Back in November ’13 I gave a talk at TEDx Jersey City about the game design class I’ve been teaching to children in northern NJ. Below is the transcript of my talk, including some of the images I used to showcase the work of my students.
I find that my elementary school classes can be a bit noisy. It’s partly because the kids have been in class all day and drawing is after-school enrichment. It’s probably also because I talked a lot in school and I have a relaxed attitude toward letting students converse with their friends. When I was in 3rd grade I had a teacher who sent notes home every week complaining about my mouth. Eventually my parents pulled me out of that Catholic school and sent me to the public school down the street. Luckily the new school had a teacher who saw and supported my interest in drawing and art and I had a much better time.
But now I find I’m on the receiving end of being talked over and ignored by groups of 2nd and 3rd graders. While I hope the kids enjoy my class, I do need to keep it all in check or I wind up with a rising din of noise, distracted students and a bunch of half finished drawings at the end of class.
Charity Preston posts articles and videos for her Organized Classroom blog and the video above outlines her technique of using red, yellow and green cups to keep the noise in check and let the kids know when they’ve become too loud. It seems like a smart method and I’ll have to see if I can make it work.
19th century artist and instructor John Ruskin founded a drawing school at Oxford University in 1871. Oxford has now posted his collection of images, notes and instruction into an immense online catalogue. While much of the physical work has been dispersed around the world, the web allows the collection to be seen in its entirety, with information cross-referenced for ease of browsing. Oxford has also added contemporary interpretation of Ruskin’s teachings, as well as short drawing instruction videos.
From the site:
He intended it not for the training of artists, but of ordinary men and women, who, by following his course, ‘might see greater beauties than they had hitherto seen in nature and in art, and thereby gain more pleasure in life’. His method required the student to master the rudiments of technique – outline, shading, colour – through a carefully directed course of lessons in copying both works of art and natural specimens.
Link: The Elements of Drawing
Last year I was invited to be a teaching artist at HOLA, a charter school in Hoboken. I developed a comic-book curriculum for children from K-2. Through 5 weekly classes we reviewed the concepts of character, setting and storyline and each student finished the class with a complete storybook. I’ve been invited again this year and I’m planning to teach game design. Here is my proposal.