SchoolArts Magazine

Summer 2017

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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Page 45 of 54

Malcolm: I would tell another student who was stuck to consider other artists who kept going. Think about Michel - angelo and the Sistine Ceiling. He had all sorts of problems painting that, but he kept going and didn't give up. Kamryn: Ask yourself, What is it I don't like about this art? Try to iden - tify the problem and then find a solution. Nyssa: Talk it out with other stu- dents. Ask them what they think the issue might be with the artwork and ask how you can improve it. Katie: If the work is coming out good and you're afraid you'll mess it up, find something small you can add. This way you're only changing one lit- tle thing. Just do one little thing at a time and it won't be such a big deal. Alicia: Take the risk. Risk-taking always outweighs the bad. Rachael: Tell yourself you've come this far, don't give up now. Ian Sands is a visual arts instructor at South Brunswick High School in South- port, North Carolina, and co-author of The Open Art Room, coming soon from Davis Publications. THE ORIGINAL K iSS-OFF ® Stain Remover Before you throw it away... try Kiss-Off! "I had gotten blue oil paint on one of my fall coats... I felt like I should give Kiss-Off ® a try and lo and behold no more dried on oil paint! My jacket was saved." ~Malissa Removes: Ink · Oil Paint · Grease · Makeup · Blood · Lipstick · Coffee · Red Wine · Grass Stains & More Ideal for Classroom, Travel & Art Studio MADE IN THE USA Advertiser Index Advertiser Page AMACO 11, CIII Bailey 14 Blick Art Materials CIV Davis Publications CII, 7 Kiss-Off 41 L&L Kilns 2 NAEA 4 Nasco 13 Skutt 1 The Shelter Pet Project 42 The SHOP Envisioning Writing 43 Nasco 43 Royalwood 43 Youth Art Month 43 T H E O P E N A R T R O O M Ian Sands T he legs feed the wolf," I yell so I can be heard across the class- room. My students know what I'm talking about. They know I lifted the line from a character named Brooks in the movie Miracle. Brooks, the coach of the 1980s Olympic hockey team, used the phrase to keep his team members moving forward. Though it's a strange saying, the meaning is clear. If the wolf doesn't continue to move his legs, he doesn't catch his prey. I use the line to motivate my students when they reach the sticking point. Two Reasons Students Quit The sticking point is something every artist encounters. It occurs when an artist begins a work but decides to quit before they are done. This stick- ing point takes place for two reasons. In the first scenario, students begin working with much enthusiasm. They have a vision of what they wish to cre- ate in their head but soon realize what they have laid out on paper doesn't reflect this vision. They become dis- couraged. They think, "This isn't what I wanted. This isn't turning out how I envisioned. I'm giving up." In the second scenario, students also begin with enthusiasm. This time their initial efforts surpass their expec- tations. What they have produced is some of their best work. Even though the work isn't finished, they freeze. They cannot move on for fear of mess - ing up what they have already created. Ways to Move Forward In a traditional art program, students don't have much freedom to quit. If they don't complete a project, they are penalized, most often through grading. Students in an Open Art Room, however, have more freedom. If a student chooses to start a proj - ect, she or he has the same right to quit one without consequence. Art teachers know abandoning a work of art isn't the best course of action. We understand that if students will persist, they will realize the benefits. But students don't see it that way. In both scenarios mentioned above, the student has stopped work- ing. Though yelling, "The legs feed the wolf!" seems motivating, I wondered if there was a better method. I decided to ask my students what might really help them surpass the sticking point. Here, in their words, is what I learned: Nadia: A teacher can help me move beyond a sticking point by offering suggestions on how to improve the piece. If I don't want to continue working on my project because I don't like how it looks, having the teacher explain what to do to make it better can get me going again. Mackenzie: Sometimes I just need a break from it. I'll put it away and start working on something new. Then, when I come back to it, I can sometimes see the problem. The Sticking Point If the wolf doesn't continue to move his legs, he doesn't catch his pre . CONTINUED ON PAGE XX 12 MAY 2017 SchoolArts CONTINUED FROM PAGE 12. as students develop their skills for meaning-making in one film role, they learn about considerations for the other roles by working together. A Creative Capacity There is a third reason, I believe, for students' success in this project. For many years I've been telling my film students that whether or not they pursue film in the future, the most important skill that they can get out of a film class is the ability to work collaboratively with others in a creative capacity. Prior to this film, students in the Institute have had nearly a year and a half experience in coming together to solve creative challenges as a group. I believe that this demonstrates the ability of these students to transfer the process of creative thinking more seamlessly from one challenge to the next. These films can be seen under the Are We Living in A Brave New World? playlist at com/user/dsgran. David Gran teaches high-school art and film classes at the Shanghai American School in China and is the author of The Carrot Revolution, a blog about 21st cen- tury art education. CONTINUED ON PAGE XX David Gran M E D I A @ R + S F or nearly twenty years, I have been teaching film classes in some capacity—from basic filmmaking skills with third- graders, to week-long boot camps, to International Baccalaureate film classes for junior and senior high- school students. Working in the Innovation Institute, I have learned that, above any exposure to techni - cal skills, people's ability to work together in a creative capacity is perhaps the most important factor in crafting an excellent film. As intro - duced over the course of my past few columns, the Innovation Insti- tute is a two-year interdisciplinary project-based learning curriculum that we've been developing at the Shanghai American School over the past few years. This elective program integrates the learning from four of students' classes: science, English, social studies, and of course, art. A Brave New World To prepare students for this project, we put to them this driving question: To what extent are we living in a brave new world? In addition to dis- cussing and analyzing the novel Brave New World in their English class, students examined issues of gene therapy, cloning, and CRISPR tech- nologies in their science class. In their AP Seminar class, they discussed a number of ethical issues surrounding these concepts—focusing on utopias, fascism, technology, and the roles of art and religion in society. At this point, students were pre- pared to engage with the material on their own terms. They were tasked with creating a film that comments on a contemporary societal issue connected to genetics, epigenetics, or free will. Film Analysis We began this project by asking stu- dents to form teams and introducing them to the various crew roles that would be open to them on the film— director, cinematographer, editor, and sound design. Once they selected their roles, they analyzed how mean - ing can be created in film through each of these jobs. They deconstructed the award- winning student short film, Bar- tholomew's Song by Destin Cretton and Lowell Frank (viewable at vimeo. com/1901652). The totalitarian themes in this film connected back to Brave New World and the AP Seminar. The careful use of film language to create meaning towards the themes and tone of film allowed them to think deeper about how meaning is created in art. In the past, I have approached skill building in my general film classes as individual units. By examining the same materials through a differ - ent lens with this approach, students were able to have deeper conversations about the multiple ways that meaning is created in film. Grasping the Concept In the many years that I have been teaching film, I have never seen students grasp the concepts around filmmaking so thoroughly and so fast. I believe that the reason for this is two-fold. It derives from the strong emphasis on developing their themes and ideas through this interdisci- plinary approach and focusing on how meaning is created through one aspect of film language. Furthermore, Are We Living in a Brave New World? The abilit to work together in a creative capacit s perhaps the most important ingredient in the recipe for creating an excellent film. 22 SUMMER 2017 SchoolArts CONTINUED FROM PAGE 22. Get Published! Write for SchoolArts! Go to for information. Author benefits include: Free one- ear print and digital subscription to SchoolArts, up to 6 free copies of the issue in whic our article was published, honorarium of up to $100 per article, an ears of access to Davis Digital! SCHOOLARTSMAGAZINE.COM 41

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