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Re: [teacherartexchange] Creativity In Art Assignments


From: wendy free (wendypaigefree_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Sat Jul 02 2005 - 09:13:17 PDT

interesting how this thread has evolved, very thought
provoking. i don't like/encourage students to refuse
to do things. we have pretty strict, prestated
project objectives upon which students' work is
evaluated by them and me. eg, w/ the dog portraits i
recently posted, the conceptual objective was to
represent dogs in a way that showed personality,
character, emotion. the dogs and the background
needed to communicate those ideas. skills/technique
objectives were use of a color scheme to support the
content and layering, blending, shading/highlighting,
and detailing with oil pastels.

i initially wanted all students to choose some type of
dog as a subject but then thought about kids who may
have had scary dog experiences, so i said if anyone
was not comfortable with dogs:subject they could
substitute another type of pet. out of four classes,
no one did. also, i allowed one student whose skin is
irritated by oil pastels to use crayons instead.
another student in the same class complained that they
hated oil pastels and pleaded with me to be allowed to
use crayons, too, even if it meant losing points off
their grade. i conceded and encouraged both kids to
try to get a rich oil pastel look by building up the
crayons, which they did.

what i have realized is that i/we teachers have
definite comfort levels when it comes to allowing
freedom. to me, learning needs to be somewhat open
ended and choice driven for most of my kids to respond
positively. i cringe at all the one right answer,
scantron test driven "teaching". by hs there are a
lot of bad attitudes resulting from the failure of "my
way or the highway" style teaching. however,
providing knowledge, expertise, guidance, support,
examples, structure, rules, and consistency is my
job. being the smiling art fairy, handing out
materials, telling the kids to have fun doesn't
usually amount to much besides a big mess. finding a
comfortable level of freedom and control, sticking to
it, and effectively communicating it to students
requires a lot of thought! asking the question often,
"what is really important here?" helps me a lot.

wendy free

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