Some one gave some very good advice re: this kind of work. It actually
stemed from some hate symbols used. This teacher (sorry I can't remember who
posted the advice) did not her/his students use other people's symbols but
they had to creat their own. (I know...paraphrased). This really helped me
when I had students who wanted to make hearts or rainbows (honestly
though....for some reasons...I no longer seem to have this problem). I just
explained they need to show original thinking...that this was part of the art
problem they needed to solve.
Do you actually give your students an assignement or do they get to choose
thier subject? Perhapse if you did a lesson with some criticism aspects and
then gave a lesson that was broad in theme but tighter in subject matter.
For instance, teapots that resemble animals or abstract teapots (I suggest
this since they are high school students). Scholastic art had a wonderful
issue (this last month?) about Picasso's Pottery. I am doing one of the
lessons with my 5th grade. I did a clay mask lesson based on Munch and line
and color showing expression. This was a very quick lesson, (I called it a
sketch in clay) using slab, mask forms and coils and pinched pieces. One of
our high school teachers saw the mask and wanted to share it with her
students who were "just sitting on their hands!"
Is it possible (I made this mistake myself when I taught middle school) that
your students are afraid to take risks with the clay (or other media). I
found that at first I expected my older students to have more skill and be
more able than my ele. students. What I actually discovered that they were
far more insecure about their artwork and far less able to take the same
risks with their artwork that my elementary students were able to take. Does
this make sense? hehe Once I realized this...I started at the same place
with the middle school students as I did with the elementary students. Once
their confidence was built....I had better luck.
So..perhaps you need a combination of the two....hip lessons based on master
artist might help jumpstart their thinking? Or perhaps having them do
sketches of at least three ideas before beginning their clay? With regards
to the staff who feel the students artwork should be "parent pleasing" (am
going through this in my own school), I think the student work will speak for
itself, once you get a plan!
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