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RE: train wrecks


From: Ken Schwab (bicyclken_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Tue Nov 30 2004 - 06:58:42 PST

Yes Mike, we all have had train wrecks, I can remember stopping projects half way because it was not going to work. I agree that we all can laugh about it later but at the time I felt I was a failure. Students though are very kind and would say it was all right and they liked some little part of it. The most important part for me was to try and learn from it, that is, construct projects and problems that will be solvable and have more thought before hand. As I gained experience I was able to devise new projects with more success.

I am currently working on a new project with Art 1, Illuminated letters with ink, tempera, sand, color schemes, gold and silver acrylic, on illustration board. we are going to devise an Illuminated letter )their first or last name) and then illuminate it with images that are about them. Like hobbies, interests, favorites, special numbers, images of their ethnic background. I told them that it was my first time and that they are helping me find a good solution. We critique often, I ask for their help in suggestions for making it better, easier to understand etc. I want them to think that they are making it work and I listen to what they say. I hope this gives them a chance to feel connected to this idea and make it their own invention.

Wow, I am rambling on here, I can remember back at my first years teaching how much I relied on my teaching buddies, Bob who I wrote my book with and John, my mentor teacher for student teaching. I still see them and we are great friends. Don't stress about the wrecks as i can see that you are very talented and will be/are a fantastic teacher.

Ken Schwab

----- Original Message -----
To: ArtsEdNet Talk
Sent: 11/30/2004 3:25:49 AM
Subject: train wrecks

To Mike
  We have all had train wrecks....but that's part of the beauty of teaching...the unexpected, the unexplained, and the marvel about how you ever survived it! I am tres lucky to have lived long enough to make it from being the only art teacher in my building to teacher leader of 3, one of whom was my student. Chris and I laugh about the train wrecks he survived in my classes, AND, how those assignments were the most memorable. Why? because we were all scrambling to survive them, student and teacher alike! My students over the years have told me that what they like about art class is the honesty. We (teacher and student) set goals, try to meet them, critique the outcome and the process, all learn from it, laugh, and move on. We teach in a high school to a population who primarily is not going on to be professional artists. But, we treat the class as if they all are, as if they are in a studio, and in the 'studio' experience experimentation (i.e. train wrecks) is par for the course. Ask Leonardo about what he w
ould do differently about his fresco called The Last Supper. (now there was a train wreck...while the work is amazing, the process was a failure).

Over the upcomng winter break, I plan to try to make a home page, and display some of my students work. Perhaps I will have a trainwreck section...with students' permission of course, with a narrative on what went right and's a thought

San D