Cheralynn Johnston – Artist and Educator

imageI’ve been teaching high school art since 2000.  I took a couple of years off and went to SCAD and earned an MFA in Painting.  I really thought I was going back to the classroom “for a year” to figure out life and finances after grad-school.  This Fall I will be starting my 7th year at Salinas High School and 17th year teaching.  Needless to say I truly love my job.

A few years ago Salinas High School District offered 1:1 chromebooks for our students.  At first I really didn’t know how this technology would be an asset to the art room, but I was eager to figure it out.  It’s put the spark back into creating lessons and totally changed the way I teach.

I am pleased to share with you what is working for me and my students.  If you have any questions please feel free to ask.  I love knowing I am not only teaching my students, but being able to share and collaborate with teachers around the world.

 

One Point Perspective Boxes

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The first time I taught this was the year I student taught.  I was using a chalk board with a gigantic 90′ triangle.  It was a total disaster.  The day resulted in a completely deflated first year teacher and a room of equally confused students.  I am sure the only trauma caused was my own because I remember the day like it was yesterday.  Thankfully this lesson has gotten to be a lot easier to present and has evolved over the years.  If you are using 1:1 devices this lesson is going to be a breeze!  Students will teach themselves and you will have the freedom to float around to assist those in need.  For the years before 1:1 devices entered my room I went through the slide show step by step on the overhead projector, this was good too!

At the beginning of this slide show I show 3 different ways to go about completing this lesson.  Everyone does things a little different and by offering a few ways to accomplish this task it gives students a choice to use what is comfortable for them.

One of the things I really like about the online community is being able to collaborate with teachers in cyberspace.  Are you following “The Helpful Art Teacher“?   Rachel Wintemberg is from the East Coast and teaches at Perth Amboy High School in New Jersey.  She is one of my favorite teachers to follow because she is friendly and has a wealth of information.  You will find her amazing how to video on slide #4.  I love that she is teaching in my room right along side of me!

I have a ton if ideas for this lesson next year.  I want to include Prisma Color pencil techniques and talk about shading with a light source.  The lesson evolves and teaching has definitely gotten easier and less deflating!

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Link to Web-Published Hyper-Doc: 1 Point Perspective Boxes

Link to Google-Slide Presentation (you can edit and make it yours): 1 Point Perspective Boxes

Link to the criteria handout in English and Spanish

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Charcoal Flowers – Padlet – Flip Grid – Critique Tokens

Am I nuts or what???  I went to Oaxaca for Dia De Los Muertos and had a sub deliver a charcoal project!  My room needs a serious scrub down, but their work looks fabulous.  I meticulously planned this lesson so my students would be busy and productive while I was gone.  For the most part the plan worked, but of course I do have several students who might as well have been on vacation with me.

The first step is to draw two contour line drawings of fresh cut flowers.  The room looks so cheery and fun with flowers placed on all of their desks.  I just love it!  I also like that their time is limited due to wilting and manhandling.

Next, they learn about Georgia O’Keeffe.  I used Padlet and FlipGrid to collect their responses.  For this assignment I ask them to post an art image and a fact about O’Keeffe using Padelt.  Padlet is like an online bulletin board that is great because the learning is student driven.  I review and pull important facts from the bulletin boards as I give my spiel on O’Keeffe’s life.  I ask them to respond to a couple questions about an O’Keeffe quote using FlipGrid.  FlipGrid is a video recording program that I like because everyone (well, everyone who actually does it) participates in feed back.  What I don’t like about FlipGrid is our students are camera shy… go figure, right!?!?!  I tell them it’s an important platform due to our world becoming cyberspace based for job interviews and business meetings.  I give them a day to reply because some students feel more comfortable responding from home.  When we talk about their responses as a class the overall discussion is more lively because they have had time to think about what they are going to say.

Georgia O’Keeffe’s composition techniques are used to introduce the criteria for the next part of the assignment.  They design a composition by cropping their favorite flower sketch and start the charcoal process.  I have created a video that documents this process and have incorporated it into the slide show.  I feel this project works because I have scaffolded it to be delivered after the “Introduction to Charcoal” and abstract project. Once they have completed their flower masterpiece they add a page to their digital portfolio documenting their work.  Finally, we have a class critique using critique tokens.

I’ve been using critique tokens during our gallery walks to facilitate a group critique. The first exercise of the year is a little rough, but as we advance in projects there is a noticeable improvement.  I give them a sheet of paper with 9 squares. Each square says something different. Some examples for the comments I gave for this particular assignment are “this project has the best craftsmanship out of the room” or “this project has a nice range of values.”  As a class we talk about why each remark might be assigned to a project.  I ask them to cut their tokens out and put their names on the back of each.  We then do our first gallery walk where they can not put their tokens down.  On our second walk through they place their tokens next to the project they feel deserves the critique comment.  Once everyone has returned to their seats and have looked through their tokens I ask who has received “xyz” token.  Hands go up, and I try to pick a project that I agree deserves that token.  Once the assigning students name is revealed he or she is asked to explain why they made their comment.  Sometimes I have to coach them on expanding past “I just like it” by asking leading questions.  In time, as we do more critiques I will limit the amount of verbiage on the tokens, have them fill in the blank or write their own comment.  It might feel like pulling teeth at first, but it’s a great tool to facilitate a meaningful class discussion.

Link to web-published version of the slide show: Web-published Charcoal Flowers

Link to editable Google Slide show: Google Slide Show Charcoal Flowers

Link to critique tokens: Charcoal critique tokens

Introduction to Charcoal

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Have you played Kahoot?  The game fell on a Monday, which was prefect for a review of materials and a scheduled observation.  Talk about a fun lesson to do with teenagers!  I know charcoal is a messy medium, but I love it.  Some of my students don’t enjoy the challenge, but their end results sure look great.  I went step by step with them and filled out digital notes as we watched a slew of “how to” videos.  Having a flipped room for reviewing information is rewarding because they are literally telling you about the supplies vs. you standing in front of them lecturing.  Not to mention a really successful abstract charcoal drawing as the end result.  This lesson is really worth it!

Link to published version: Introduction to Charcoal

Link to editable Google Slide Show: Introduction to Charcoal

Grid Drawings

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I am kicking myself for not being a rule breaker to my own rule years ago.  Isn’t it weird when you set rules for yourself and end up just going along with them.  In the past I have asked my students to glue down half the photocopy, for what reason?  Actually, I do know why.  This exercise helps beginning artists see and match value.  Is it necessary?  No!  My students have been doing such a great job this year with shading I didn’t see the point.  I changed this lesson at the last minute and gave them the option to glue or not to glue.  Nobody glued and I am so glad.  I love seeing these drawing hanging on the wall and they are so proud of them.

During this project I introduced some peer and self-critique activities.  I think having students participate in critiquing each other is very powerful.  First of all, they are harder on themselves than I would ever be.  Secondly, it is hard for me to talk to every student each period.  I feel peer critiques give students focus and drive to keep working on their projects.  If you don’t utilize peer critiques yet, try it you won’t be sorry.

Link to published slideshow: Grid Drawings

Link to editable slideshow: Grid Drawings

Rulers and Grids

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“Teaching the grid method is an easy thing to teach,”  says, NO art teacher ever.  I think the first hurtle is making sure everyone understands how to use a ruler.  Let’s face it, fractions are not easy for everyone to grasp and there are a ton of little lines jammed into a very tiny space.  Measuring can be confusing.  I think this lesson has made the process a little less stressful.  I even left it for my students to use with a sub, how crazy is that!?!?   To my surprise almost everyone did a fantastic job.  I hope this helps you out in the land of “Rulers and Grids”.

Link to web-published slide show: Rulers and Grids

Link to editable slide show: Rulers and Grids

Link to Marvin the Martian 1/2″ grid

 

Personal Monuments

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This lesson is not my lesson, but one borrowed from an amazing teacher, Thomas W. Darneau.  We both belong to an art education group on Facebook.  I have learned so much from teachers who share their lessons in cyber-space.  I greatly appreciate this forum because I don’t have the opportunity to collaborate with other art teachers very often.  I feel I have learned more from art teachers around the world than I have during professional development days with paid speakers.  The digital world has really brought us all closer.

I am using this project as an introduction project with my advanced students.  I have enjoyed this project because it has given me the chance to re-teach some basic techniques using graphite or charcoal.  I was also able to introduced some basic composition guidelines.  My students applied these concepts to their still life photoshoots, which creates their source material.  I gave them the choice of using graphite or charcoal.  I lean towards charcoal and hope they will to, but I don’t force them to use it.  It was a lot of fun to watch them work!

Link to web-based: Personal Monument Project

Link to editable slide show: Personal Monument

Geometric Still Life

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Out of all the things we teach, this isn’t my favorite lesson to deliver.   I’m going on my seventeenth year of teaching and teach six classes a day…. that’s a lot of spheres, cubes, and cylinders.  I have to say, I love using videos to demonstrate the meat of this lesson.  It’s great to walk by a desk and see a student rewatching a video a second or third time.  Of course I sit and shade with my students for most of the period.  In fact, I have more time to shade with them because I am not spending the class period demonstrating in the front of the room.  The ones “who get it” are moving along and my strugglers are able to receive one-on-one attention.  The overall success rate in the classroom right now is pretty high and that is the reward that keeps me going from sphere to sphere to sphere.

Web-based version of a Google Slide show: Geometric Still Life

Editable Google Slide Show: Geometric Still Life