SY 2012-2013 2nd Semester Lesson 8: Color & Detailing Graded Assessment

Slides: 2012-2013 G9 L8: Color & Detailing Graded Assessment

Xavier School  |  Grade 9  |  by Josiah Gosingtian

G9 L8 featured image

This was the last assessment for my freshmen for the school year. Knowing that the school had a printing office, I decided to see if I could make worksheets for this assessment, and it worked out.  I wanted my students to think about how they could achieve a design objective with as much creativity as they could flex within limits.  (They say that creativity is about working with limitations, after all.)  Xavier School has a system for assessments called GRASPS, which is a guide for creating “authentic assessments” that mimic real-world demands.  The mimicry isn’t always perfect, or close to perfect, as a lot is fictional; it’s close to roleplay, actually, with students having to imagine that their audiences are film producers, art critics, contest judges, and so on.  (I used the GRASPS system for previous assessments.)  Based on what I wanted to do, I didn’t feel like the system would work, so I abandoned it for a creative brief.

I had 12 sets of worksheets, ranging from “Notorious Outlaw Bandit” to “Holy Good King”.  (Download the set here.)  Drawing guides were included on the sheets to help ensure that I was testing really was color and detailing (and technique).  As said in the slides for this assessment, they could interpret the words however they wanted.  I had a student create a cyborg for “Warrior Guardian Monk”; he explained that his concept was a monk from a Temple of Mars.  (I’ll put up some of their work here later on.)

In hindsight, I could have made it more fun by changing the “role” of the students from job applicant to actual character designer.  Something for next time, for sure. 🙂

PS It was embarrassing to have printed out worksheets that featured guides with wrong proportions.  Why did I alter the original?!  Ah, an art teacher’s learning curve…


SY 2012-2013 2nd Semester Lesson 5: Character Design Graded Assessment

Slides: 2012-2013 G9 L5: Character Design Graded Assessment

Xavier School  |  Grade 9  |  by Josiah Gosingtian

G9 L5 featured image

As with my previous lesson featuring Concept, Planning, and Execution (Grade 10 Lesson 10), I wanted to reinforce the idea that design is about solving problems.  The context tells us about the direction/s we can take.  “Is this going to work?  Does this appeal to our target audience?  Does it make sense?”  A successful output for this assessment would have to be able to address the project’s requirements; the concept and design always goes back to the audience.  If it doesn’t “sell”, then it’s not going to work.

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.

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 4: Perspective, Unity

Slides: 2012-2013 G10 L4: Perspective, Unity

Xavier School  |  Grade 10  |  by Josiah Gosingtian

M4 Sketchy Dudes

Applying perspective takes a lot of work, which is why I suggested that my students make thumbnails first.  It helps to have a lot of thumbnails to choose from; going straight to the actual work can waste time if you end up disliking the design.

While doing the steps in the practice slides, think about what happens when you place objects beside each other on the space.  How would it look if you put something above the box?

I deal with these questions by doing a demo in front of my class.  I show them how to draw, say, a train or a house, objects that have multiple parts.  A house would have walls, and for regular ones, a roof.  If the roof is a pyramid shape, you can figure out where to place the center tip by taking the midpoints of the sides of the shape (the base) created by the intersections of the lines from the vanishing point (phew, quite a mouthful) and connecting them to the point on the opposite side.  You’ll have a cross shape.  Draw a straight vertical line from that point (yes, perpendicular to the horizon line).  Figure out how high you’d like your pyramid to go by placing a dot on the vertical line.  Connect the dot to the corners of the base.  Erase the guides.  BOOM!  Shelter.

Think of it like Legos.  You can build all sorts of things with using perspective lines!

A bunch of my students started freaking out when I got deeper into the lesson, which made it harder for me to advance.  It was a wall of sound, man.  “So hard,” they shouted.  “We can’t do that.”  But when I looked at what they did when we did it step-by-step, I could see that they got it.  They could do it.  So with my next classes, I decided to let them freak out before my lesson.  Make all the noise you want to make for 5 seconds.  It seems like it energizes them and it helps them focus on the lesson more.  So if you’re stuck with something, anything you’re doing, go somewhere and scream your lungs out!  YEAH!  Just don’t forget to get back to work. 😉

To my students who are reading this, consider: you were able to do it.  Step-by-step.  You got the basics, and that’s really all you need to build your backgrounds.  Some of you felt intimidated by the idea of even just starting the project, but believe in your ability; you were able to do it earlier, so don’t give up now. 🙂


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