Today I will focus on some “hidden” Art-based projects that Manitoba students and educators have created and shared. I have purposely used the adjective “hidden” because these educational treasures often get little exposure beyond the school in which they were originally created. However, should the ideas migrate to other students or teachers, they often, unfortunately, tend to stay “hidden” within the originating school division’s boundaries.
Why do we, as educators, spend so much time searching the Internet for practical classroom-based ideas which we can download and then “tweak” or modify to meet our local provincial curriculum? My experience suggests that we often do this because we are unaware of the proven educational resources that have been created and used successfully by other Manitoba educators and students.
I recently attended a meeting in Brandon of the Manitoba Association of Educational Technology Leaders (MAETL). I regularly attend such meetings because I am eager to learn of new educational ideas and resources that I can share with other students and teachers. At this meeting, I was not disappointed. Part of the morning was spent discussing how technology leaders might, more actively, share the inspirational, educational “nuggets” that each individual knew about within his/her own school division. Following the formal discussion, I had a chance over coffee to talk to Ron Nordstrom, who is the Technology Coordinator for the Beautiful Plains School Division. As is so the case, a chance remark afforded me the opportunity to learn a great deal. Although, I have known Ron for perhaps 15 years, I was unaware of his many talents. Recently, I have been following Ron through Twitter and I was impressed with the sketch that Ron had chosen for his gravatar. I asked Ron, who had he commissioned to created his life-like sketch. Ron replied that he had sketched his own image and that in addition to acting as Technology Coordinator, he also taught Grade 5 and 6 Art at Hazel M. Kellington School in Neepawa.
We then discussed some of Ron’s engaging Art activities, together with the student creations, that I wish to share with you. Readers should begin by examining the wealth of Art-related resources that Ron has compiled and displayed along the side of “Mr. Nordstrom’s Art Wiki“. To showcase the creativity of his students, together with the focus for the Art lesson, Ron designed this powerful image-enhanced blog resource called “Nordstom Art“. I encourage readers to examine, and comment on, the creative student image galleries and lessons that Ron has shared under the following categories:
Ron has also conducted a Superhero Challenge where students, with Internet access, may submit their own superhero drawing. Not only can viewers compare and contrast this gallery of portraits (all which display correct facial proportions), they can also examine each hero’s individual profile and super powers. Imagine the fun that students can have drawing their superhero and then writing about his/her exploits?
Finally, Ron described a book-creating service that he had recently used. As an dedicated teacher, Ron wanted to capture the lessons, ideas and, most importantly, the creative art work that his talented students had produced. To do this Ron submitted the ideas and images to blurb.com where he made his own book entitled “Art Projects – Examples From Grade 5 & 6 Art Classes“. I encourage readers to preview Ron’s excellent Art resource and share it with other educators who appreciate and/or teach Art to middle years students.
So often, as educators, we expend a great deal of effort preparing lessons and activities which engage our students. Perhaps there are some readers that will want to investigate the Blurb book building service to create their own coffee table book. Regardless of whether such a book captures the creativity demonstrated by your students, a grandchild’s first steps, or a trip of a lifetime, the resulting book, that you create, will indeed be treasured.
Speaking of treasure, I want to thank Ron Nordstrom for sharing his talents and treasures with me and my readers.
Since this post is focusing on educational Art projects, I thought that I would share with readers two instances of unique Art projects that Winnipeg School Division teachers and students created several years ago.
Kate Wallis and her Grade 3 class at Sister MacNamara School challenged other students to take part in an innovative “Picasso Principals” challenge. At that time, Kate’s students sketched an image of their principal, Dale Scott, using Picasso’s creative style. Although this challenge started as an Art activity, it quickly developed into a unit which integrated Language Arts, Mathematics, Social Studies and Technology. I encourage readers to examine this web site and peruse the wealth of integration ideas and resources that are displayed through the “Index” links menu. Although this Art unit is more than 10 years old, it still demonstrates creativity and innovation on which today’s teachers and students might capitalize.
When I viewed Ron’s lesson on “Ted Harrison Watercolors”, I immediately remembered another Ted Harrison-related article that I had published in my “Bits and Bytes” newsletter in March, 2005. Sheila Malcolmson, of Tyndall Park School, shared an instructive article entitled “Smart Art – Tyndall Park students showcase Ted Harrison“. Here, in her article, Sheila described how her students created images using Ted Harrison’s style to complement the Social Studies unit on the Arctic Region. Windows users will still find the Anfy book flip freeware a unique tool to help them display exact-size images in a rather effective manner. Furthermore, I encourage readers to peruse the “Tyndall Park Alphabet Book’ that Sheila’s students illustrated using the Ted Harrison technique. Wendy Groot, who was the technology support teacher at the school, helped showcase the student’s artistic talents by displaying their creativity on the school web site as well as incorporating each student’s Ted Harrsion style image into a HyperStudio stack. Although HyperStudio may not be as popular in schools as it was several years ago, one can still download this creative “Tyndall Park Alphabet Book” as a Windows executable HyperStudio file, to view the talents of these Grade 5 students.
In conclusion, I ask that readers pass along these engaging Art-related resources to teachers who might wish to use them with their students. Regardless of when these ideas were first created, the resources of such creative and dedicated educators need to be shared so that other students might benefit.
Thanks to all for caring and sharing.
Take care & keep smiling