This past week was the last full week of school for us… two more days next week. It really doesn’t feel like summer. The weather in PA/MD has been unusually cooler than summer time weather.
My students finished their self portrait projects and they look fantastic!! I am thrilled with the quality and unique character of each portrait. They really brought the year home with this project.
I asked for feedback from them on the class structure this year. We had a station based classroom with theme projects. Choice based art education. This was my first year fully implementing a choice based class. When I asked them what they thought about the class most loved it, but some had a hard time with such open-endedness. There was always a handful of students who just couldn’t get into themselves enough to figure out what they wanted to do. Having choice for them made the projects a lot more difficult. I would never have expected that to be the case… I mean if a teacher told me I could do whatever I wanted, how ever I wanted (in the small guidelines given) I would’ve been ecstatic! But I realized this year that it’s actually difficult for some middle school students because they don’t know what they want, or have never been given the opportunity to explore and experiment enough to find out what they want and like.
So next year I will have a few more options and a little more structure in the studio and theme projects. I will spend more time teaching what artistic behaviors are, and allowing them time to explore themselves through these behaviors. In the beginning of the year I will focus more on how artists think in order to make a shift in their mindset on art and being an artist.
I also noticed this year I spent a lot of time reminding the students of the classroom rules: Be respectful, responsible, grateful, honest and kind. Next year I will incorporate these rules into the artistic behaviors and really stress the importance of these through constantly connecting each thing we do in class and as artists to how we can treat the studio and each other better.
I am so looking forward to next year already and summer hasn’t even started yet!!