SchoolArts Magazine

OCT 2014

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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30 October 2014 SchoolArts SYNECTICS THE PROJECT High School Studio Lesson like to work on. I came up with some projects I felt would tie into the syn - ectics books and available materials, but students came up with the ideas for the bulk of the projects. Students then voted on the projects, ranking them in order of popularity. In the end they chose eighteen projects to focus on throughout the school year. While this seminar class was shorter than regular core classes, these exceptional students worked very hard on their work inside and outside of class. Projects Students worked on the following [partial] list of projects throughout the year: • Metamorphosis drawing • Ukiyo-e (linoleum block) print- making • Designing two-dimensional and three-dimensional tents/living project F or more than fourteen years I have been teaching a semi - nar art class at Academy Park High School in Sharon Hill, Pennsylvania. Last year I was very fortunate to be allowed to create my own curriculum. For years I had been using a book called Design Synectics: Stimulat - ing Creativity in Design, by Nicholas Roukes (Davis Publications, 1988) to supplement my curriculum. I decided to use Design Synectics, along with Roukes's other book, Art Synectics: Stimulating Creativity in Art (Davis Publications, 1984), as well as online materials on synectics to organize my class curriculum. I also chose to have students decide which projects they wanted to focus on. Student Choice To start the year, students brain - stormed ideas for projects they would Christopher Sweeney • Combining organic and non-organic drawing • Drawing Greek myths (or other cultures) • Paradox/humor, prevarication • Drawing/painting • Time/progression drawing • Bookmaking We bounced around Design Synec - tics, using it in a nonlinear manner to serve our needs. We used a variety of materials, ideas, and concepts, worrying less about the elements and principles of art and focusing on the creativity of the lesson. Artistry was always stressed, but the majority of the work was top-notch quality, so this was never an issue. Students were extremely engaged, using real life problem-solving and synectics as springboards for ideas. Opportunity Knocks While students were working on the time/progression unit, a unique and exciting opportunity presented itself. I had previously applied for the Van's Custom Culture sneaker contest, and we were one of 2,000 schools that were picked to participate. Vans gave us four pairs of sneakers, as well as design templates. The class was split Local Flavor: Aislinn Beinlich, grade nine; Kiara Callender, grade nine; Brittany MacNeil, grade eleven.

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