Monday, April 15, 2013

Co-Teaching Art Education with Youtube :: Teaching how to paint realistic clouds

How do you feel about co-teaching methodology? Is it something you use at all? Do you like it? Love it? Or could you honestly just leave it?

I teach at a private high school currently but I used to teach core subject (Reading and then Social Studies) in a public middle school. While I don't have a requirement to use the co-teaching model anymore - both because of where and what I teach - I, honestly, miss it. Whether in a special education setting or not, I feel like it's an effective way to teach students especially for certain things. Now, visual art education is not something that would typically have co-teaching even in the public school because it's usually restricted to special education settings for core subjects alone. However, that doesn't stop me from trying to bring it into my visual art education classroom. Sometimes an extra set of hands in the classroom for the sole purpose of doing "hand over hand" type guiding would be awesome and it occurred to me that I could make it happen with the extra set of hands being my own!

Perhaps I am behind the game on this but I am discovering that Youtube is a wonderfully useful instructional tool to use in the art classroom specifically for the following reasons:

  • You can start and stop it or replay portions of it as often as needed
  • In real time demos, sometimes you can't redo certain steps but maybe one time for the students to see again so it can feel like you are using unnecessary amounts of materials. 
  • When you are doing real-time demos you also can't see the students doing things alongside you as easily because you are the one in the front of the class. 
  • If the students end up really going in the wrong direction while following you (in a real-time demo), they keep going that way (and using unnecessary amounts of materials, in turn) until it's too late to stop them. Of course, you can use their misstep as a teachable moment like anything else but? Well... I don't have an exorbitant amount of materials to use like this - do you?
  • Youtube or streamed video almost always yields a captive audience for this age-group. Even if the video is bad? Well, it's that much more compelling for them to watch from beginning to end.
First off, picking the right Youtube video is key. I have about 53 minutes of instructional time but even with that much time, I have to consider getting the students set up with their materials and then the stopping and starting and replaying of the video that will inevitably happen. Through trial and error I have discovered that five minutes running time is about the most ideal. Below is a video that runs slightly longer than that but not so much that you can't make up the time with just fast forwarding through it. 

Here are some samples of what was turned out! Bear in mind that many of these student artists have incredibly limited experience in the studio arts. The 2D Design class is a foundational course which means many of them have never taken a high school art course before and maybe even never will again since taking this course satisfies a half fine art credit that they need for graduation. Considering all of the aforementioned, I would say the student work is very successful.

Some of my goals with this were the following:

  • Quick(-ish) skill building for the purposes of having more successful and realistic finished works in the Place of Grace painting project that they are about to embark on. 
  • Help them to realize the importance of the integrity of the marks they leave in their work so they are more painterly and, in turn, produce more realistic depictions of things in the end
  • Teach them to paint what they see vs. what they think a cloud looks like
  • Build confidence within them so they can see that doing something the right way can be learned relatively easily, can be very fun, and makes a huge difference in the quality of their work in the end
  • Show them how to use color AND value together along with layering in order to show depth and dimension on a 2D surface
  • Prove to the students the importance and power of following directions just as they are given because it really does produce stronger and better results in the end
  • Complete an assessment for the creative processing of their individual paintings
Something that can be done in conjunction with this for the sake of really strong experiential learning and connection is by having them do a quick exercise before this where they draw/paint what they think a cloud looks like with no reference whatsoever about how it really should be done. They will likely draw the puffy, cartoon-like clouds and be convinced that is not only adequate but even successful visual depictions overall. Once they do the follow along with the Youtube demo at least one time they will see how easy it is to draw/paint realistic clouds and they will want to do it that way because it honestly does look so much better. 

Tomorrow I will show you one more round of co-teaching with youtube along with student work that was before the demo and after they had completed it. I will also discuss where to take this skill-building and how to connect it with others in order to have a series of assessments to evaluate them from in the end.  

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