I want to start by saying that having done a pre-reflection has had such a positive impact on my classroom experience – Even from day 1. Initially I’d only done it because I felt I needed to provide Verve with something that focused more on my methodology, rather than just share one of my weekly class summaries. But the truth is that writing it really forced me to sit down and be as clear and intentional with what my objectives were for this course. And because I was simultaneously wrapping up the curriculum, it greatly influenced how I developed the structure and approach of the course. So here’s what’s been going on so far.
Day 1 was basically an introductory day.
As students came in the first thing I asked them to do is fill out the preterm questionnaire that asks them 7 questions:
1. Name and Grade (Half my class is apparently made up of seniors, which is surprising considering that their portfolios are pretty much due very soon).
2, What schools are you interested in/looking at for college? (This helps me get a sense of what kind of portfolio they may need to focus on).
3. What drew you to this course and what are you hoping to take out of it? (Responses included: I want to expand my art skills; I love drawing people, I think this is the next level for me; I’m hoping to build a good portfolio with figure drawing).
4. What is a personal goal you would like to accomplish by the end of this course? (This has always been a very important question for me. I am very interested in supporting individual student development. Here are a few responses: Dedication and personal discipline; I want to be better with proportions and also be technically stronger; Having the ability to expand from my own personal style).
5. Describe your artistic style. (This one always gives me insight into students’ interests and process).
6. What is something you think is important that your teaching artist know about you? (I am always very interested in the responses that come out of this particular question: I draw slowly; I tend to be over talkative and moody; I am a visual learner, I can get more out of seeing it than hearing it; Art is something I am extremely passionate about, and I can’t imagine doing ANYTHING else with my life – I am here to work hard, & learn a lot).
7. If you had a super power, what would it be and why? (Undoubtedly, the most important question of all.)
At the end of the term we will be coming back to these questions to have students reflect on their growth throughout the course. Although for now they will helpful in better understanding how I can support each individual student in getting what they need from this class.
Once all our students were gathered I started by informing the class of our main learning objective:
Students will have a better understanding of how to use the figure as a tool for communicating personal artistic vision.
We then talked in detail about how the structure of the class, the daily activities, and the themes and ideas addressed would all work towards achieving that goal. But, I also stressed how the development of a portfolio is a very independent process – each student is different and each portfolio should highlight their individual artistic identity – and as such, it was important for them to take ownership of their learning.
|Examples of artists’ works, as found in my tumblr database|
Day by day I will be introducing different approaches, techniques, and ways of thinking/seeing the figure to help students break away from only using the figure to demonstrate observational skills, and start using it as a way to express their individual ideas and artistic voices.
But before we could do that, I needed to see what skills and abilities they had coming into the class.
So for day 1, our drawing exercises were your basic figure drawing activities to help student warm up and get into the practice of drawing what they see.
Afterwards, we took a break in which I demonstrated to students how to use measurement as a tool for strengthening proportional drawing skills. Students then had an hour to work independently with the model. Their task was to create an observational line drawing, using the measuring technique, to demonstrate what they had the capacity to do.
And I’ve got to say, I have an amazing and talented group of students to begin with! This is really going to be a plus when it comes to guiding them towards that next step