Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Independent Students

As I sit here, writing my 3rd post for the year, I’m already feeling pretty good about blogging in 2015.  Of course it is only February and I have 11 more months ahead of me to go, but I’m optimistic.  Tonight, I’m showing off my independent study student work. 
I’m a big believer in displaying artwork.  I try to hang every project we finish.  Notice I said the word try.  I probably hang about 80% of the work we accomplish.  My real goal is to fill the walls of the school.  I believe it is not only good for the students to see their work displayed, but it is also good for school moral and pride.  When community members come into the building, art hanging on the walls is like a shining light and testament that learning is going on within classrooms.  It is also a daily reminder… that I teach.  In a future post I’ll write more about my theories on displaying work.  Tonight I want to talk about my independent students. 
Student work as far as the eye can see!
I have a few students that work entirely independently from my classes.  They show up to the art room during their assigned periods, and mostly they hang out in the back of the room, doing their own thing.  Sometimes they join in on what the class is doing (mostly when I need experienced art students to help during art show season), but for the bulk of the time, they are on their own.  In formal settings, I call them my “open studio” students. 
Independent clay work

Working at the color wheel table!

In informal settings, I call them art rats.  But that’s another story. 
The plastic mice I use for my Mouse Paint  lesson.  FYI, I do not teach this lesson to high school students.

Kidding aside, these are my most involved, creative students.  These are people with a deep need to create.  And I was shocked to realize I was doing them a disservice.  I never display their work.  They make it, I grade it, and then what?  Usually they would take it home. I decided that was not going to do for 2015.  I created this huge black banner for independent work to be displayed under.  I wanted to make the sign special, a little bit bigger and more eye catching than normal.  I hung it right in the main hallway, across from the cafeteria.  So far, I have 10 pieces of work underneath.  I’d like to triple that number by the time the spring art show comes around. 
Ignore the glaring light in the corner and notice how much space is left for MORE PROJECTS!

We made the sign from black butcher paper, and then used the elison machine to make the letters.  A student suggested using rainbow colored paper for the letters and I said, “heck yea!”  My scrap boxes are over flowing and second semester hasn’t even started yet!

Lots and lots of pretty paper...

  On a side note, I was surprised all the different colored paper we had in the art room. 

After we hung it, the open studio students were happy with the final product.  In celebration, one of them even drew a rat.  It earned a place on the wall. 
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