Tuesday, February 19, 2019

ATL's in the PYP

ATL's are the skills and attitudes that permeate everything we do both in a PYP classroom and in our daily lives.  

When noticing and naming the ATL skills, I find that it's helpful to have specific examples so that students can easily make the connection between their behavior and the ATL.  This is helpful for a reflection at the end of class or for goal setting.  Full size posters are available here.

Sunday, February 17, 2019

Self portraits as a barometer of student agency

It all started in 2014 with aesthetically pleasing and very much teacher directed Pop Art style portraits.  They were poster sized and when hung together they were stunning.  I even blogged about them. But after the big art exhibition was over, I was distressed to find many of them were left behind by the students.  After lots of reflection, the message was clear: this my art project, not theirs.  I had chosen the Pop Art style, the size, the media.  All the students needed to do was show up and follow instructions step by step. There was no emotional investment on their part, no trial and error and no ownership.  How much of the art was theirs and what did they really learn?

Fast forward to 2019-- and I feel like I am finally getting the hang of a choice based approach.  My favorite question to ask the students about their completed work is, "What inspired you?" If the artwork truly is theirs, they should light up as they explain the iterations that their piece took and where their ideas came from.  Since I have taught these children for the last 3 years, they have never had to create art to conform to someone else's aesthetic and their portraits are a testament to the confidence that a few years of a student centered approach can bring.

Central Idea: Self portraits communicate who we are or who we want to be

What materials did this year's 5th graders use?  Lots of mixed media, a fair bit of embroidery, various iPad apps, watercolor and colored pencil work.  These talented artists worked on these for 90 minute blocks for about 10 weeks from start to finish. So proud of what they were able to accomplish.

And now for the 2019 portraits...

Maya, Mixed Media

Rumaysah, Mixed Media

Emily, Watercolor pencil

Pranav, Adobe Draw

Konstantin, Colored Pencil

Tallon, emboirdery

Jishnu, Art Set Pro

Jana, Liquid watercolor

Youmna, Tempera paint

Hala, Mixed Media

Rouna, Adobe Draw

Haroon,  Adobe Draw, ArtSetPro, Baazart

Moire, Mixed Media

Celine, Adobe Draw

Monday, November 12, 2018

Artists Observe and Tantamounter

The Grade 3's are knee deep into a stand alone unit that digs into observation, interpretation and creativity

I saw a few blog posts about a project called Tantamounter and I thought it might be fun to try.  Tantamounter was a project that started in 2005, a group of artists in New York would take an object from the public and re-create in an artistic way that was "tantamount" to the original. Check it out here.

Here were the constraints:

-they had three 45 minute blocks to complete them

-the object they copied had to be physically in the room (we talked a lot about form, they needed to be able to hold the object and look at it from all perspectives.) I had a box of random items for them to choose from.

-they could use any center they wanted except painting (no time for paint to dry). Open centers were Fibers, 3D, Drawing, Collage, and Polymer Clay.

They were so excited to put their laptop in a real box :)

Lots of attention to detail here
An incredible amount of detail on this felt/cardboard pencil box

Everyone needs a ukelele pillow in their life!

This nail polish can open and it has a brush inside, just like the real thing

The two artists that worked on this redid the top part three times and finally got it right, talk about Engage and Persist!

This team figured out how to make the clock hands move

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Pattern: A TAB/PYP Unit of Inquiry

What effect does creative expression have on well being?  What connection might patterns in our daily lives have on well being?  What might the connection be between well being, religious art and pattern?

Grade Level: 4
Conceptual Lens: Pattern
Related Concept: Repetition
Key Concept: Function
Level of Integration with Homeroom UOI: 2
ATL: Application
Creating and Presenting Outcome: Use a variety of materials, tools and techniques for different purposes in response to design challenge
Exploring forms and cultural contexts outcome: Interpret a variety of visual art forms they see at home, at school, in their community, and in visual arts experiences
Reflecting, Responding, Analyzing Outcome: Identify and document art related strengths and interests while creating a plan for areas of improvement and soliciting peer and teacher feedback.
Open Centers: Drawing and Painting
Cultural/Art History connections: Sand Mandalas, Op Art, Islamic Art

Some examples of student work:

Zentangle patterns on the tree and moon (full disclosure, this one is my daughter's and I love it)

A zentangle cat in a one point perspective room with zentangle curtains :)

A carefully chosen glittery border embellishment on this radial design

A bird with funky patterned wings

This artist learned how to add texture with seed beads 

This artist also focused on the negative space in her 7 circle design

Completed works and reflections on display

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

PYP Learner Profile in Art

For my professional inquiry goal this year, I want to find any gaps in my TAB/PYP practice and figure out how to address them, with a push on promoting even more learner agency than before.  My Pedagogical Coordinator thought it might be smart to start out by creating a profile of traits that a PYP/TAB learner should have so I had a metric to gauge which students still needed more scaffolding. I started making a list, and all roads took me back to the Learner Profile.  If you look closely there are many links to both the Studio Habits of Mind and the ATL's. So, 

It became clear that is was time to update my old Learner Profile posters with clear and succinct statements about what each profile trait might look like in a TAB/PYP art room where the students are in the driver's seat of their own learning.

It also was a good opportunity to include photos of diverse contemporary artists at work. These were all made on Canva and are available in full resolution here.

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Why do artists create?

Ever realize a big problem with a unit of inquiry right in the middle of it? It happens!  We were doing How We Express with our Grade 3's and our Arts Team is integrating with the homerooms based on the premise that Artists create art to evoke a response.  Wish I could qualify that statement with "sometimes."

The unit traditionally was great collaboration between music and art as well and it culminates in highly creative stop motion animation videos that have custom-made sound tracks that the learners create in music class. We co-teach the concept of a narrative arc in both music and artistic terms and the stop motions are all meant to provoke a response in the audience. The "film festival" and mini art show that parents come in to see is the cherry on top.

Fantastic stuff, but when a Grade 3 teacher described one of her students digging into the "why" she created a piece outside of class, we stepped back a bit and realized a problem.  Kids don't to create to evoke a response, most of them anyway. Not authentic. Evoking a response is ONE reason artists create art, but certainly not the only one. Why were we as a team limiting our learners to this one aspect of inspiration?

So, why do artists create art?  I made a few visuals to share with my students and hopefully make them realize that one size does not fit all, and it sparked a bigger conversation-- is this a complete list?  What would you add or take away, and why?  Can you rate these in order of importance and explain your thinking?  Might your answers change depending upon your cultural upbringing, gender or age?

Looking forward to working with our Grade 3 team to re-look at this unit.  What stories can art tell? might be a good starting point.