For the past three years I have done most of my tech work in virtual worlds. Recently I have moved my resources to the Reaction Grid which is extremely kid and teacher friendly.
I have been documenting my students’ artwork for many years and wanted to share with other teachers on the RG. Using the building tools available, I created a four floor structure to house the displays.
I haveplaced note cards in the information objects about the various developmental levels from the scribble stage to pseudo realistic. The small rows of drawings are comprised of single Hyperstudio screens done by kindergarteners and became the border for their graduation certificates.
The display on the left includes drawings done by one of my K5 students. We lost him to a garage door accident just prior to his starting first grade, so these computer drawings became very important to his parents and were engraved in bronze on his monument.
The snowmen on the blue backgrounds were programmed on Apple IIGS computers. The animals in the upper right were created by 5th graders using drawing tools in Clarisworks, drawing multiple shapes and then grouping them to become a single object.
I combined art history and technology in a long term project which included a Blackboard component, creation of an art style definition, and small groups recreating their choice of a well known artwork. Students worked with a grid but the real object of that activity was the color and shape matching.
We do right brain exercises and specific exercises that emphasize overlapping, surface, size, thickness, shading and cast shadow. In 4th grade we do complex drawings with a grid, but in 5th grade, grids are no longer necessary.
Since I had students from various grade levels, I took the few opportunities I had in Wisconsin to take them outside. By having all students drawing the same tree from the same viewpoint on the same day, it gave me the visual examples of developmental levels.
Along with all the art history projects which include Matisse, Cezanne, Picasso, Van Gogh, O’Keeffe, etc., you can see samples of anime’, patterning, and some tessellations.
For a few years, I was lucky enough to offer a variety of electives for middle school students. One of the most popular was the Marvel Comic Style drawing class.
In the lower left are samples of cartoons done after spending time practicing gesture drawing. If students do not get concrete instruction in human proportion and action, they start to notice who can draw people and who can’t and those who struggle stop putting humans into their drawing narratives.
In addition to the calligraphy being very popular as an elective, students also loved to work on Secret City perspective. It was originally taught on the Learning Channel by Disney animator Bruce McIntyre. One of his students, Mark Kistler, went on to become a very well known children’s television educator on his show, The Imagination Station.
I never had a budget for art supplies, so my curriculum was drawing heavy, but I made sure my kids had gouache, good brushes, and good watercolor paper in order to do proper color mixing. The self portraits were based on digital pictures which were posterized using Photoshop elements.
The alphabets on the left were created using drawing tools in Word. Each letter was created from multiple shapes and grouped as a single letter so they could use their alphabets to create a PowerPoint slide with their name on it. We let the slide show run on one computer during open house since back then we had no presentation device.
On the right you see a pen and ink lesson based on the artists Bridget Riley and Victor Vasserelly. We taught the students how to bisect angles and create arcs in order to create the illusion of a globe.
On the right you can see samples from a 3D construction project that focused on the concepts of organic and inorganic shapes, warm and cool colors, positive and negative space, and positive words. Older students need to have hands on activities and in virtual worlds they get those same opportunities with almost unlimited resources.
I love the idea of a hybrid course that allows for the visceral engagement of real art materials, but also want my students to know how to work with computer graphics. These activities also support the concept of angles, degrees, and rotation while learning how to use many of the Photoshop or Gimp tools.
I wrote a children’s book that deals with resilience and also is tied to specific works of art. It provides a great opportunity for discussions about reasons children do not want to go to school and is written in rhyming verse.
Students can log in as either child or teen avatars on the Reaction Grid and explore a world of strong visuals created in PowerPoint and brought into the virtual world as a texture which can be then applied to an object created as a special size or shape.
I hope to use not only the visual resources you see here, but also have students create their own objects. Students as young as kindergarten can help create 3D sequences, change colors, learn about shapes and forms, all the while learning the language of art.