A month ago, the school year was about to begin. I was setting up my 6th grade classroom and in the swing of in-service days before the students arrived.
Then, the Saturday before school began, I had an interesting email which led to a phone call. The call left me with a decision, stay in sixth grade or shift to high school and teach art. Not all art, but mostly art. Knowing the rarity of the situation of course I chose art.
The empty high school classroom before everything was moved over to the elementary.
The following Monday I packed up what I had unpacked into my sixth grade classroom and rolled it across the school to an empty high school classroom. All the desks were already claimed so I hunted down tables. And then chairs. And then whatever I could find in the way of art supplies.
The next day I had students.
The first few days we painted.
As schedules progressed my classes have begun to find their routine. I begin the day with two middle school classes and two high school classes. The high school classes are elective Art. Most of my students have never had an Art class. There is no curriculum, but a few state standards. We are beginning with the elements of art, then we will shift into the principles.
Two weeks ago we began color. We spend one day mixing the color wheel before we moved on to a little color theory and taking a look at Kandinsky's Concentric Circles.
Each element has a project to explore that thought. We used Kandinsky's work as our master study for this project. The high school classes divided their paper into twelve parts. Each square had a different color theme focus: primary, secondary, tertiary, analogous, complementary, and monochromatic.
A goal that I had for this project was to have work to display for our Welcome Back to School Potluck and then in the main entrance. To display the work I knew they needed to be protected by lamination. One major teacher lesson I learned is that laminators will melt oil pastel. That was a painful lesson to learn.
The seventh and eighth grade classes are spending a few days a week working in expository reading. Their project was modified to fit this time constraint. They had only six boxes to work.
Seeing the results all up together is so interesting. Forty-four students were given the same parameters, the same instructions, and the same materials but each and every single one is different. There are some similarities but no two are alike.
I'm really excited to see what the year will bring. We have already had some very interesting conversation and dialogue about art. The "what is art?" question has already come up.
I think the statement in KQED's Art School video was a pretty incredible answer. I made my students write it in their sketchbooks. "Art is about communication. About trying to either understand the world or understand yourself." -Nigel Poor