getting to know my students through visual problem solving!
Teacher Example, Watercolor
Every year I begin my classes with some sort of “getting to know” you art project. This is one that I have taught in the past but haven’t done in a few years. I was excited to bring it back into action this year and was thrilled with the results. My students always amaze me with their creative ideas and visual problem solving! Above is my teacher example, which I had a blast working on this summer.
This project is simple: Step One: trace your silhouette (we used the light from the smart board and a buddy system) and then Step Two: fill your silhouette with symbols and/or an environment that represents you. After briefly introducing the concept of SYMBOLISM, through my all time favorite- Ms. Frida Kahlo, I posed these simple questions to my students:
- What makes you you?
- What do you love, fear, idolize, etc..?
Student Work, Grade 10, pencil and colored pencil
Student Work, Grade 12, pen and ink with colored pencil
Student Work, Grade 10, Tempera Paint
Student Work, Grade 12, Watercolor
Student Work, Grade 12, watercolor and sharpie
Student Work, Grade 10, tempera, sharpie and acrylic
Aren’t they smashing!?
As you can see above, I let my students choose their media based on their concepts, interests and abilities. My example was in watercolor, so many students chose to follow suit. I was happy to have some good cold press paper hanging around and waiting to be put into some good use.
As always, we finished the unit with a full class critique. It was wonderful to hear students explain what they chose to include in their silhouettes and get to know them better through their artistic pursuits!
The most pleasant discovery of this project was how helpful student smart phones could be. While reminding students daily (hourly… by the minute…) not to text in class is most likely my least favorite part of my job… being able to put those phones to good use for looking up reference photos made for an exceptional tool. A very different experience from that of printing out every reference photo at the beginning of my career- only 8 years ago!