Let's Do an Art Project is an educational system for middle school students that incorporates mindfulness theories and constructivist learning into a self-directed learning experience. By providing resources for art teachers, Let's Do An Art Project allows students to take control of their own learning process. Students are motivated to create their own unique works of art. After selecting their own area of interest, students focus on developing the necessary skills to achieve their project goal. Students use critical thinking and problem solving to successfully complete and present their projects.
How it works
1. Project Intro
The teacher introduces the project to the students and sets expectations.
2. Pick A Project
Using the poster, online quiz, or their own imagination, the students pick a project they would like to do.
3. Make A Plan
With their booklet, the students plan out the steps they need to take to complete their project.
4. Learn Skills
The students head to the internet to help them learn any new skills they might need.
5. Make it!
Step by step, the students work to complete their project, recording their process as they go.
Along with the reflections they do along the way, the students complete a final reflection.
7. Share Experience
Students either present their final project and new skills to the class or create a video documenting their accomplishments.
Developing the System
After working directly with middle school students, I found that many of them were excited about the idea of self-directed learning. However, when I asked them, "What would you like to make?" many were silenced by indecision. Through further investigation, I discovered that many were unsure about what kinds of projects they could potentially tackle. I conducted workshops with students to generate lists of art projects and techniques they were interested in. I also talked with teachers to better understand the scope of their students' capabilities.
Decisions Made Easy
With this knowledge in mind, I organized all of the projects by medium and genre into a logic map. From there, I created a series of questions that allow a person to narrow down on a specific project. I translated this map into an interactive quiz. Included in the experience are links to both video and text tutorials.
Follow the Prompts above to find your perfect project. (Note: requires Adobe Flash Player)
After working with teachers and students from a couple of different schools, it was clear to me that each school is unique. There are different circular requirements, available funds, and limited resources. I created a physical poster and booklet that could be implemented today for little to no money.
Because I worked from a systematic perspective, making the switch to a physical format was simple. The image to the right is a large poster that could be hung in a classroom. It works the same way the quiz does, and allows the student to find his or her perfect project.
The booklet is used throughout every stage of the student's project. It helps student keep track of their project in the following ways.
- Define their project parameters
- Set their ultimate goal
- Assist with reflecting on successes and failures
- Keep track of progress along the way
- Help teachers keep track of student progress
- Keeping it cheap to implement with a simple layout and a black and white format
Building a Flexible System
Let's Do An Art Project explores opportunities for new ways of teaching and learning in conventional classrooms. My goal was to create a set of tools that would be simple to understand, easy to use, and next to nothing to implement. My approach to this project was from a systematic perspective. I focused on different kinds of interventions that would change the way children learn today. With future development, these tools could be implemented in many different ways.
Use and Share!
Interested in using these materials? You're welcome to do so! Please remember to credit me and reach out with any stories or feedback! Click the buttons to the right to download the .pdf files.