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Re: Using Examples in the Classroom

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From: Diane C. Gregory (dianegregory_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Fri Mar 11 2005 - 10:24:27 PST


Good question.

I think you might consider identifying strategies for achieving the goals of the project. For example, two or more objects can be morphed together by identifying interesting or effective ways of joining objects. This would require showing them how to draw one part of an object and then drawing another part of an object and joining them together in some way. I would also talk about what is the most salient feature of each object and places where they could be joined. To make it more creative I would also give them suggestions on making part of one object realistic size and forms of the other object could be distorted in size.

What they need, I think, is instruction on how to go about combining these objects. Putting them side by side, putting one inside another and making one transparent, putting one on top of another and joining them in order to create entirely different objects. You could also suggest that they are inventors trying to create a new object or machine and they could design an object that could do the function of two or three different objects by joining or fusing them together. In other words, they would do a drawing of a new machine.

It sounds like what they need are some strategies for brainstorming creative ideas. You might also have pictures of objects, machines, animals, etc that could be morphed together.

Showing examples can be good if you have a huge selection. If you only have one, that's a problem. I would recommend that you focus on teaching them creative strategies.

I love Nicholas Roukes. As an elementary art teacher years ago, I had my 4th grade students create new machines by first identifying an object and then making a drawing of the machine that would make that object. We brainstormed a list of objects. One of those objects was peanuts. One of my students, David Bernard, took the peanut idea a ran with it. He created a Jimmy Carter machine. To start the Machine and the conveyor belt, you put in a peanut. Peanuts became Jimmy Carter smiles, feet, heads, ears, legs, etc. They were assembled as they traveled down a conveyor belt. Rejected ones went into trash bins along the way. Eventually all the parts were assembled into good Jimmy Carters. At the end of the conveyor belt stood approximately 8 to 10 perfect Jimmy Carters with a big grin. It was wonderful.

-----Original Message-----
From: strain@oise.utoronto.ca
Sent: Mar 11, 2005 11:37 AM
To: ArtsEdNet Talk <artsednet@lists.getty.edu>
Subject: Using Examples in the Classroom

Help needed!

What is the thinking on using exemplars or examples when doing a project
with students. I am teaching high school level, really my first year, and
I'm not sure whether I should be showing examples when I am asking them to
do their own creative thinking - either from a historical approach or other
student examples. They don't have much background in art and can't seem to
think up ideas on their own. For example, I asked them to sketch a common
object (we have vases, kitchen utensils, etc. in the room), then to
transform it in some ways using devices based on Nicholas Roukes's books.
They sketched their vases, but then got stuck on the transforming part.
Should I be talking them through this, drawing little thumbnails on the
blackboard, showing examples?

Shayne

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Director of Undergraduate & Graduate
Studies in Art Education
Department of Art
dianegregory@earthlink.net
dgregory@mail.twu.edu
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