Saturday, July 11, 2009

Quality, Concentration, Breadth: Good Art on Time!

Yesterday was the last day of the AP Studio Art class, and my brain is full to bursting with information and ideas for teaching all of my art classes next year, not just the AP Studio Art class. This was one of the rare classes I have taken that I felt would actually make me a better art teacher.

For those of you who don't know what AP classes are, AP stands for Advanced Placement. High School students who take these classes and pass the AP exam at the end of the year can get transfer credit when they go to college.

For those of you who know what AP classes are, but might be wondering what the test is for AP Studio Art, it's a portfolio review. There is no written test, but the students have to submit a portfolio of work that meets very specific stringent criteria.

The class I took was all about helping our students to submit a portfolio that would meet the requirements, and seeing the artwork of students who have gotten passing to outstanding scores. The work was really fantastic, and it made me a little nervous--the skill level of my students is not anywhere near that of the students' work I saw this past week. A challenge, but not an impossible task. I'm just going to have to set the bar higher, and my students are going to have to work harder! We/they can do it!

I already mentioned in a previous blog post that I am going to try to create three new pieces of artwork that meet the requirements each week this summer. I promised 3 new pieces by tomorrow, but I'm already behind! I'd be losing points if I were a student in my class, so it might be time to pull one of those old-fashioned all-nighters! Or maybe I'll plead with the teacher (me) and see if I can get her to extend the deadline by one day. ;-) Regardless, I'll have something to post by tomorrow evening so you can follow my progress.

This reminds me that one of my favorite blogs is "A Painting a Day," by Duane Keiser. (Click on his link in the "Blogs I Follow" list, on the right). Maybe I should shoot for one finished work a day, and that way I'll have a lot to choose from. Needless to say, I'll be working very small.

Regarding what I'll be painting, I'm taking my cue from the AP Studio Art training also. There are 3 criteria on which students are scored: quality, concentration, and breadth. The concentration section is the most difficult, because that is where the student has to develop a theme and a statement about the work. I'll be using a strategy we discussed in the training, and I'll tell you what mine is and how I came up with it in tomorrow's post (I'm still thinking about it).

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