Do you collect trading cards?

With the start of baseball season this an excellent time to talk to your students about trading cards…..artist trading cards.   ATC’s are miniature pieces of art.  They can be composed of a variety of materials with multiple themes.   Students love the versatility of the cards as well as the size. ATC’s measure 2.5 X 3.5 inches making them easy to handle and even easier for trading and collecting.

After brainstorming a list of different themes for their cards students were given a graphic organizer that defined the three basic parts of an ATC .  The art room became a smorgasbord of materials giving students multiple choices to create their cards.  The most popular station was for embellishment where they could decorate with buttons, sequins, and glitter!

Students were required to make 5 different cards but many of them chose to make more.  The variety of techniques as well as ideas was endless. At the end of the lesson students gathered together to share their art work as well as trade their ATC’s.

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Teaching an Old Dog New Tricks aka Blogging in the Classroom

Last year, my teaching partner suggested that we do a lesson using blogging.  She is young, I am not. Obviously I did not concur.  My reasons for not wanting to blog were based on scheduling the always busy computer lab for our students to use as well as my gross lack of knowledge.  Like anything else that is new, the fear of learning and maintaining a certain level of quality made me squirm.  She finally convinced me that it wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be to blog with my students (her opinion) and we could work around the scheduling conflict.

So, since this was her idea, she developed a lesson on ATC’s (Artist Trading Cards) and we entered the blogging world.  The lesson was awesome, I knew the students would love doing ATC’s and we really strived to make it fun as well as interesting.  In retrospect it is one of our most successful choice based lessons.

Using the Kidblog site we uploaded the photos of the students’ ATC’s and gave them five prompts to use when they were blogging.  Five different ATC’s were published and students had to comment on three of them. After completing the assignment they could blog on any or all of the students within their classroom.  They had two rules to follow, use correct English and spelling and any criticism of artwork made had to be constructive.  All blogs by students had to be approved by the teacher in order to be published, leaving us in control of all comments.  The students loved blogging.  It was fun to look at other students work as well as comment on them.  They also liked having their own work posted.

From the reluctant teacher perspective I found this lesson to be very successful.  It was rewarding to see the students get excited about sharing their work and commenting in a non-threatening format.   The editing of work and the scheduling of the computer labs to publish work took more time than I would have liked but the benefits definitely outweigh the drawbacks.  In the future I would just delete work that was not submitted properly rather than edit and now students are permitted to bring HHD into the classroom.

Now that I have become more familiar with blogging and understand the mechanics I cannot wait to blog again with my students.  I am anxiously brainstorming new lessons that will utilize blogging.  Students love using technology, by making blogging a part of the art room I feel that I am developing good writing and communication skills about art.  Also, my classroom has become more current.

It’s not a bad thing to teach old dogs new tricks.