The"C" and "K" Art Classroom by Matt Laurance

Components of a "C" Consistent Application Classroom:

  • Builds on the highly structured activities of the "H" classroom, and the allowed student choices of the "A" classroom.
  • Then incorporates a dramatic shift in the classroom culture: the teacher moves away from the center of instruction, and becomes a facilitator of student centered project based learning.
  • High rigor becomes the learning standard. Students take on projects where they will research and investigate lessons across curricular boundaries, which reinforces concepts and content learned through their studies. The project based learning forces students engage high order learning through analysis, synthesis, creativity, and the transfer of knowledge.
  • Rather than creating a barrier, technology becomes an essential component in learning, due to the increased familiarity students have with the broad range of digital and traditional resources available to them.
  • Finally, the "C" classroom greatly expands upon the choices offered students in the "A" classroom. Where before they had a choice of platforms to respond to teacher led instruction, they now have much more control of content, outcomes, and planning.
In the "C" art classroom, high expectations meet high student engagement.

In Mr. Laurance's "C" art classroom...

  • The shift in culture is natural to the study of art. Once students have a foundation in drawing and design that they can apply, then they are ready for deeper and broader investigation of content and media. The study of art can be combined with the study of English, history, science, world cultures, and even math. Students can be inspired by their own interests, and will be able to apply a number of platforms they have become familiar with through the H and A activities. They have already taken their own drawings and planned paintings and graphics in programs like Sumo Paint or Adobe Illustrator. They planned and began documenting their work for a digital portfolio, and created their own digital presentations, and now they are ready for deeper investigation of cross curricular content.
  • Teacher led Instruction in Mr. Laurance's room is centered around key concepts that students learn deeply through study, practice and application. For example, once students know the six fields of value and how to apply them, they can analyze how value is used to model form in Western painting, and then compare this to how it is used in Chinese paintings. Value and modeling then become two of several concepts they can apply to analysis of Chinese or other cultural artworks, in a project that investigates topics and meets standards in English 8, World History, and art class simultaneously. Students have a broad range of choices in content: which movements or artists to investigate; outcomes: what their project will look like; and technology: which platforms, media or devices to use.
  • Mr. Laurance is happy to move from the center of instruction to the role of facilitator, because it means having time to work with students in small groups and one on one. This allows him to get to know the students better, and learning more about their interests, he can encourage them to pursue them, and guide them to find ways to do so that are aligned with core standards.
  • High rigor is enhanced because students become excited and motivated by their own growing efficacy as artists. When students see that by applying themselves to structured assignments they improve, then a genuine interest in the entire field of study grows within them. Their efficacy is growing in their use of digital tools and platforms as well, which inspires them to create the best products they can.
In this example of a "K" project, students interview a parent of guardian, asking for stories about an ancestor.

Components of a "K" knowledge based classroom: In addition to the components of the "C" classroom, the knowledge based classroom adds these:

  • Personalized Learning Goals: the students take the learning targets of the teacher and develops them with their own interests and learning styles in mind, in order to create a more meaningful learning environment.
  • PLG in Mr. Laurance's art classroom: can take many forms: Content: students study art history, critical theory and the art of other cultures, but how that investigation takes shape is up to them once they have a foundation of vocabulary and analysis; Outcomes: students have a wide array of choices in how they demonstrate their learning in terms of platforms, media, and products.
  • Students take ownership of their learning and outcome products through in depth, project based learning.
  • Project based learning encourages a deep investigation into topics which are selected by individual students and small groups.
  • Rubric based inquiry allows students to take responsibility for their own learning and outcome assessments. Rubrics in Mr. Laurance's class are process oriented, assessing how students work and learn even more than what they learn or produce.
  • We move beyond the brick and mortar school, with interviews of artists, public art officials, museum directors, friends and families. One of Mr. Laurance's goals is to bridge the value gap between student's cultural contexts at home and with friends, and the values promoted in the classroom. In order to do this two projects involve interviews of family and friends, which then inform the creative process in the classroom.


Created with images by US Department of Education - "Duke Ellington DNG 360" • PixArc - "blackboard chalkboard chalk" • jessaharris - "Mary Saleta or Salethia Burger"

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