VATN at Skyline: Mr. Treacy’s Classroom

NOVEMBER  18, 2015 at Skyline



Participants: Teachers – Lauren Litwin/Skyline; James Treacy/Skyline; Ana Gallegos/Madison; Carla Oden/Skyline; Alicia Arnold/Fashion Arts & Design Academy at Oakland Tech upper campus; Kristen Vetterlein/Grass Valley; Deborah Green/Oakland Tech;  Facilitators: Roxanne Padgett/MOCHA; Ann Wettrich/OUSD Visual & Performing Arts consultant

1 . Intros and Check-ins

  • Jamie teaches Art 1, Art 2 and Advanced art at Skyline where he’s worked for 4 years, though he’s been teaching within the district for 11 years.
  • Carla teaches computer tech and art/graphic design classes at Skyline for about 10 years. She has a background in medial graphics and worked at Stanford where she did both anatomical and conceptual drawings. She also worked for the city of SF as a form designer for their Regional Occupational Program. These experiences, along with her teaching work at Arts Far West many years ago, prepared her well for her work at Skyline.
  • Lauren has been at Skyline for three years. She teaches digital photography and illustration. She reported on recent activities–attending California Alliance for Arts Education; and working with students to make posters for the PBIS/restorative justice program.
  • Ana is in her first year at Madison (Madison Park Business & Art Academy), where she is a “founding” art teacher and has an opportunity to shape the program. This year she is setting up foundational art classes as she settles in and builds relationships with students and families. She teaches five classes a day (9th and 11th grade with one mixed grade class). Next year she hopes to work more collaboratively with other Madison teachers. Previously she taught at Castlemont High for two years and spent some time in Santa Barbara focusing on her own art practice.
  • Kristin teaches at Grass Valley Elementary School where she works with students in all grades. She is currently working with upper grade students on a theme related collage project and is introducing the work of Romare Bearden. She asked the group for ideas to inform this project. Many chimed in with ideas that included: bringing in texture, using photos and rearranging skin tone with fabric or oil pastel and using collage as lead in to abstract drawings; introducing children’s book illustrators Eric Caryle and Jack Ezra Keats to show painted paper collage strategies. Also self portrait collages and Ntozake Shange’s poem and Bearden’s illustrations in the book I Live in Music.
  • Alicia at FADA is wrapping up a unit and exploring a new critique structure that begins with viewing student art work in a gallery walk style and having students give feedback by leaving positive and/or stand out feedback next to the artwork using post it notes. Each student is required to leave 5 comments. The next step is for the artists to read through the comments. Each artist then shares out meaningful and useful feedback. This structure worked well as less formal alternative to what she has used with the group previously–Feldman’s Model of Art Criticism with the students (description, analysis, interpretation and judgment). She is wondering how to better capture and make visible what the students are learning and saying.
  • Deborah at Oakland Tech is working with students on a project she referred to as “language of art books” embodying the elements and principals and brought some examples to show. She is drawing on resources from Alicia’s website—using line to represent “line,” shape to represent “shape,” and form to represent “form” that inspired adding a pop-up book approach and led to interesting student questions and about the differences in 2-D and 3-D and the 4th dimensions of time, as well a wondering about other dimensions and space, energy (color/light). Deborah expressed the challenge of working with students at different levels of understanding and experience from neurologically damaged to advanced, in the same class. She has started using coloring book formats to teach color exploration and theory and has found this works well and is relaxing and stress-relieving for all students.
  1. Discussion Topics
  • What to do with kids who aren’t take art seriously and aren’t respecting the materials? Generative discussion where participants introduced specific ideas/strategies, including:

Community Circles (a multi-tiered structure for cultivating academic and citizenship welfare). Jamie uses this with the goal of getting to know each other and deepening understanding of the why and interpretation of individual/school/classroom/community values. He does this a few times each semester.

Restorative Justice Strategies– Lauren discussed getting students to think about the repercussions of their actions in stealing and/or disrespecting and damaging tools and materials. She often reiterates the appropriate use of materials and has effectively used detention as a deterrent if needed. Detention students have to clean up the room after school. She also reminds them that the next step after detention is referral.

An idea emerged to explore the possibility of having a restorative justice/community circle expert come to one of our sessions.

  • If January 29th full day PD at the Oakland Museum is possible, how would the group like to spend our time there? We brainstormed possibilities that included:

– Field Trip Organization and Prep, i.e. pre and post lesson plans

– Observation/Reflection/Discussion strategies, i.e. Visual Thinking Strategies, See-Think-Wonder, Jig-Saw (where group A learns from expert and then teaches group B, then repeat in reverse), Treasure Hunt…

– Making Experience

  1. Presentations
  • Graphic Novel Comic Book Cover. Lauren presented and showed examples of student work. She emphasizes visual communication and storytelling and discussed some of the project paramenters—size specificity; taking perspective of villan, protector or visitor to a world where they are a stronger; clean presentation; clever title; computer and hand drawing combinations. [She will email RUBRIC]
  • Jamie presented three projects quickly and showed examples of student work.

Mask Project – He began the project with a discussion of purposes and traditions of masks across cultures and times. Students were required to do computer research to make masks that represent a mixture of patterns from two different cultures (could also include a popular culture pattern). There was an emphasis on and requirement to use patterns and texture.

Sound Box Project – This project involves conceptual thinking, drawing and design. Students do visual research and brainstorm lists of kinds of sounds, i.e., traffic sounds, basketball sounds, rain, etc. They then select a sound that want to represent and make thumb nail sketches. They decide on their approach and draw on a template pattern for a prism or hexagonal shape as their ultimate box form. Students then have to figure out how to scale up the template for the paper size—there are mathematical calculations they have to grapple with to do this.

Students then make the folds to create their sound box.

Symbol / Metaphor Color Pastel Project – inspired by Georgia O’Keefe’s work. They start with outdoor research, gathering objects and ideas from nature to explore symbol, metaphor and abstract representation.

  • Superhero Project. Carla presented and showed samples of student work from her graphic design class. The project was inspired and informed ACME Communications student conduct curricula and by the Center for Attitudinal Healing / Art Esteem’s super hero project work that empowers students through the arts and promotes non-violence through the principles of attitudinal healing. The goal is to advance the idea of “self as superhero.” She begins the project by having students work on paper with gesture drawings and then, after developed their technique, students begin to draw on the computer. Carla also uses films like The Incredibles (especially because it was made by Pixar and sited in Oakland) and has students examine the architecture and identify powers as well as non-violent themes. Based on this research, they then think about what their own powers are. The final step is making a self as superhero poster on the computer.
  1. Next Session: Wednesday, December 9th from 2-4. Deborah Green volunteered to host at Oakland Tech.

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