SchoolArts Magazine

September 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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which relies more on the process than the outcome, will look different. Expect Floating Due Dates When all the students in a class are working on a lesson that is of the same size and scope, it isn't too dif- ficult for the teacher to determine the amount of time necessary to complete the project. However, in a student- directed open artroom, each solution to a project will be as individual as the student it was designed by. Differ- ent choices in media, technique, and methods means the timeline needed for each project will vary. Design- ing a plan for dealing with floating due dates will be necessary, particu- larly for those teachers starting with themes, artistic behavior units, or other forms of modified choice. Expect to Explore Unfamiliar Materials Choice in media is a given in the open artroom, but don't be surprised if your students' definition of media and yours differ. When art teach - ers think of art supplies, media s uch as charcoal, oil pastels, and watercolors come to mind. After all, our supply closets are full of these traditional materials. Art students, however, often have more nontradi - tional art supplies in mind. Today's i nformation-age generation receives daily exposure to artists who explore sophisticated use of extraordinary materials. Are you familiar with digi - tal apps, street art stencils, or how to p roperly ignite gunpowder to create a work of art? That's fine if you're not. However, expect to be ready to learn along with your students. Ian Sands is a visual arts instructor at South Brunswick High School in South- port, North Carolina. T oday, more and more art teach- ers are migrating their class curriculum from teacher- directed to a choice-based, student-directed program. If you're one of the many who've decided to make the switch this year, welcome to the Open Artroom. Instead of pre- senting lessons with a predetermined outcome, you'll ask your students to develop ideas around themes and concepts. Instead of teaching a project where all students use the same mate- rials, you'll be demonstrating a pro- cess and allowing students to deter- mine what media is the best solution. Are You Ready? This switch is no small undertak- ing, so you've done your homework. You've learned about different levels of choice and developed a plan to scaf- fold the lessons. You've arranged your room so supplies are more accessible to students. You're feeling confident you can do this. Still, even though you're totally ready, you're a little anxious. That's normal. It comes Ian Sands T H E O P E N A R T R O O M What to Expect When You Change to Choice from the uncertainty of not know- ing what to expect. To help ease your mind, here are three common occur- rences you can expect from the Open Artroom: Expect Authentic Art to Look Different In a teacher-directed program, it's common for the teacher to create an exemplar. This sample work, which is shown to students before they begin making art, is designed as an example of what students' finished pieces will look like. Because the model exists, there is some expectation of what stu- dents will produce. In a student-directed, open artroom, there is no exemplar. The work pro- duced by students will vary greatly i n scope, media, and skill level. This variation will sometimes result in student art that doesn't always look as polished as a teacher-directed project might look. This can be a challenge for the art teacher who is more comfort - able with the product-centric lesson. T he art teacher new to choice should expect that student-directed learning, Instead of presenting lessons with a predetermined outcome, ou'll ask our students to develop ideas around themes and concepts. 12 SEPTEMBER 2016 SchoolArts

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