I will agree with both your statements. Flexibility is
very important in self-directed structuring of the
classroom. Learning styles vary among students.
Giving all students a structure to begin with and then
adapting it to their individual style has greater
I have had students that the timeline creation has
been a saving grace for them, some it is just a
reminder and others its a measure of the success they
are having. Some write very detailed timelines, some
just jot a word down. They all know that timelines
change for a variety of reasons. In their final
assessments to me they write that the timelines was a
new concept they had not experienced before and that I
let them have the flexibility on how to approach it.
I agree artist have different processes for creation
of works of art but for most of my students having
them ponder a theme and finding subjects based on
those themes has given my students the greatest amount
of success. Again flexibility is another point to
make here. I have had a few students who get into the
(flow) of creating works that seem to run a theme
throughout the whole body of work. They do this
without first stating a specific theme. The work is
created from their (core). Again there are very few of
my students who have mastered that ability. Most of
these students went on to explore art careers.
As an artist myself I try to give my students the most
realistic manner of what it is like to be an artist.
The focus is not so much on the final work created as
it is on the "thinking" that takes place to get to
--- Jennifer Blair <noise44@...
> I'm finding this topic very interesting. I'm firstname.lastname@example.org
> teaching artist and I have also been involved in
> democratic education/self-directed learning for many
> years. I'm always excited when I see my two
> interests and passions intersecting for other folks
> as well.
> If I may add my two cents... first I would suggest
> offering tools to help your students organize their
> time and stay on track but not require it.
> Depending on the student and how controlled their
> education has been, making the transition to
> self-direction can can vary in difficulty for them.
> When kids transition from a structured school to one
> that is completely self-initiated it usually takes
> them about a year to decompress, come to trust and
> validate their own interests and direction and start
> exploring their ideas. I think writing their own
> rubrics is a great idea, it gives them the
> opportunity to think about how they want to assess
> their work.
> I think its also important to keep in mind that
> artists have different processes. Some may start
> with a theme and create a body of work, some may
> create the work and then discover the theme. If we
> are to provide kids with authentic art making
> experiences its important to make room for their
> individual creative processes.
> Thanks for letting me share,
> Jennifer Blair, M.Ed.
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: mgalyk<mailto:mgalyk@...>
> Sent: Thursday, July 05, 2007 10:00 AM
> Subject: [art_education] Re: Learning Contracts
> Thank you for your response. This sounds very much
> like what I want to
> do. I think I will have to ease them into it
> slowly to get them used to
> the idea of being self-directed.
> Do you have a form they fill out for their
> theme/projects proposal? (And
> would you be willing to share it?) Do you have
> other forms you use -
> to keep track of points, plan the timeline, etc.?
> I am worried about how
> to keep them on track. I want them to write their
> own rubrics for
> project goals. They are already used to being
> given a rubric by me at
> the beginning of a project.
> I like your idea of the students basing their work
> around their own
> chosen theme. I have been working on a list of
> generalized themes
> (garnered from several sources) to help them
> explore new areas. Of
> course they would be welcome to come up with their
> own ideas too. :-)
> Thanks again for your help.
> Marianne in Ohio
> --- In
> Jeff Pridie <jeffpridie@...>
> > Marianne,
> > This is how I run my program. Students in the
> > half of a semester long Studio Class do the
> > First they must develop a theme for a body of
> > They are reminded Themes should be broad in
> order for
> > them not to get stuck not having enough subject
> > to work with.
> > They have five projects to do in ten weeks. They
> > select the subject matter. They select the
> > They select the size. They create a time line to
> > manage their time.
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