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 feedback. 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 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 of 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 walkthrough, 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 student’s 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