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There is a great deal of education research on learning centers and how to
implement them, and this is how I used to do it with one. Now I have
three, only slightly better. To begin with I schedule a week in the
computer lab just like any other academic teacher in the Junior High School
where I teach if I want the whole class to be involved in the lesson. I am
currently following up a unit studied by the whole eighth grade on the
Holocaust with an image from the point of view of a child in the Terezin
concentration camp after I read to my class from I NEVER SAW ANOTHER
BUTTERFLY which is a compilation of the art and poetry of the children in
the camp. They have been studying this theme in every class and are
finishing the unit with a field trip to the Holocaust museum.
When the students are in the art room they can work on the computers by
going through a number of activities in the packets that are stationed at
the computers. I call them independent projects. Those who finish early
a folder that gives a bit of art history information, some thinker
criticism questions about aesthetic assumptions and do a drawing or
painting on the computer. At the end each student must evaluate his own
progress by answering these questions.
-How does your work reflect or reject the influence of the artist you studied?
-How did you use the basic elements of art to get your message across?
-How close to your best does this work come in terms of technical skill?
-What would you change to make this work better?
-What do you like best about your artwork?
Making one of these activities involves stapleing a post card into a
manilla folder with a handwritten or typed instruction packet. Keep it
short and simple. Give them ten facts about the artist and and the
artwork. Ask them to write a sentence or a short poem or a list of
describing words about the post card. You can get them from art museums
very reasonably. Ask them if the artwork on the post card art is ART and
have them decide if it is any good. Ask them why they think so. Ask them
to tell you what it makes them think about in their own life. Then let
them go to work on the image. Put new ones at the computer often. Get the
students to help you make up new ones for other students. Have fun with it
and empower them. Let them use the Dabbler program because they can focus
on the image more than on the computing. They can get to
Adobe Illustrator when they think of the computer as just another tool.
Hope this is helpful.
Central Junior High