SchoolArts Magazine

MAY 2019

SchoolArts is a national art education magazine committed to promoting excellence, advocacy, and professional support for educators in the visual arts since 1901.

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the description of most days in my art class, but on occasion I like to shake it up a bit. Less planning, less individual, less lag. I want students to move at Mach speed and create something with energy, something that is dynamic and showstopping. This is where my idea for the Best Day Ever was born. High-Speed Creativity I have always loved the concept of artistic competitions such as "Project Runway," "Chopped," or "Made." The idea that you can just hand a topic over to a group of students, ask them to work at top speed, develop, revise, and collaborate in a highly creative environment with no artistic boundaries is exciting. As a twenty-year veteran art teacher, I also need those days when students surprise me with their quickness and willingness to improvise. It can be difficult, in the daily grind, to get students to work "outside the box," so to speak. A Surprising Recycling Challenge Because of my limited budget, I decided to do recycled fashion. Over a few weeks, I asked students to bring in clean recycled materials such as paper, plastic, cups, plates, and small toys. (If it could be used, we bagged it up and took it.) I asked a local church if we could borrow a large room so that I could set up our "innovative workshop" as a surprise. With more than 200 pounds of recycled materials, I brought sixty students over on the bus. They walked into the room to see a mas - sive pile of discarded items and ten round tables surrounding it. Groups were organized into color teams and given a few minutes to walk around and look at the items. When they returned, I counted down "3, 2, 1…" All sixty students ran and scavenged faster than I could have imagined. When they were done, the pile had been picked over like old bones in the desert. Recycled Avant Garde Fashion Each group was given a theme or artist for inspiration, but not for copying. I encouraged them to look at period fashion for garment shapes and to develop an avant garde design that would go down a runway in four short hours. I loved seeing students collaborate and work through issues so quickly. Their ideas were new and fresh and included everyone in their group. They worked to their strengths, assisting each other in any way possible. The Best Day Ever The results were incredible. Thou- sands of items had been bound, glued, taped, and pinned together to create fashion that made a unique statement. Students were asked to vote online for their favor - ite design, and the winning group received a horrendously tacky stuffed monkey trophy. After completing the Best Day Ever, we were all exhausted, but in a good way. Seeing students work in a flexible and dynamic way reminded me what learning was supposed to look like. I believe those experiences will help them become more creative and well-rounded artists, and I'm excited to see what they create for their next classroom project. Nicole D. Brisco is an art teacher at Pleas- ant Grove High School in Texarkana, Texas. N A T I O N A L S T A N D A R D Creating: Generate and conceptualize new artistic ideas and work. W E B L I N K Nicole D. Brisco I walk into the classroom, and I see students getting out their projects. Supplies are moving, and the class is on track to pro - ducing great works of art. This is I encouraged students to look at period fashion for garment shapes and to develop an avant garde design that would go down a runwa n four short hours. A dress made from caution tape and cotton swabs. SCHOOLARTSMAGAZINE.COM 21

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