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Re: [teacherartexchange] Need Advice on Mixed Advanced Class

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From: Judy Decker (jdecker4art_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Tue Sep 01 2009 - 03:02:02 PDT


Greetings Joe and All,

Only nine weeks of class? Are these double periods?

I found that many of my advanced ceramic students were not real
advanced. My classes were not mixed levels - but I often had students
of all levels together during planning period. Way back when I started
teaching I had a ceramics and sculpture class the same time I had a
drawing and painting class - with some Art Seminar (fourth year) mixed
in. That did not work out well for me.... Your situation is "do-able".
At the school where my husband teachers, this is the norm. All levels
of ceramic and sculpture meet at the same time. All classes are mixed.
Funny, his name is Joe, too. I will send your question to him.

My suggestion is to put the third year on Independent Study. Have them
submit a summary of what they have done already in ceramics and
include goals they would like to accomplish. Maybe one wants to work
on more advance decorating techniques - using slips - glazing
techniques or even glaze formulation? Maybe the other wants to develop
wheel throwing skills....or whatever. Nine weeks isn't much time. Set
a goal of three finished works? along with a reflection on what they
have done and what they achieved towards their goals.

For the other two levels.... Here are some suggestions....

Introduce free form organic coil method to the beginning students.
They would be making some type of vessel. The advanced students could
use the same technique (so your demo would be a review for them) but
would take it to a different level. For instance, one year my advanced
students made forms inspired by nature (there is a lesson on
Incredible Art Department that could be tweeked). If you do
traditional coil forms with beginning (symmetrical coils smoothed,
vessel shaped by controlling sides with cardboard template) - take it
to a different level with advanced. The advanced students would make
body forms (I got some interesting works from this lesson. I just sold
my example in our church summer auction or I'd send a photo of it).

Introduce stiff slab construction to the beginning class - advanced
students use slabs to create a personal shrine (I got GREAT pieces
from this unit. I ran into one of my former students a couple of years
ago. He told me that was his favorite project ever!). Another idea is
"a house for....." (put in artists name). Students created a slab form
structure paying homage to any artist of their choice (my own example
is on my site - A House for Van Gogh"). One of my students really did
a fantastic Grant Wood. My go worker bought the piece.
Another stiff slab construction advanced project was that students
worked in groups. They each designed their own piece that had to stand
alone as a work of art - BUT also work as a group. It really was fun
seeing the students work together and come up with ideas that all
liked (this of course was done after I had a workshop in "Total
Quality Management"). How well the students worked together was also
part of the grade.

If draped slab is introduced to beginning - advanced students take to
a higher level - see the ceramic sculpture links on my site (I'm sure
many links are broken now).

Another option for third year students would be to create a series
that "tell a story". I know Gregg Luginbuhl from Bluffton University
and always had him come talk to my high school students. They always
liked his Creation Series platters and his fish pots.

I'd love to help you bounce ideas.....Write to me anytime off list. It
is good to hear from you again Joe.

Blessings to you, too. I sign my church emails "Blessings". I know
they don't know the reason. I am just remembering our conversations
over the years (smile).

Judy Decker

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On Mon, Aug 31, 2009 at 4:59 PM, Joe wrote:

> Hello All,
>
> So far the beginning of this school year has been full of challenges.  The one I am needing help with is my advanced class.  Because of the why the schedule was done this year I have a second year ceramic class that has over 30 students and half of them have never had ceramic before. The other half this is their second year in ceramic and two of them this is their third year in ceramic....

> What I am looking for are some suggestion on how to handle this situation.  I want the class to be challenging to everyone no matter their level of experience.....

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