SchoolArts Magazine

May 2016

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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SCHOOLARTSMAGAZINE.COM 17 The Conceptual Realm Requiring students to not only sketch, but produce physical material samples helps to initiate the transi- tion from the conceptual realm of the design process (on paper and in their heads) into the real world. This provides a valuable opportunity for students to discover that an approach they may have been convinced would work will turn out not to work, and to discover a material's potential. It is also critical that students understand the importance of craft and construction. If our ultimate goal is to recontextualize an undervalued material, then the construction of the material must be impeccable in order to generate a perception of value. Decide and Create At the conclusion of the first week of preliminary investigations and pro- totyping, we met as a class to review the assignment's objectives in rela- tion to prototypes in order to deter- mine which solution was the most innovative and creative. Students were encouraged to make their own decisions, keeping in mind that the easiest or most "practical" solution is often not the best one. Students then entered the creation stage. Though the unexpected contin - ues to occur, even at this stage, the goal is that the idea stages will have eliminated most instances of improvi - sation. The design should be carefully planned and the execution of the con - cept should be mostly prescriptive at this stage. Learn and Evaluate The evaluation stage is perhaps the most important, since it engages reflective practice and builds upon new knowledge. We informally assess the work as a group to determine if the student's solution succeeded in meeting the goals of the assignment, discussing areas for improvement and acknowledging successes. Then I apply a more formal assessment, often in conjunction with and in consideration of a written student self-assessment. Document and Photograph I compulsively document my stu- dents' creating and the work they pro- duce. It is so important to see them in action and how they develop and change over time as creators. In addi- tion, seeing their process as it unfolds in retrospect can be incredibly valu- able. Stephanie Silverman is an upper school art educator and interdivisional K–12 art curriculum coordinator at the Tatnall School in Wilmington, Delaware. ssilver- man@ I have found that what works best in m lassroom is the development of an open- ended problem that can be interpreted an infinite number of w s. N A T I O N A L S T A N D A R D Creating: Conceiving and develop- ing new artistic ideas and work. W E B L I N K lery/index.aspx

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