Sunday, May 14, 2017

Transitions in the Artroom: Hands-On Demo, pt. 2

In my first post about the hands-on demo part of your class structure, I explained how I got everyone in place and ready to learn - Whew!

Now it's time to start the demo - On my demo table, all the materials the kids will use that day are laid out. I have labels, if necessary, spelling the terms (and simple definitions) for the students so they connect the written word to the object - crayons, oil pastel, paintbrush, tooling foil, brayer, etc. Start your demo going over this media vocabulary as well as the terms for the technique/standard/principle/element that day. The final 30+ years of my teaching career was spent with a HIGH percentage of English Language Learners at school. Chances are the only place those kids are going to see some of these words are in your classroom! Have a word wall to post these words as you introduce them to your groups and keep the words up year-round. Categorize the vocabulary by grade level but you'll be exposing everyone!

If time permits, create step-by-step examples ahead of demos. I prefer to only introduce one step per class - by the time we make it through all the components of a class, there may be only 10 - 20 minutes of hands-on project time. Always review what was done in previous classes (because somebody has been absent or you gained a new student or two). These examples help in a pinch for those kids who show up on the last day of a six part/class project. Give them an example to finish and they can jump in & gain exposure to using the media while working alongside the others! Grades are optional if they did less than half the steps by themselves. It gives you a glimpse of their visual and listening skills - file the info away for future projects.

As a project approaches the end of the process or when you won't be introducing a new step, use the demo time to critique in-progress student work. Use student work from a different class. So, projects from A group in 5th grade are critiqued by B group in 5th grade. Choose 3 examples - 'A', 'B' and 'C' work. With each artwork, have students point out what's working and what needs improvement. Teach respectful comments and do NOT reveal the student names of the work being analyzed. The goal here is for students to reflect on their own work once it's passed out. Hopefully, they will use the discussion to guide their choices when completing their assignments.

When time's up for the demo, you need to quickly transition to the next activity - passing out supplies. After calling table helpers to the distribution area to wait for your directions, dismiss the standing students first - reminding them to walk to their places. Seated students go next once traffic clears then finally students at the demo tables put tables back into the correct area & everybody except helpers are seated in their places - Ta Da!

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