Up Next / Possible Projects / Experimenting on Humans

I’m currently working on a “Bounty Board” where my students can choose missions (projects) with specific requirements and deadlines that are done beyond the requirements of regular class.  These missions will involve more than just, well, drawing stuff.  They’ll be pretty quirky (involving work that could require a student to do it outside of school, or even in public) and, I’m hoping, extra fun to do.  Mercenaries and missions.  I’m a dork. 8)

Here in Xavier, teachers can only give 6 graded assessments per grading cycle; it doesn’t sound like a lot, but it’s enough space for me to play with this concept, which is essentially a form of “Choose Your Own Assessment”.

Even before I decided to teach, I already had an idea for a game / activity I wanted to run in class.  I would need the cooperation of an English and Math teacher.  The English teacher would establish the story and situation, acting out (or dramatically reading) story lines as they happened.  The basic idea would be that the class’ members are part of an empowered body whose abilities keep their home city from destruction, at the hands of their enemies.  Something causes the unit’s attention to waver, and upon their return, the city is under siege.

Depending on the story, I will be dividing the students into groups.  Each of them will be tasked with solving a series of mathematical puzzles, and their successes and failures would translate into salvation or destruction in each part of the city.  Situations could range from considering personal desires (saving only people you care for) or the greater good (saving as much as you can, even at the expense of a few who are dear to you).  Students will be free to take harder challenges for greater success (succeeding in a hard challenge could allow you to save a whole family from an attacking group of bandits, with partial success meaning the death of one or two members, and failure meaning the success of the attackers).  My part in this would be with providing an on-the-spot visual representation of what’s happening.  Projected on-screen would be the city map, with special parts enlarged or emphasized.  If a fire were to break out somewhere, I would draw it where it happens…  At the end of the activity, the teachers could write a summary of events to go with the visual results, which we could compare with the products of the other classes.

…  I really want to do this!  It doesn’t have to be a Math thing.  Math could be just one part.  I could involve, heck, PE if I wanted to.  (Your teammate has been disarmed, his weapon lying a certain distance away from you.  It seems that an enemy has noticed the weapon.  Picking it up could help you defeat more along the way, but failing would increase the difficulty of the next tests.  To reach it, you need to run to the end of the room within 5 seconds.  What will you do?)

Xavier’s new visual arts room (my room) has some pretty horrible acoustics.  The echo gets pretty nasty; one of our music teachers reported pain in his ears while three of us were having a regular conversation.  Yes, it gets really noisy when some of my classes come in, and it’s hard to be heard.  I decided to experiment with a few things to see if I could modify their behavior.  My first hypothesis: if the room is too cold, the chances of students standing up and walking around (or even running around — the room is that big) goes higher because they’re trying to warm themselves.  My second: the layout of the tables matters (that’s pretty obvious though, I suppose).

Testing the first hypothesis was easy; quite literally done after pressing a button.  I haven’t had any wild runners in class after increasing the room’s temperature.  *High five self!*

Originally, I had 6 long tables that could be used by up to 8 students together, arranged in three rows, the lengths going towards the screen / whiteboard.  This layout allowed students to talk to the guys on the other tables easily, and it took me longer to go around to check their work.  I transformed it into a U-shape, which allowed me to look at everyone (and their work) from a stage-like center space.  It became a lot harder for my students to be inattentive, and the room became more spacious.  Overall, a success.

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SY 2012-2013 1st Semester Lesson 10: Planning, Concept, & Execution

Slides: 2012-2013 G10 L10: Planning, Concept, & Execution

Xavier School  |  Grade 10  |  by Josiah Gosingtian

M10 featured image

Art class isn’t just about making collages and painting random things.  There’s a lot of thought and effort involved in creative activities, and I feel a need to address the “underestimation cycle” in this school.

Some of the administration believe that since Xavier School is not an art school, art classes should focus on art appreciation more (versus art production).  I don’t agree.  I’ve talked to both Xavier graduates and students about their art class experiences, and it’s been the same song: the old way of teaching art here (side note: it’s great that the old guard is gone) involved a lot of simple work that didn’t make sense to the students.  They didn’t know how basket-weaving or making collages was relevant to them.  Combine that with the strict “discipline” of the old school, it has practically crippled both students and graduates’ confidence in their creativity.  (A popular story: a former teacher would declare to the class how their works were horrible, “This is not art!”  The same guy would also crumple student work before them if they didn’t meet his standards.)

Low Expectations -> “Simple” and Irrelevant or Demeaning Teaching / Work -> Low Creativity Self-Esteem -> Poor Student Output -> Low Expectations…  It’s a downward spiral.

It’s been proven that when teachers raise their expectations of their students, student performance improves.  My fellow art teachers and I have been doing exactly that, or at least, we’re trying to.  Some context for the batch I’m handling: these guys haven’t had an art class for about 2 or so years, and their previous experiences with art have been as I had mentioned in the underestimation cycle.  I decided to teach them as much as I could, without having to baby them with “just the basics”.  I’m aware that some of my requirements could be hard for someone who is just starting to get into certain design concepts, but the fact is that my students have been able to do it.

One thing I noticed is that the best work comes from the students who worry about their work the least, which feeds the idea that confidence plays an important part in creativity.  My students may not be aware of it now, but creativity is what will separate them from the dime-a-dozen college graduates who will be applying for the same jobs as them, if they don’t actually create their own jobs.

A little tip regarding the WHY and HOW in the slides:  WHY is what the remixed school exists for, and HOW is how the school enables its students to achieve the WHY.

ART WORKS Extra-Curricular Activities Club | Group Drawing

I owe you a ton of Daily Doodles, and as a peace offering, I’d like to show you the last activity I had my Art Works club members do.  It was a group drawing activity with permanent markers and Manila paper…  I forgot to prepare for when the markers’ ink goes through the paper.  I’m just glad that none of the penis drawings transferred on the tables.

 

ART WORKS Extra-Curricular Activities Club | Group Drawing

SY 2012-2013 1st Semester Lesson 9: Logo Design, and How to Draw Something You Don’t Know How to Draw

Slides: 2012-2013 G10 L9: Logo Design, and How to Draw Something You Don’t Know How to Draw

Xavier School  |  Grade 10  |  by Josiah Gosingtian

M9 WTF

The next graded assessment was planned as a major project that would be done by groups, with (visual) remixing as its main topic.  Logo design was going to come into play, so it was only natural for me to have a quick lesson on logo design concepts before the major project.  The How to Draw Something You Don’t Know How to Draw part wasn’t part of the plan until I realized just how many of my students have asked me this question in various forms.  How do I draw this?  How do I draw that?  It seems like almost everyone got the point of this one, though, which is great.

SY 2012-2013 1st Semester Lesson 8: Color Graded Assessment / Music Interpretation

Slides: 2012-2013 G10 L8: Color Graded Assessment / Music Interpretation

Xavier School  |  Grade 10  |  by Josiah Gosingtian

M8 City

This isn’t really a lesson.  The last graded assessment was the one on Perspective and Unity, which took 3 sessions (and the days in-between them) to finish.  This one was a one-session affair.  If you want to try the activity, Toe’s music is available online.

I played a selection of Toe’s music for the duration of the session; the students were asked to create a colored illustration of anything that came to them as a result of listening to the music.  They were also asked to write a bit about their work.  (Minimum of 1 or 2 sentences, no maximum.)  They were to take the roles of graphic artists competing to produce the cover of the band’s Best of album.

SY 2012-2013 1st Semester Lesson 7: The Remix

Slides: SY 2012-2013 Lesson 7: The Remix

Xavier School  |  Grade 10  |  by Josiah Gosingtian

Our regular sessions are 60 minutes each, but there are days when special events shorten classes to 45 minutes.  The first time it happened, I tried to cram a 60-minute lesson and activity into just 45 minutes.  It didn’t work.  This lesson was something I came up with to deal with the sudden schedule change, and also to help relieve my students of their stress: on the day I was supposed to start my graded assessment on color (Lesson 8, coming up later), almost all other subjects gave out graded assessments.

This activity showed me the importance of teaching my students about “concept” and developing a concept.  It was good that they had a chance to try this one before the graded assessment, which was my first assessment that included concept as part of the grade.

SY 2012-2013 1st Semester Lesson 6: Tints, Tones, and Shades + Balance, the Rule of Thirds

Slides: 2012-2013 G10 L6: Tints, Tones, and Shades + Balance, the Rule of Thirds

Xavier School  |  Grade 10  |  by Josiah Gosingtian

M6 Eyepatch Guy

Applying the Rule of Thirds lets you create more interesting layouts, versus the regular center-oriented layout.

One thing to remember is that we’re naturally drawn to human faces.  We tend to look where their eyes are pointed towards, and if you combine this concept with the Rule of Thirds, you can create well-composed and unified images involving, well, things with faces.

When using the Rule of Thirds, balance doesn’t need to be strictly followed.  I only included it here so that I could teach as much as I can within the limited time I’ve been given with these sophomores…  You learn the rules to break them, eh?

SY 2012-2013 1st Semester Lesson 5: Color Theory

Slides: 2012-2013 G10 L5: Color Theory

Xavier School  |  Grade 10  |  by Josiah Gosingtian

M5 Carnival

While I was growing up, I was often told that I should never use too many colors, for a number of reasons that bubble down to the same thing: it’s “ugly”.  After everything I’ve learned, I’ve realized that there’s no such thing as too many colors, only well-managed and mismanaged colors.  If you’re going to use create your own color scheme, consider the methods here but don’t stop there.  In the next lesson, I will be discussing tints, tones, and shades, among other things.

One of the sample artworks in my slides is “Carnival City”, which really wasn’t called that back when I was working with my friends under Avid Liongoren, on a Rivermaya video (Sunday Driving).  The piece didn’t even look the way it did now; during a search for my own sample work that “proved” my lessons, I found the original form of the background I digitally colored.

I’m not sure what I was thinking when I put that thing on the lower left corner of the first picture, but I find it interesting now.

Anyway, I put them together and fixed it up below:

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