Monday, August 22, 2011

Lesson Number One

I am 4/5 of the ways through my day and I'm happy to report that it's going pretty swimmingly so far. One more class (2D Design - one of the foundational courses) to go that will finish out my day and then a faculty meeting to debrief the day's events. Funny how this is the first day back of the school year after being out of the classroom since June because it certainly doesn't feel like that to me! I actually feel like I never took a break from last school year and I'm simply picking up where I left off.

My class plans for today were to establish classroom procedures and seating arrangements, distribute and go through the syllabus, and address any student concerns or issues of scheduling. I've had a few students missing from my roster that I thought I would have but also a few more who have stepped right in to take the spots that I thought were already filled.

Something else of the first days' activities? I gave a pop quiz of sorts to the three sections of Graphic Design I have this year...


I got this item from the source linked above and thought it would be a clever and real attention-getting way to start off the course. It wasn't intended so much to force them to be on their toes right off but more to illustrate the importance of obeying the order of operations that exists with regard to learning certain software platforms   that we will be using. In my own experience with teaching Photoshop, about half of the students I instruct have a major challenge with dealing with the challenge that learning software presents - especially in their advanced stage of skill at this point since they've worked their way through a significant amount of the visual art courses here. They want to just GO(!) and make something already and they can't so easily do that in photoshop. They end up skipping through tutorials with overconfidence of what their previous abilities have let them do until they finally get to a point of not being able to go anywhere or coming even close to finishing. The little pop quiz above really drives home the importance of having the greatest attention to detail possible and in a clever but pointedly humorous way. I'm so thankful for other Art educators/bloggers like Kathy Barbro (her blog is where I found the test) who so kindly share things for me to be able to implement in my classroom. What good are we as community of art educators if we don't share our clever ideas, right?

So that's about where I am today. I'm working on getting sketchbooks assigned to the students so they can start using them to do thumbnails for their first projects - Name Tangles  (a lesson idea from another wonderfully brilliant art educator/blogger) with Scratch-art and the graphic design class will be working on rending a photograph into a realistic looking jigsaw puzzle. Both are wonderfully approachable lesson ideas to help build confidence to start off while still creating something that can be visually complex.

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