Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Rushing Through


Middle school art class. They were assigned an activity based on the flower paintings of Georgia O'Keeffe. Well, sort of.

The students were to observe photos of the paintings. Then they were to observe real flowers. And then they were to sketch a flower, hopefully influenced by O'Keeffe.

It's a great concept, but these were middle schoolers. Middle schoolers don't observe.

I'd barely finished explaining the assignment, and several were already "finished". Had they even looked at any of the flowers--real or painted? Nope. Several didn't have cell phones.

As happens sometimes, the students were encouraged to use their cell phones to find the images online. But many did not have cell phones. Half the class "needed" to go to the library.

I may allow a student or two to go to the library on occasion. But more than that, and I'm kind of pawning off my class on the librarian. I won't do it. So, once it became clear that they wouldn't be able to find the images on their own (and didn't have someone who would share with them--I find that claim dubious), I found a way to find images and project them for the whole class to see.

They were "finished" before I got the first image on the screen.

Mostly, ignoring the instructions, they traced the flower on the handout outlining the activity. And then played for the rest of the period. Typical.

Oh, and protip: Searching Google Images for Georgia O'Keeffe flowers yields some not safe for middle school results. I eventually found a video that did a decent job of giving an overview without my having to worry about the kiddos reading captions.

29 comments:

  1. When I taught middle school art, I made them (esp the boys;) put down their pencils until after I finished explaining the project. They were always done in five minutes flat. Ugh. Some took their time, but not many at this age.

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    1. Did that help? I find that I have to keep after them to do (or not do) anything I ask them to do :)

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  2. I didn't teach art, but when I did creative writing assignments, I had similar experiences/results. Never had to Google Georgia O'Keeffe flowers, but I can imagine the results were...varied.

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  3. I think too many in middle school take art just because it is supposedly an easy class. I don't like that schools and courses are starting to give assignments assuming children have cell phones, have high speed internet, etc. It assumes an income level and availability many don't have. Also, parents can have many reasons they don't want their child to have certain technologies at certain ages and stages.

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  4. Granted flowers aren't exciting, but that's still lame. Hope the ones that rushed see it reflected in their grade.

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  5. Hi Liz - an amazing artist and thanks for sharing the video - beautiful to see ... cheers Hilary

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  6. Odd that the teacher didn't have the images so the students could see them easily.

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    1. Ah, yes. The problem here was that the teacher had to call out suddenly. Teachers have emergencies sometimes. The lesson plans can be lacking in certain things when that happens. As a sub, I understand and make do with what I have on hand.

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  7. Oh, wow. You really earn your pay. ~grin~ I couldn't do your job.

    Okay, you want to see a photo of me? I did allow my NaNoWriMo group to capture my image for FB. You'll be able to pick me out, for sure.

    https://scontent-lga3-1.xx.fbcdn.net/v/t1.0-9/24232911_10215148417011945_9144832128045128074_n.jpg?oh=565fa506f2de01c99e1bfa8baa08e0ab&oe=5ACD1DB3

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    1. Love the butterfly dress. It's cute. Why don't you want your pic on your blog? You should do it :)

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    2. Awww... Thanks. I absolutely hate my picture since I've gained so much weight.

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    3. You've bought into the fashion industry's impossible standards. I know, it's hard to shake this whole "we have to be thin for our health" BS. I've been following body positivity people for some time now, and it's a bit of a reprogramming, but it helps to feel good about who you are right now.

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    4. So true. ~hugs~ It doesn't help that my hair is thinning. May need to look at sugar levels. Diabetes runs in my family and my father's hair thinned out before his diagnosis.

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    5. Definitely be careful about diabetes. Scary stuff, that.

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  8. I wish I could remember jr high art class. I do remember high school art class. -loved it. The teacher, however, did not seem thrilled with most of us. We were stoner idiots, mainly. -still loved drawing though.

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    1. It's fun when the students are interested in art. Some of them are a joy to be around. And when I have a class where they're working... They have the oddest conversations while they're working. Fun groups.

      It's just the art classes where they took it for the easy A. Those are the students that I end up having issues with. (And they find out soon enough that it's not really an easy A.)

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  9. The second I saw her name I was like OMG please don't tell me someone googled it. Wow things could have gotten awkward.

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  10. This is one reason why a good friend of mine had bad headaches due to stress when he was teaching high school students art, never mind middle schoolers. I would have loved doing this

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  11. Middle graders without cell phones? Is it a sign of the apocalypse?

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  12. Not sure if I could do the assignment being influenced by O'Keefe to draw a flower. But then I was never good at art myself.

    betty

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  13. Thank you for including the video. I enjoyed watching that. I was once told by my teacher, after painting my very first iris, that the iris was one of the hardest flowers to paint. Thinking that meant I messed it up but then she said, "but you captured it perfectly"....perfect was not a word she used often and I rubbed it in with the class each time I got one! haha

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    1. You were talented from a young age. I can see that.

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  14. I've said it before, but I'll say it again. I've been where you are, but couldn't do it anymore. God bless you!

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  15. There's a boy I recently got to know that showed me his sketches. They were juvenile of course (because he's young)but I found quite a few things in the efforts that he made that I singled out as remarkable (because they were). I could see he was paying attention to rules of facial proportions, i.e., eyes being located halfway down the oval of a face, bottom of the nose is half again between eyes and chin, etc. I could see he was making effort to shade and to show detail. Each time I found something in his drawings, which I stared at for some time, he seemed delighted that I'd noticed something and pointed it out to him. I'm not an official "teacher" but I did show him some techniques that I find useful, and I also suggested that he find a way to graduate up from crayon (even though a disciplined person can do nice things with crayon--oil pastel anyone?) I have some strong feelings about art. One of them is that teaching art as a class does a disservice to it. Art historically was accomplished as an apprenticeship, which allowed someone that was very skilled to pass on that skill through hours and hours of toil, criticism, and attention to detail. I was lucky that I had tons of time in high school to basically apprentice myself to a master artist for most of the school day. I've taken those things that I've learned with me, and to this day I draw on my canvas at home.

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  16. I am terrible at drawing and I don't understand why anyone would want to take an art class in high school unless they are forced to. With that being said I think these kids will face a lot of difficulties in the future unless they soon learn how to deal with instructions. Many of them don't care!

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    1. I wasn't an art person either. But some really like art. You should see some of the amazing things they can do, even at the high school level.

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