Week 15, May 10 at El Colegio (6 hours)

This week at El Colegio, we continue working on completing the canvasses. The students are working diligently to complete their canvasses and are very excited to be able to display them in the school. I am still working on getting their work viewed at a local coffee shop, but have had no success so far. Many of the students feel their canvas is complete but, we will continue to add layers of paint and different techniques to each painting. Their work has vastly improved over the semester and the students show a lot of pride in their work. The students are also writing a research paper and have so far turned in the outline and rough draft for their papers. The final draft is due this Friday and I am excited to see their papers progress into a writing they can be proud of. We will also recreate the clay pieces for the stop action films this week but will spend more time doing this next week. 

Franklin School with Melodee Strong (10 hours)

Franklin School - Melodee Strong/ shadowing - 10.0 Added into week 10

This was a wonderful opportunity to see an MCAD instructor in another environment and to get some clues on how to go about doing a mural for Sejong Academy, a different school I teach at. Melodee has a wonderful rapport with the kids she works with and is an extremely valuable asset to the Minneapolis Public school system. It was really an awesome experience to see such a well prepared classroom and structure, it gave me much inspiration for my own classrooms. It was also really amazing to see how well the kids responded to the mural itself. They were very excited and glad to be able to be a part of it. As soon as it was time to paint, the kids got right in there and started working. Melodee has a very good presence in the classroom and you can visually see that the kids care about her and respect her a great deal. A portion of my shadowing was done at MCAD when the students visited. This was an interesting event, to see the kids' curiosity grow as they explored MCAD students' work was very joyful. They asked many questions about different works and methods of work making. The last part of the day was creating a paper mural for the walls at MCAD. AT first, the kids were shy and intimidated, but with continued urging and compliments on their vision, they slowly began to get more involved and when it was time to be done, many didn't want to be finished. I really enjoyed my time shadowing Melodee, she is such a strong teacher and truly inspires me. 

Week 14: El Colegio (6 hours)

I had emergency surgery on my toes on Tuesday night and subsequently missed class on Wednesday and Thursday. As a result, I had much work to do at the school on Friday. We began sketching our painting onto the canvas this week, keeping in mind all of our lessons on technique and the elements and principles of art. The kids were a little intimidated at first, so, I asked them to make a series of three sketches to capture what it is they wanted to say to the world through their art. This helped the kids brainstorm and build confidence within themselves and made the blank canvas seem less daunting. The kids are also required to do a research paper by the end of the semester and I asked them for an outline. Most of the kids had never created an outline before so, we went through the process step by step. I gave them a handout which allotted them to fill in their content in the appropriate spots. This was a very important step for the kids because as they enter into college, they will need to know how to write research papers. One of the challenges I am currently having is a struggle with Monday mornings, the kids seem tired and a little irritable. I am working on finding ways to start the week off in a positive way.

Week 13: El Colegio (7.0 hours) April 11th

El Colegio - Thomas Ramirez - 6.0 hours

We began this week with looking at some more stop action films and discussing the student's ideas for their short films. I also brought in the canvasses that were delivered to my house and had the students write their names on it. The students were super excited at the prospect of having a finished canvas at the end of school and I will be looking into different local coffee shops to display their work. We also began doing the different techniques. We first learned about impasto and I had the students work on a still life of the fake fruit to be painted in impasto. I gave the students popsicle sticks to use instead of paint brushes to emulate utilizing a palette knife. The rest of the week, we will continue with other techniques, with glazing and scumbling next and then wet into wet, and then lastly dry brush blending. On Wednesday and Thursday, I had the students create an opening title page and the end title page. I also had them create a more in depth storyboard. On Thursday, we also began building the props and sets for their stop action films. I was able to procure a laptop and a camera for two weeks and will also utilize my camera. What I do need are sd cards though. We will be beginning shooting pictures for their stop action films on Friday. We will be using the clay, tissue, construction paper for the props that I requested and utilizing the outside. Some of the challenges will be having the students get their pictures done in time and the long process of editing.

Week 12: El Colegio (4 hours) April 4th

El Colegio - Thomas Ramirez - 3.0 hours

Class began on Wednesday this week and there were quite a few students that were done with their art credit. I also had some new students. We talked about the stop action film and I put the kids into groups and had them discuss their ideas. I also asked them to turn in a rough draft of their storyboards so i could get an idea of what they were wanting to make for their films. On Friday, I showed the kids a few examples of stop action films so they could get inspired for their project and also get some ideas. We were able to use the projector and watched four short stop action animations on youtube. The kids seemed very excited to begin working on their projects. Some of the challenges will be equipment usage and being able to show them the editing process very rapidly but thoroughly enough for them to understand it.

Week 11: El Colegio (2 hours) March 28th

There was no class this week but I spent 2 hours grading work and going over my lesson plans for the new quarter. We will be continuing the work on the stop action film and each student will paint one large canvas. My plan is to teach four techniques of painting and continue our discussions of the principles and elements of art. Some of my students are seniors and only needed one quarter of art, so my class list will change when school resumes.

Week 9: El Colegio (9 hours) March 14

El Colegio - Thomas Ramirez - 6.0 hours

This week at El Colegio, we worked on still life drawings and paintings. I also talked to the students about MCAD and other college options. We spent a few of the days continuing our plant structure study drawings and the students did very well on their investigations. I also finished up with the portfolio reviews, specifically from students that had been absent and needed extra time to catch up on missing projects. Overall, the students did a great job making sure their assignments were complete and fit the assignment objective. Some students asked to redo projects, which I allowed as their portfolio reviews were a huge portion of their quarter grades. I also allowed some students to do some extra credit that wanted a better grade on their portfolio reviews. It was a good bonding week with myself and the students as they were able to see that I really wanted them to succeed, comprehend and execute each assignment, and inspire them to think about their portfolios as a tool to utilize for college admittance. 

Week 8: El Colegio (7.5 hours) March 7th

El Colegio - Thomas Ramirez - 4.5 hours

We began the week by discussing materials and the ability to paint on multiple surfaces. I brought in my aqua oil set so students could get a feel for oil painting. I also had the students work through the color wheel and we talked about the different terms used when discussing color (primary, secondary, complimentary, tertiary) and how the colors affect each other when placed next to each other. Since I was going to be gone Thursday and Friday for midterm projects, I gathered up coaster sized tile pieces for the students to paint while I was gone. They were to keep in mind the color wheel terminology and be able to explain their color choices when I returned the following Monday. I do have an ongoing challenge with a few boys that are a bit disruptive to the class almost every day. I have spoken to Mr. Ramirez and he had some really good suggestions for me. I also finished up with the portfolio reviews and students spent much of their time making sure that all their work was in their portfolio and any missing assignments were completed. I assisted students that had missing assignments from absences and gave some students an extra week for their portfolios that had been absent for a long stretch.

Week 7: El Colegio (8.5 hours) February 29

El Colegio - Art Classroom - 4.5 hours

This week we focused on making sure all assignments were caught up. Students were given time to finish their portfolios for the upcoming portfolio review. Many of the students wanted to also redo old assignments with the skills they have learned. I was very pleased to see all students working very hard and enthusiastically. I also allowed more time to finish their self portrait collages.

The students are very proud of their portfolios and very careful with each assignment. The ownership of their work is what have changed their work ethics much. They can see the results of hard work and they take much pride in their work. This is very different from when we first began. The students have progressed immensely. One challenge I have is the limits on our supplies. I will be asking around to see if anyone I know is interested in donating any materials for the school. We are really in need of everything but most importantly, we need scissors, glue sticks, drawing paper, pencils, erasers, and paint. I am enjoying teaching at El Colegio and the experience it is giving me. At first, I was a bit overwhelmed but now we have a rapport and class is going very well.

Week 6: El Colegio (7.5 hours) January 25th

El Colegio - Thomas Ramirez - 7.5 hours

We took the last part of our elements and principles quiz this week and discussed the answers that were incorrect. I made certain the students were clear on the definitions and we had a discussion on the differences between some of the terminology. We also looked at Rembrandt this week and his usage of Chiaroscuro. I showed the students many examples of chiaroscuro and how the drama of light can change the emotion of the piece. I also had the students finish their self portrait mosaics and we looked at how light is represented in mosaics through the choice of different hues. I explained that everything they see has multiple hues, reflecting from nearby objects, light, and other factors. I used the fake fruit I had bought to further demonstrate the idea of light and hue change.

Week 5: El Colegio (7 hours) February 15

El Colegio - Art Classroom - 7.5 hours

This week at El Colegio, I talked to the kids about planar analysis, as Lynda suggested. We spent the first part of the week learning what planar analysis was and then put it into practice into easy structures. We continued our planar analysis studies by drawing the hands with planar analysis. The kids had a difficult time with this so we practiced drawing our hands with and without planar analysis.

We also began studying the list of vocabulary words for our second quiz, which was to be taken at the end of the week. The list of words were the principles of art. The students were given the same format as the first quiz where they were offered the words and then needed to provide the definitions. The students were given an extra credit opportunity to describe planar analysis on the back and draw an example. 

After the students were done with their quiz, we discussed self portraits and the possibility of doing self portraits without focusing on the physicality of themselves. I showed the kids some self portraits that explained this more thoroughly and they were able to see that a self portrait can consist of metaphors for who they are and for this we looked at Paul Klee, Andy Warhol, and Pablo Picasso. I explained to the kids that their self portraits for the next week could also encompass what makes them, them...their interests, thoughts, hopes, and dreams. I explained that the assignment would be in collage style and it would be our first critique. Most of the students got A's and B's on their quizzes, they did very well. Some of the challenges I was faced with this week were: keeping the students interested and enforcing the no cell phone rule. 

Week 4: El Colegio (8.5 hours) February 8

El Colegio - Art Classroom - 7.5 hours

This was a very good week at the school. I told the kids all about my trip and they had many questions. I showed them pictures of the Coliseum and some of the paintings by the old Masters. The students were most interested in DaVinci's work and were really excited at the close up pictures I took. They had many questions and some of the more serious art students talked about liking the idea of visiting Italy when they get to college. I talked to the students about exchange programs that many colleges offer and the scholarships that tend to go with the opportunities. We also took the quiz on the elements, most of the students did very well, but, some had clearly not studied. I decided to give those students a second chance at the quiz the following week. 

We also worked on graphic pages this week that could be put into a possible coloring book for the school. The kids spent the majority of the week on these pages but also learned blind contour and continuous line drawing. The blind contour drawings made the students laugh and they were able to see how much they rely on their eyes on their work. I told the kids that we would do many more blind contour drawings in the future to train themselves to constantly view their subjects, as many of the students look at their work more than what they are drawing. 

Week 3: El Colegio ( 0 hours) February 1

El Colegio - 0 hours

I was given an opportunity to go to Italy on this week so I was not at El Colegio. From what I was told, the students spent the week working on portraits in charcoal. They did a combination of self portraits and portraits of their classmates. I was able to see their work when I returned and it was quite good. It looks as though the students worked very hard while I was gone and this pleased me. They were also to study the vocabulary I left with my substitute, which was a list of the elements of art. Upon my return, I was going to give them a quiz of the vocabulary words. The quiz was set up with the words and the students were to define the words. The quiz also allowed for extra credit at the end by drawing an example of value on the back. On my trip to Italy, I was able to visit The Sistine Chapel and saw all the magnificent works of art. It was very emotional and inspiring for me to be able to see the masters work up close and personal. I took a lot of pictures which I intended to share with the students upon my return. Being within inches of the brushstrokes of Michelangelo's work and Da Vinci's work brought me to tears. It was so incredible that to describe my experience in words is difficult. I planned on telling the kids all about my trip when I got back and talking to them about opportunities to go to Italy when they enter into college.

Week 2: El Colegio (7.5 hours) January 25th

El Colegio - Thomas Ramirez - 7.5 hrs

We began the week with focusing on value. I talked in depth with the students about the importance of value in drawings and paintings and how to continue to investigate value. We did several assignments focusing on value as well. I had the students create a value strip with paint going from white to black and showed them how to get all the grays in between. This assignment was very successful and every student participated.

We also incorporated drawing into our value investigations by drawing a series of spheres that would have an obvious light source and therefore create shadow. I showed the students how to shade with crosshatching as well as how to loosen the grip on their pencils to create lighter strokes.

We spent the class period doing two minute sketches with different materials focusing on value.  The rapid time enforced the need for changed strokes and expressive marks that could enhanced value. The two minute sketches allowed the students to see their marks as morphable and important. This also allowed them to work on editing their compositions. The two minute sketches consisted of portrait sketches with their neighbors and perspective sketches of any corner of the art room.   

My main question for this week is how to deal with students that sign up for art class as an elective but then do not participate in class? I will try to keep the class interesting.

Week 1: El Colegio (1.5 hours) January 18th

El Colegio High School_Thomas Ramirez_ 5 hours

I spent an hour and a half meeting with the administrator prior to my onset of practicum. The school is very energetic and everyone is very nice and enthusiastic. The school is very bright and has art work all over the building. The student work is highly impressive. The administrator showed me the sign up sheet for the class which was overflowing but he assured me that the class size would be limited to 25 students. I began on Wednesday, however there was a problem with the IT scheduling and so we did not have any class time. Instead, I began organizing the art room, a task that was needed. On Thursday, there was again IT issues and so the administrator told me I did not need to come in that day. On friday, the issues were still at hand, likely due to the foul weather and so I helped the students work on their wooden hearts. The wooden hearts will be painted and auctioned off in a fundraiser for scholarships. It is a wonderful event and the kids all worked very hard. The rest of my time was utilized to continue the organization. The organization will likely take another five hours or so but once complete, it will be fantastic. I look forward to beginning my week at the school tomorrow.