Tuesday, March 6, 2012

First Day in the High School

On Friday, March 2, I had my first meeting with Mr. R in the local high school. It was very exciting to get to see where I was going to be spending at least 15 hours before the end of the semester. Mr R. had me introduce myself to the students in both of the classes I will be visiting each week, and he made sure to let them know what he expects of me and what they should expect from me as well. He also stated that the students are to utilize me for my age, being only 21 and so close to age as most of the students, I can be a reference regarding college, university art programs and so on. Some of the students seemed very friendly and happy to have a new face, while others had a little attitude toward the whole situation. (I'm sure they have seen many Stout teachers in their hallways over their high school career!) Overall, it was a great first day, and I enjoyed getting to know each student and which part of their project they were on.

The first class I observed was a beginning 3D course. The students are still working on their first project, casting rings. The high school has an amazing room for 3D art, with all of the equipment for casting, polishing and soldering metals. It was such a great environment, it made me jealous that I didn't get to experience something that great while I was in high school! The class had about 25 students that were all in different parts of their project. Most of the students were working on filing and sanding their rings, while a few students were finished with their ring altogether, some were still carving their wax molds, and other students were just finishing the investment in the casting canisters. One student asked me if I could show her how to work the buffing machine, and of course I wanted to be able to do that, but because it was my first time in the room, I made sure to ask Mr. R to help us both so I would know where all of his materials were. I actually learned more than she did when he was demonstrating how to use the machine and which steps to do first!

While walking around the room, I learned that the students had many sketchbook assignments prior to casting their rings. I love the way Mr. R utilizes the sketchbook assignments and rubrics. At the beginning of each class, he hands out the rubrics for all of the art projects in the semester. It is the student's responsibility to hang onto these rubrics and turn them in with each assignment. If they forget or lose the rubrics, they can easily be found online. (Although he said many students get their grades knocked down because they forget that they can get them offline)

After the 3D class was finished, we moved across the hall to the 2D room (It is awesome to have two separate spaces! Once again, they are very lucky!) for beginning 2D class. This is the class that I will be preparing a lesson for. Because I have a specialty in drawing, I will be working on an introductory lesson for the self portrait or a woodcutting lesson. It should be very fun!

On Friday, the introductory 2D class was working on a Kandinsky inspired abstract drawing. Using colored pencils, the students were coloring various shapes throughout their compositions. It was interesting to see how many students had a meaning to what they were creating and how many were just drawing whatever they wanted. Once again, this was the first project in the 2D class, but they had many sketchbook assignments and thumbnails to turn in to Mr. R.

This will be a very fun class to work with because there seemed to be a more cohesive group of students. The 3D class had many visible cliques, while this one seemed to be a bit more fluid. Maybe it is my comfort zone to prefer 2D, or maybe I was more comfortable at the high school after an hour, but I really enjoyed the last class of the day.

For the last 25 minutes of school, each student in the high school has a study hall period where they can work on homework. Mr. R provides a sign up sheet for students to enter his room and work on their art projects. Over 32 students were in the classroom, and were all working on something different. Ceramics (throwing, hand-building and glazing), art metals (soldering and finishing) and 2D art were projects being worked on. Everyone was asking Mr. R where things were, and for various instructions. It was very hectic, but Mr. R said that he is used to it, and that he has a great group of students who are very responsible. This last 25 minutes will give me a lot of time to ask Mr. R about his job and any advice that he has for me in the future. I was able to ask him why he became an art teacher, and the influences he had while becoming an art educator (I will write a specific post about this!)

I really think I will enjoy my time with Mr. R and the high school students. It should be a big difference between the elementary classroom last semester!

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