project. I see the bug journal or an accordion book as preliminaries, or the practice element before this project. Our building will be in the last year of fulfilling strategic plan goals for critical thinking and problem solving, and all of these book making ideas lend themselves to furthering this end. I am leaning toward using my project to extend a math or science standards or the info students include be the assessment for a topic or unit. I am guessing they won’t forget what they have learnd if organized or demonstrate in this manner.

  18. Catherine Falknor says:

    I will start with the pop-up books for vocabulary. My students love having illustrations to go with their new words, but I know that when they’ve created a fun, interactive, and colorful “package” for their words, they will not forget their words. I think I want to begin with past-tense verbs and questions, a hump they have trouble getting over, since they get away with voice inflections and gesturing in conversation. I’d like them to experiment and suggest the many ways words (and colorful illustrations) can be used for vocabulary.

  19. Julia says:

    All the book projects are applicable to French class, but I would especially like to use the pocket book, flag book and the landscape book for a hands-on way for learning vocabulary, verbs and culture in French class. The Flag book could be literally used to make flags of French-speaking countries, the pocket book for inventing cards with matching questions and answers, and the landscape book for imagining street scenes of Parisian monuments, or do on-the-scene studies of other Francophone countries (Sénégal or Québec).

    I can’t think of many personal challenges with projects like these since there is budget, time and meaning for these crafts in the French classroom. I think it will be fun! Girls love
    doing things like this. Perhaps the challenge will be the lesson time taken to do this, but time is always something we never have enough of whether we do art or not!

  20. Eileen says:

    I would like to use the flag book to use for quadrilaterals. Each flag would represent an different quadrilateral The drawing of the polygons would be on the front of the flags, and behind the flags would be the characteristics of each quadrilateral. This would be after they have had the lesson on kinds of lines and angles. I want the children to discover how they create a book to show what they know and how they can use as a resource. They can be creative and have fun.

    Hopefully, this will inspire them to use this technique for other concepts and lessons.

  21. maureen mcdonough berard says:

    yes, I know the class is over, but just wanted to say what a wonderful session it was. The energy and ideas were flying right up til the last minute! I think the enthusiasm of all of the presenters rubbed off on the participants and spurred us on. I feel refreshed as a teacher going into the summer vacation and when has that ever happened before? I hope we can keep the blog going during the year and renew our creative juices. THANKS everyone.

    • Deborah Gaston says:

      Thanks Maureen! So glad it renewed you. And we are going to work very hard to keep the blog going this year–so keep an eye out and definitely post comments and ideas. We want to keep the energy going too!

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