Showing posts from August, 2012

Being an Atelierista; the role of direct instruction

Sometimes I get the idea that people think I never teach any skills or art techniques to children in the studio. That isn't true, but there is a particular focus to the way we use media and materials, and it doesn't always have much to do with technique or beauty, in a traditional art sense.

I think of the representations made in the studio more like conceptual art than more traditional kinds. Conceptual art is the hardest for some people to understand because it is about ideas (or concepts, see?)

In the arts, good technique in the use of media and materials has often been seen as important for good results. Studio work can be very beautiful, but since we are using art media to process ideas or demonstrate thinking, technique is only important where it serves a conceptual or communicative purpose. So, if a child needs to be able to use clay in order to create a symbol for an idea or to test a theory about bridge building, then they will first need some time to mess about wit…

Back to School Again

Today we gathered all together for a big welcome back.
                                        It was nice to see everyone after some time off!

Documentation: Graphic Design

I've been working a lot on documentation, communication, and presentation lately, (as you know if you read this blog much) and part of that has been trying to learn some about graphic design. I am an artist, but more of the hand-made, splash paint around type. Graphic design is something I really only know about as a consumer. I've been paying more attention to the visual culture we live in, asking questions of my friend who is a design professor, Laura, and trying things out. Laura once made a simple statement that I think about a lot; That in graphic design, you're trying to create a visual hierarchy. This makes a lot of sense intellectually, but I find it is hard to do in real life. But I really do want to get batter at making the children and teacher's work visible in a way that people will really pay attention to, so I'm going to keep trying. Plus, it's fun to have something new to mess around with. Here is the announcement for this year's Umbrella Pr…

The role of the Atelierista; Documentation and supporting teachers

One thing I'm looking forward to in the new school year is figuring out more about collaboration on documentation. I find this very difficult because it involves a complicated kind of communication. As the studio teacher, I don't have a class of my own of course, and work with teachers and their classroom projects each day. The quality of the communication between the teacher and me is what determines how well we can support the project and the children. That means the Teachers have to trust me and let me borrow a little control of their classroom from them. In the oldest classes, Teachers hope that children will do more and more documentation themselves. It will be important for teachers to have a deep understanding of what documentation is to support the students in making their learning visible in this way.

At NAREA in Portland there was the best description I have ever heard of documentation as a process, as both a verb and a noun, in the words of Sabot's middle schoo…