Thursday, March 30, 2017

4th Grade Think Different Design Challenge

Hello. This is my first blog post as Ms. Higgison’s student teacher. My name is Ouda Baxter (Ms. Ouda to the students) and I am currently in the Masters in Art Teaching Program at Maine College of Art. I am very excited to be here, and through the end of April.

In early March I presented a Design Challenge Project to 4th graders utilizing a Mystery Bag, and the idea of Transformation as well as Envisioning play a prominent part in this project. The goal was to envision, to stretch and explore and meet the Design Challenge using a limited number of materials and with a time constraint as well. Questions we asked to get our minds going are: What is a design challenge?  How can artists meet design challenges? Why do artists give themselves design challenges? And What makes a sculpture different from a 3D object?

We discussed the difference between a mass produced factory made dinosaur toy (3D object) and a ceramic handmade sculpture (one of a kind). We also talked about staplers and looked at a couple different models as we thought about the Design Challenges faced by the stapler designers; how easy was it to use, how appealing did it look, was it comfortable to use, how many pages could it staple.
We identified the Problem ( using the objects in each Mystery Bag to create something) . We then set about brainstorming potential creative solutions, with the project being very open ended so that there were literally millions of solutions. My intention with this project is to actively practice stretching concepts, getting young artists to Think Differently, and allowing students to meet the Design Challenge each in his or her own way. The parameters were: One paper bag (optional), 3 long straws, 2 short straws, 1 piece of paper, 1 small paper plate, and 3 pieces of tape, and each student had to Title their project, just as almost every art piece, whether it be a drawing, painting, sculpture, or photograph, has a title. One of the students commented: “I learned how much you can build with 3 pieces of tape!” and another, “I learned how creative I could be.”

The project outcomes were VERY diverse and imaginative. I can see that the students really did that, and some of them really ran with it. The slideshow below, is evidence of how engaged students were and how students thought differently and let their imaginations run wild. The skills practiced in this project are ones that the Y.E.S. Share Team teachers ( Ms. Pachuta, Mrs. Clark, Mrs. Spellman, Mrs. Troy and Mrs. Higgison) are all focusing on this year; Positive Thinking, Patience, Practice and Perseverance.

The slideshow has examples of finished work as well as work in progress.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Please Welcome Ouda Baxter Maine College of Art Student Teacher

Greetings, Families!

I would like to introduce myself. My name is Ouda Baxter and I am in the Masters in Art Teaching program at Maine College of Art and I am student teaching in the Art Studio with Mrs. Higgison as my mentor teacher. I have an undergraduate degree from Bowdoin College in Visual Arts, and have lived all over the world, including Africa, South America, and Europe, with roots in Maine due to my grandparents. It is a privilege and an honor to be learning and teaching alongside Mrs. Higgison and all of the wonderful students at Yarmouth Elementary these past few weeks. I am also really loving March as “Think Different” month, including the art work out in our hallway, the Collaborative Monochromatic Mural Project.
This week, I have been teaching a “Painting to Music” lesson with the 2nd grade, and we are also working in Clay Scranimals with 3rd grade, while the 4th grade finishes MEA testing and has had short art doodle challenges.

In addition I am a practicing artist, primarily a multimedia artist focusing on Sculpture and Installation, as well as Photography, to explore both the natural world and the constructed world. I also paint in watercolor and ink, as well as with gouache and acrylics. I like to make drawing implements with found objects, and make my own inks and dyes with foraged plant materials. 
Feel free to come by and say hi- I would love to meet you! I will be here through the last week in April.
Sincerely, Ouda Baxter ( aka Ms. Ouda)

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Monochromatic Friends

In the Art Studio we have been learning the term, MONOCHROMATIC; mono meaning one, and chroma meaning color, thus " monochromatic" means shades and tints of one color.  With that in mind I have been searching for 'sightings' of monochromatic occurrences at Y.E.S.  Below are some sightings of 4th graders either dressed monochromatically or nearly camouflaged as they stood next to a monochromatic panel in our abstract art wing mural.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Art in process: Collaborative Abstract Mural by 3rd & 4th Graders

March is YOUTH ART MONTH: During the month of March, that I call " Think Different Challenge" month in the Y. E. S. Art Studio, all third and 4th graders are participating in a collaborative abstract mural that is being created in the hallway outside the Art Studio.   My goal in embarking on the project was to engage the students in an authentic artistic process, where the artist, in this case approximately 250 artists,  participate in a where each student responds to the work ( marks, colors, etc) of the artist before them. Its a process that will continue to evolve, until it gets to a point that we are satisfied with it. It feels a bit like I am musical conductor, keeping a focus on the whole and allowing the artists to do their thing, but controlling the materials and tools. 

Its a lesson that started with math,  music and monochromatic colors meet to create a layered work of art.  The math was  geometric shapes, parallel lines and measured midpoints.  The music was, for a brief period artists painted  to J.S. Bach's " Aria" from the "Goldberg Variations".  And day two color began to be added and it  then evolved into a color lesson using primary and secondary colors.  Its now transformed into segments of monochromatic colors that progress across the murals surface.   I will keep adding to the images as the mural unfolds.  And I confess, each morning now this week, I am excited to come to the hallway and just bask literally in the glow of the mural.  If you are at Y.E.S. be sure to come by and check it out.  Its well work your time, or so I think! Next week we will continue to fine tune and hopefully add a title.  One student called it " A trail through an abstract rainbow", which I found particularly resonating.
In addition, when Ms. Agell saw it, she exclaimed, " Oh, its a palimpsest!".  I had never heard of the word but indeed it is a palimpsest, something that reveals itself through various layers that continue to show through, as more layers are added.
Mrs. Wentworth's 3rd Graders, day 4 of the mural. Add captio

A very focused 3rd grader adding highlights on the monochromatic segment of green. 

Mr. Gordon's 4th graders getting into their groove. 

Day 2: Color is starting to be added.

End of Day 1: Parallel lines, geometric shapes and lines, some zentangles.