When I give presentations and workshops, I am often asked for plans and samples for specific projects and activities. I will use this section to share some of the most requested projects and activities.
For many more examples of Spiral Workshop projects and curriculum, see the the Spiral Workshop ePortfolio. I will use this section to share project plans for some new "classic projects" related to my interests in Surrealist practice as a model for teaching creativity, teaching about color and form in fun and efficient ways that transfer to the students' future art making choices, making and valuing narrative "non-realistic" art that tells stories about students' lives, and Fluxus and Situationist inspired work. Note that the process of making in each of these projects mirrors actual practices used by artists as they make art.
I'm sometimes asked why I think that teacher-designed projects have a place in contemporary, critical art education pedagogy. Unless students are introduced to new methods, models, and artistic practices that explore a wide range of content, they tend to fall back on familiar, hackneyed art making methods and content.
Good art projects encode complex aesthetic strategies.
Much of my work as an art education researcher is to keenly pay attention to those things that students seem to intuitively know (somehow absorbing them from the current cultural zeitgeist) and those things (artistic strategies and ideas) that it is useful to draw their attention to. Through a range of skillfully chosen projects, art teachers expand the students' "toolkits" for investigating and making meaning.
Elements & Principles?
The first project that I posted is the Elements & Principles Book project. People who know that I have been an advocate for not using modernist elements and principles as the basis for curriculum may be surprised that I have invented an elements and principles project.
However, the reason is simple and clear. Through this project, students can be introduced to seven elements and seven principles in five to ten days. These elements and principles are introduced in an authentic context, being utilized together to make a visual statement. Students enjoy this project and easily learn vocabulary and ways of organizing visual forms. That leaves the rest of the year for learning about other strategies of making art and culture and for making use of these visual principles while making meaningful artwork.