Thursday, December 19, 2013

Last Minute Winter Wonderlands

My 6th graders have been dying to do a "holiday" project. The poor dears, they just aren't quite willing to accept that the days of hard-core, holiday-crafting-at-school are over.

But, as a special treat, I've allowed them these (probably waaay too easy for 6th grade) Winter Wonderlands for the last three days of this nine weeks.





Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Lesson Plan: Turning Sculptures into Animated Gifs


In January, my 8th graders and I will be embarking on a series of studies about animation. I love animation. The more I learn about animation, the more I love, love, love (love!) it. In fact, I've even written about animation a few times on this blog, and have even made a full click-by-click wiki on how to lead your own stop-motion animation unit.

In order to prepare my students, we are working on a "baby" animation project prior to the winter holidays. I want the students to have a basic understanding of the process, and I want them to be excited to work on larger-scale (and thereby more frustrating) projects.

Image from here
I've seen different versions of this charming clothespin project all over the internet. While it is probably a little bit too elementary for my middle school students, I knew I had to find a way to incorporate it into a larger Art unit. After a bit of thinking, I knew it would work great to mash this sweet, crafty sculpture with some basic gif animation.

Gifs, in case you don't know, are images in bitmap format and they support only 256 colors. Basically, gif images have to be more simplistic than say jpeg or vector images. Gifs also support very basic animation; you can tell your file format to show different images (think slides) with timed delays. It sounds complicated, but it really is not. There are all sorts of websites and free software that allow you to make gifs (type "gif generator" into Google). You can also make gifs with Adobe Photoshop.  I've been making gifs with Gimp, which is a free photo-editing software (similar to Photoshop Elements, but free). Incidentally, if you are looking for quality, free, photo-editing software, Gimp is it!

My students have been using Pixlr thus far to edit photos. I'm in the process of getting administrative approval to load Gimp onto a whole lab of computers. But, until that time, I'm Pixlr-dependent. Pixlr, while awesome (it's free, it's a website, and has an almost exact interface as Photoshop Elements), is not able to make gifs. But, you can make individual images to serve as frames, and then load these frames into a gif generator like Picasion.

Again, if you are new to gifs this all sounds confusing. . .Trust me, it is not hard!!

Here's what we did (and directions on how we did it):
1. We learned how to make clothespin sculptures. Here is a great pic that explains that.
2. Students took 2 pictures of their clothespin sculpture. In one picture the pin is closed, in the other it is open. Students tried to keep the same exact composition for both. To make life easier, I had them take their pictures in front of a "green screen" (a green sheet of paper; it makes editing backgrounds easier).


3. Students uploaded images to the computer
4. Students manipulated their images in Pixlr in order to get 2 "frames" for their animation. I have a full set of (editable) click-by-click directions on how to do this in Pixlr right here (be not afraid!).


5. Students uploaded their "frames" to Picasion
6. Students saved their gifs and shared them on Edmodo

ENJOY!
P.S. If you/your students make this project; share it with me. I would soo love that!
P.P.S. If you need some awesome gif-spiration check out these ah-mazing artists:
http://iwdrm.tumblr.com/
http://rrrrrrrroll.tumblr.com/
http://hateplow.tumblr.com/
http://julianglander.com/
http://daingifs.tumblr.com/
http://clairemariechristerson.com/


Thursday, December 5, 2013

Classroom Management in the Art room: When You Need Help

I’ve written a lot about how to manage behavior, materials, and students in the Art classroom.  But, what happens when your interventions and management fail?  Read any text book about classroom management, and you are led to believe that if you only follow these simple (ha!) processes and/or “raise your expectations” the students will behave and your classroom will be a well-managed environment. And, in some environments, “raising your expectations” does work.  

I don’t want to rain on anyone’s parade, but I’ve worked in a lot of environments wherein my first, second, and third attempts at different methods of classroom management have failed. The textbooks (and some expert teachers) may not want to admit it, but classroom management isn’t as simple as process(es) 1-2-3. The reason relates to the complex cultural nature of modern classrooms. Too often, teachers and students are in a cultural conflict when it comes to values, rules, consequences, and what is considered appropriate and “good” behavior (interested in cultural conflict and critical multiculturalism in the classroom? Read Start Where You Are, But Don’t Stay There: Understanding Diversity, Opportunity Gaps, and Teaching in Today's Classrooms by Milner, 2010).  

It can be so disheartening when your classroom management fails; it is hard to not take it personally. We all got into teaching because we want to provide students with positive learning environments. Knowing that we may have contributed to the failure of our academic environment is the most soul-sucking feeling.  And, this feeling of failure often means teachers are reluctant to ask for help . . . After all, who wants to tell their principal, “Hey, I’m really not doing so well at this teaching thing.”

So, what do you do when you feel “trapped” by that hour a day you spend with the most out-of-control class on the planet?   Here are a few suggestions:

1.       First, shake off (as best you can) those feelings of failure. EVERY teacher has been where you are.  And, if they claim they haven’t; they are liars (big ones). As Scarlet O’Hara said, “Tomorrow is another day.” You can’t change what has happened in your classroom, but you can work to be a positive force of change in your classroom. The desire to change and taking action to change are the two most important and meaningful steps you can make when you’re in a failing situation.  

2.       Read the Essential 55 by Ron Clark and implement the rules and consequences appropriate to your classroom. Possible risks: the students balk the rules and you are spending a lot of time calling parents and meting out consequences. But, it works, and you have a running classroom again. I’ve never had the Essential 55 fail me, and I’ve been in some tough environments. It does take a lot of time, so it isn’t my favorite choice (but, dude it works).

3.       Require the students to stop the task they are assigned, and run your class like a very strict, traditional, core-academic, class.  Possible Risks: the students complain and refuse to do the assigned work and you have lots of defiance issues. You spend a lot of time calling parents and meting out consequences. It doesn’t work, and you are back to square one.

4.       Remind the students of your rules and expectations. Recognize the students whom consistently follow these procedures by allowing them to use nicer tools and/or materials. DONOT GIVE OUT CANDY ETC. Giving out candy often causes students to believe that good behavior should be earned by the teacher, and they will not behave unless you offer them a treat; you do not want to begin that (especially in a failing situation). Possible risks: Students do not care about getting to use special materials and/or make fun of those who do.  Students whom do not get to use special materials balk and attempt to engage you by arguing about their worthiness which wastes your time and increases your need to mete out consequences and call parents.

5.       Identify the main disciplinary persons contributing to your situation. Warn them if they don’t change, they will be assigned a different task (something really unpleasant). If they don’t change (they most likely will not as nothing has been working thus far), move them to a new seat, give them an alternative assignment, and continue to do fun and pleasant activities with the students whom are behaving. You will eventually have full tables of “alternative assignment” students. Let your administration know about this plan; let them know that for students whom refuse to do the work, you will be following the next step in your consequence plan. Most principals will be on-board with you (after all, you are working to solve the situation). Call the “alternative assignment” students’ guardians, and tell them about the situation. Let parents know that until you see a full day of appropriate behavior, the students will continue to do the alternative assignment. Possible risks:  The “alternative assignment” students refuse to do the work, and you have defiance issues. Follow the next step in your consequence plan for these students. You spend a lot of time calling parents and meting out consequences.

6.       Get support from your administration. You can invite an administrator to observe the class and ask for feedback after. You can ask an administrator to drop in and back you up as you tell the class how they need to shape up (be specific), and cite specific consequences for non-compliance (be specific). Possible risks:  You may not have a compassionate or present principal. You may get feedback you don’t want to hear (but probably still need to hear). You spend time calling parents and meting out consequences.

You may have noticed that in every situation I’ve cited that you will spend time calling parents and meting out consequences.  When you are in a failing situation, you need to set and/or re-set boundaries. Students often don’t like new boundaries; after all, they were getting to behave however they wanted under the previous set of circumstances. Setting and re-setting boundaries takes time, effort, and constant vigilance.  Make peace with the added time you will need to spend in talking to parents and students about behavior; in the long run it will pay off.

I want to share with you a failing situation of my own. I think we too often observe one another on the internet and think, “Wow. I wish I could be like him/her. I bet s/he never fails/messes-up/has-this-problem like me.”  Look, I’m 9 years into this Art teaching game, and I’m learning new things every single day. I was once told that it takes five years of active teaching for a person to really know what they are doing inside the classroom. If you had told me that in my third year of teaching I would have said this was untrue (I was hubristic). But, now, half-way through my 9th year, I wonder if maybe (just maybe) I’ll know what I’m doing at year 15. This job is tough. Never doubt it.
________________________________

My Story of Failure
I teach two classes of 7th grade students; I see them during 4th and 5th period. My 4th period class has 46 students, and the class runs smoothly. Sure, it is challenging; there are 46 students and they are (insane) 7th graders, but the class still runs.

My 5th period class has 43 students, and it is horrific. The kids yell, they run around, they horseplay, they refuse to work, they talk when I talk, they don’t listen to directions, they defy every consequence . . . About the only thing they don’t do is listen. I was absent last month for three days to attend a professional conference. My substitute (a retired, veteran, Title I teacher of 30+ years) walked out of the school during the 5th period class and refused to return. My principal had to teach 5th period when I was absent, and even she had problems with them. The week before Thanksgiving one student even stabbed another student (with no provocation) with a pencil until the student bled. When I tell my husband stories about this class he says, “Are you teaching people or feral cats!?”

In short, it is insane. After this experience, I feel Navy Seal training probably (and should if it doesn’t) involves being trapped in a hostile environment for long durations of time. It is really stressful. On Tuesday, the class was up to its usual antics, and something in me just snapped. I don’t know that they were doing anything above what they normally do (don’t do), but I had had enough. I pushed the “panic button” in my classroom and asked for an administrator to come to my room. I very rarely use my panic button. So, when I push it, I get results.

A few minutes later, Ms. Tyler* arrived at my door. I stood in the doorway and whispered, “I just need you to back me up.” She grinned and nodded. I proceeded to address the class and state what was wrong with the status quo, and how I expected it to change. I outlined the repercussions for non-compliance. Ms. Tyler then spoke up and backed up everything I said. She turned to leave the room and gave me a reassuring wink. Once she was about two-three steps away from the door, my students started complaining and yelling things like, “We ain’t gotta listen to her. She can’t do nothing to us!? “ Etc. etc.

Ms. Tyler overheard the students, and rushed back into my classroom. She gave me a steely look and said, “Gather the students who always behave and y’all go to a computer lab. I’m going to run your class.” I selected nine students and we went and finished out the period playing Art games on the computer. When I returned to my classroom, the rest of the students were still present . . . Along with all three of my school administrators (including my principal). It took all three administrators to subdue the students. The students were silent. My principal looked at me and said, “Ms. Z. we are going to teach your 5th period for the rest of this week. They will report to another classroom and we will have them write assignments about how we expect students at our school to behave.”  And then, she dismissed the (very forlorn looking) students.

My principal made a phone recording and had it call out to the homes of all of the non-compliant students. I’ve also had to call several homes as not all parents have responded favorably to their student being removed (albeit temporarily) from class. I don’t mind as spending time talking to parents as it is a major part of getting your class back on track. My principal has taught the non-compliant students during fifth period yesterday and today. The students are really, really, really bummed about not being able to come to Art. Every time they see me in the hallway, they are full of regret. Word on the street is that they spent an hour yesterday writing “I will respect my Art teacher” 200 times on a sheet of notebook paper.

To top it all off, my principal called me at home on Tuesday night and asked me, “You are still coming to school tomorrow, right?!”  She then went on to reassure me that I was a good teacher, told me that she was happy to support me, and stated how much she values me as a teacher. Wow. I’ve never had a phone call like that. I felt so supported and empowered. It also motivated me, and made want to work harder to fix the situation (she’s a good leader like that).

I’ve been teaching the compliant 5th period students (all nine of them) during 5th period. They are loving life right now.  One of them asked, “When does everyone else return to class?” I replied, “Monday.” The student sighed and said, “Man. Only one more day in paradise!”

Honestly, though, I expect things will be different come Monday. . . And, I’m excited to get back on track and maybe have a big ole slice of 5th period paradise. Or, you know, just normal 7th grade madness. I’m not picky.


Friday, November 15, 2013

Medieval Egg Tempera Painting in the Middle School Classroom

I love getting to see the breadth of style and skill in my class. 
I love teaching students how to egg tempera paint; it has got to be one of my all-time, favorite units.  Egg tempera is the method medieval artists used to create their paintings.  Artists like Giotto (when he wasn’t working on the Scrovegni Chapel), Cimabue, as well as most medieval religious, liturgical, and iconographers utilized egg tempera.  The reason for the widespread usage of eggtempera (prior to the renaissance) is simple: it was the only reliable/durable/sustainablemethod of painting on panel. Even Leonardo Da Vinci used egg tempera. . .But, as the medieval era gave way to the renaissance, oil painting was invented.  In fact, Da Vinci was one of the first artists to use oil painting. Eventually, he abandoned egg tempera in favor of the longer-drying, longer-time-to-manipulate, high-blending qualities of oil painting.

Egg tempera requires the use of small brushes, as the paint goes on in thin, translucent strokes. The artist must build up several layers of color to achieve opacity; as such, it is a timely process. The best results are achieved when the artist uses a hatch-like stroke. Egg tempera is fast drying, and most artists only mix up enough paint for the duration of the time they will be working.  As such, the paint cannot be stored for a long time, and the method requires constant mixing. Essentially, the artist is making paint as s/he goes.


My students were initially a bit reserved about mixing their own paint.  But, after the first class of egg tempera, they were thrilled.  Students were rushing down during lunch to work on their paintings, getting to class early, and making all sorts of artistic demands. It was charming, and I loved seeing them so enflamed.
 
This one is still unfinished, but it is too gorgeous to not share. 
There are more academic, traditional, and intense methods to making egg tempera, than what my students used. . . The act of mixing paint is a bit ritualistic, and it would seem every egg tempera artist has his/her own specific, meaningful, manner of mixing paint. In fact, a YouTube search for “egg tempera” yields all sorts of beautiful, and interesting, results. . .But, we’re public school kids working on a shoe-string budget. . .So here in the inexpensive, down-and-dirty, easy egg tempera way.


Oh, and just FYI this is a project that focuses more on process than product.

You Will Need:
egg yolk (I taught 35 students and we used 3 dozen eggs)
tempera powder in R.O.Y.G.B.I.P, white, brown, and black colors (we used Richeson brand)
water
pencils
paintbrushes
mixing trays/palettes
gesso
reference images (we used pictures of teacups)
wood board (you can egg tempera on paper/cardstock/matte board but the paper will warp when damp (this bothers a lot of kids). It was important to me my students get the “medieval” experience, so I purchased one of those huge pieces of oak board at Home Depot, and had it cut into 40 boards that are approximately 10 inch square. My total board cost: $26)

We started out with such neat dry-pigment palettes. This is how they looked on the last day. :D
We used Richeson Powder Tempera. If you teach in an old building, I've bet you've got a few bottles of dry pigment rolling about. It was all the rage in the 80s and 90s. 
Step One:
Students gessoed their boards, and make a sketch of their reference image on sketch paper.


Step Two
We discussed how paint is comprised of binders, solvents, and pigments. We looked at this awesome video of an artist mixing oil paint. Then, I modeled how to mix egg tempera for this project. You can view the picture and video below for a visual aid. . . But, basically, you put a touch of pigment, egg yolk (binder), and water (solvent) on your palette and mix them together. I stressed how you only want to mix up enough paint for the area you plan to paint, as the mixture dries quickly (15-20 minutes).



Students translated their sketches to their boards and they painted.

We painted for 7, 45-minutes classes to achieve these results.


Go forth and enjoy!

P.S. A few egg tempera facts:
-the painted layers of egg yolk does not rot on the board; it is permanent.
-there is no perfect ratio of yolk to pigment to water. You'll know what mix is perfect for you. Just remind students to add a bit of yolk because that is the needed binder.
-the yellow yolk does not really effect the pigment color. It does not turn blues green or anything like that. It does give the colors a warm luster, and the whites tend to be warmly tinted. 
-I stored the egg yolk in jello shot containers, and put them in a refrigerator when not in use.  You will know when the yolks start to "turn." You will smell it long before you see it. The egg yolks stay fresh for about three days. But honestly, my kids were using up the egg yolks before they went bad. The only day that was kinda stinky was the last day (and we were so close, so I thought purchasing more eggs to be silly). 





a little pointillism seems to be happening here. 

-

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Critical Multiculturalism through Student-Led Filmography: GAEA Presentation #2

The full presentation:


Videos to preview for students:
(The video below is the project exemplar my students created)
Variety of Society from Cooper Middle School on Vimeo.



Definition of Social Justice from Cooper Middle School on Vimeo.



The full process:
1.       Ask students to identify a topic/theme for a prospective film; it should be broadly associated with “social justice.”
a.       Show students the following films
                                                               i.      Middle School students defining social justice: https://vimeo.com/66586761
                                                             ii.      Love Alliance defines social justice: http://tinyurl.com/cygylax
                                                            iii.      Catholic Ed. League anti-bullying video (non-religious): http://tinyurl.com/bhg7hsr
                                                           iv.      Cooper Middle School “Variety of Society”: https://vimeo.com/66076983
b.      Have students complete the attached worksheet to research
2.       Provide students time to research their identified topic/theme.
3.       Students cultivate thoughtful responses (possibly collaborate with an ELA teacher).
a.       Essay
b.      Short response
c.       Informal/internet polls
d.      Class discussions
4.       Collectively, as a class/group select one thoughtful response to use as a script/outline/form for the film.
5.       Identify and assign individual responsibilities.
a.       Director(s)
b.      Script adapter/developer (maybe not necessary)
c.       Cinematographer(S)
d.      Editor(s)
e.      Musical composer(s)
f.        Actor(s)
g.       Narrator(s)
h.      Set designer(s)
i.         Costumer(s)
6.       The directors, cinematographers, and set designers cultivate a storyboard and/or script.
a.       Consider location
b.      Consider costuming needs
c.       Outline what words will be said by whom
d.      Consider limitations of location, actors, and school
7.       Cast the actors.
a.       Will they be volunteers?
b.      Will auditions be held?
c.       What criteria will be used to cast roles?
d.      Who will have the final say in casting?
8.       Directors, cinematographers, and actors shoot the film.
a.       Always make more than one take.
b.      Perform regular “quality checks” by playing back video.
9.       Edit and add musical score to the film.
a.       Try to use free program to provide equitable access (Windows Live Movie Maker)
b.      Audio can be edited using the free program called “Audacity” (there are great how-tos online)
10.   Acquire media releases for all participants (ideally you do this as you cast).
11.   Directors and editors publish the video.
a.       MP4, MP3, WMV format
b.      Youtube.com
c.       Vimeo.com
12.   Find avenues to share student film with others.

Reflecting and demonstrating thoughtful understanding:
1.       Ask students to review the film.
2.       Ask students to write a reflection (quick) about the process and end result (aesthetics, criticism, and emotional response).
3.       Ask students to share their responses aloud.
4.       When the film is screened for others, provide criticism cards for useful feedback.

Worksheet used for research/pre-writing/pre-planning
Worksheet :(downloadable version http://tinyurl.com/lcyfgpu)

Storyboarding Worksheet

Reflections of Social Justice: GAEA Presentation #1

Overall presentation:


Images from the Berlin Wall:

Berlin wall graffiti from ksumatarted

Worksheet :(downloadable version http://tinyurl.com/lcyfgpu)

Project Overview:  Creating contemporary metaphors to the Berlin Wall
Standards
VA8MC2.c, d/ VA8MC.3a, b/ VA8CU.1a, c, e/ VA8CU.2a, c, d/ VA8PR.1c, d/ VA8PR.3b/ VA8AR.1a,c,d

Gathering information:
-students view propaganda video about the Berlin Wall http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Ycppm2cEsw
-students hypothesize about what happened next
-students view Time video from Pulitzer-winning photographer about the tearing down of the wall
-students critically examine what happened to the German people as a result of WW2 and discuss their emotional response

Gathering information:
-students view graffiti from the Berlin Wall
-students view graffiti from the West Bank of the Wall
-students learn about contemporary graffiti artists such as Haring, Banksy, Mr. Brainstorm, and Banksy
-students are asked to personally define social justice –through classroom discussion and writing exercise, worksheet “Tear Down That Wall”
-students are asked to critically discuss how graffiti is helpful/harmful to a society

Demonstrating thoughtful understanding:
-collectively, students are asked to identify topics of social justice in global culture
-students discuss how modern issues are metaphorical Berlin Walls in society
-students are asked to create a paper-based panel of a graffiti wall featuring their thoughts and opinions through graffiti text and visual cues about a modern, contemporary, social justice issue

Reflecting:
-students present their artwork to the class and discuss their artistic choices
-students participate in a group critique
-students hang each piece together to make a long mural in the school hallway; the art will engage in the school community in thoughtful discussions of modern social justice issues


Sunday, October 6, 2013

A Conference and an Exhibit

Whoo-Hoo! Come this Thursday, I will be Savannah, GA bound.

I'm attending the Georgia Art Education Association Fall Conference in Savannah, GA. I'm very excited because this year I am making two presentations (both about projects I have not written about here, so new to you!), and exhibiting an artwork.

I hope to see you there! If you see me, come up and say, "hello!"
P.S. I'm that tall, six-foot, plus-size lady, rocking short white hair. :)
__________________________
About my artwork:
My artwork, Play Narrative, is on display this week (10/7-10/12) at Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) as part of the Georgia Art Education Association Member’s Exhibit (GAEA). 
I handmade the diorama from felt and other found materials. The dimensions of the diorama stage are 16 inches x 18 inches. 
The artwork is interactive, and encourages viewers to touch the pieces.  Viewers are presented with the figures and a multitude of accessories. Viewers are asked to pose the figures, document their poses, and then upload their creations to the social media site of their choice using the hashtag, #playnarrative
I’m soo excited to see what viewers create and/or witness their documented experiences with the artwork.
You can learn more about this artwork here: http://www.playnarrative.com/
_____________________________________
About my presentations:
Friday, 10/11, 10:00 - 12:00
Location: 200
Presenter: Amy Zschaber
Audience: All
Critical Multiculturalism through Student-Led Filmography
Learn how to harness the power of authentic engagement, mass-media, and free technology to teach critical multiculturalism through student-generated filmography that critically examines personal and global culture(s).

Saturday, 10/12, 9:00 - 11:00
Location: 200
Presenter: Amy Zschaber
Audience: All
Reflections of Social Justice
Empower students to become leaders, and cultivate empathetic, autonomous thinking about contemporary issues of social justice through historical and art-based studies of Holocaust propaganda and Berlin Wall graffiti. Session participants will collaborate to create one of the presented products using the lesson plans provided.  Participants will receive copies of standards-aligned lesson plans and digital access to all presented visual information.


Sunday, September 29, 2013

Play with Art

I had so much fun playing with Anish Kapoor’s Untitled from 2010 at The High Museum of Art. But, my favorite part was seeing this gentleman get out of his chair to play with it. 

Friday, September 27, 2013

Pop Art Candy Wrappers and Prang Product Review

This past Summer, DixonTiconderoga Company contacted me and asked if I would be interested in reviewing a few of their products.  I’ve never known any Art teacher to turn away free products, and I am no different.  They sent me a generous box full of Dixon Ticonderoga pencils and, Prang colored pencils (Dixon Ticonderoga is their parent brand).

Honestly, I cannot tell the difference between Dixon Ticonderoga pencils and any other brand. As a middle school Art teacher, any “Number 2” pencil is equal to any other “Number 2” pencil; if it makes a good mark, then it is a good pencil.  And, Dixon Ticonderoga pencils make a good mark; they are a good product.

But, let’s talk about Prang.  Prior to Dixon Ticonderoga contacting me, I bought a class set of Prang colored pencils for my 8th grade students. I have used Prang colored pencils in the past, and was impressed with their quality. It is important to me my oldest (and most advanced) students have an opportunity to work with quality products.  In my fantasy middle school classroom, I would love to have a class set of Prismacolor colored pencils. . .But, that is as unrealistic as it is expensive!  I decided to add the Prang colored pencils Dixon Ticonderoga sent me with my class set, and allow my 8th graders to use and review the products. 

Below is the work they created whilst reviewing the products. I will go over the lesson, and then include their reviews of the products at the end of the post.
_____________________________

Pop Art Candy Wrappers
Time needed:
-Six, 45-minute sessions

You will need:
-black construction paper (18” x 24”)
-colored pencils
-color print-outs of candy wrappers and/or candy wrappers

A note about black paper: In my Art room, we use as much black paper as we do white paper.  I like for students to work on black paper because it forces them to fully cover the paper with color in order to achieve the desired effect.  The final works are higher quality. It also inadvertently teaches students how to build up color and blend. ;)

Process: 
1.       I went to Mike’s Candy Wrapper website, and saved a few images. I cropped the images down into interesting compositions (you could extend this project, and teach a mini-lesson on composition by having students crop their own work in the computer lab). I printed 12 color pages of small images. 

2. Students watched the following video about Pop Art, participated in a PowerPoint presentation about Pop Art, and completed a quiz about Pop Art.

3. Students selected a candy wrapper print out.

4. Students practiced drawing their print-out (and some chose to exchange for another image etc.).

5.   Students re-drew their sketch onto 18” x 24” black construction paper.

6. Students colored their work.(some students cut their paper down slightly to accommodate a square composition).



I was genuinely surprised at how “in” to this project my students were. I thought they might, at first, have issues with drawing the candy wrappers accurately and/or have issues with scaling. I was prepared to offer the “grid system” for those who struggled. It turned out to be unnecessary. The students had a high-level of buy-in, and it was very important to them their work look accurate.  I expected them to default to the colors presented by the colored pencil options instead of attempting to color-match the candy wrappers. However, students actively queried how to blend colored pencils to achieve desired colors and effects. I was SO, SO, SO impressed with their level of engagement, interest, and commitment to this project.











It is definitely one I plan to teach again and again.
_____________________________
 Review Continued:
Previously, my students have exclusively used Crayola colored pencils for their projects. I think Crayola colored pencils are a good product for beginner and beginner-intermediate students. Prang colored pencils seem to have a higher pigment to oil ratio than Crayola colored pencils. I noticed that your get a creamier, bolder, color with Prang colored pencils.

I told my students to try the Prang colored pencils, and if they didn’t like them, to use the Crayola pencils. They noticed the difference immediately, and not a single student deigned to use Crayola colored pencils. In fact, we nearly ran out of Prang white colored pencils, and I offered students the Crayola white colored pencils (we used one class set of Prang colored pencils for 71 artworks on 18” x 24” paper). Initially, the students were willing to try the Crayola white colored pencils, but they instantly refused them when they noticed, “They aren’t as bright as the other ones, Ms. Z.!”

As you can see in the picture below, the students were really committed to finishing the proj
ect using only the Prang colored pencils.


Here are a few comments my students made about the Prang colored pencils:
“The colors are better.”
“I like how much deeper the colors look.”
“It is easier to blend these colored pencils [Prang] than the other ones [Crayola].”
“Oooh! These colored pencils are tight. I’m gonna get me some.”
“Where can I buy these colored pencils?”

Ultimately, I believe Prang colored pencils are a wonderful product for the intermediate artist. As you can see in the artworks my students made, you get a really rich application of color that enhances the final outcomes. I’ll be purchasing another class set ASAP.



I have not received any compensation for this post beyond the supplies provided to me for review by the Dixon Ticonderoga Company. The opinions are honest and reflect my (and my students') experience with the products.