HyperDocs and Project Design

Have y’all heard of HyperDocs?  They have revolutionized the way I prepare and facilitate curriculum and instruction in my classroom.  For me personally, I feel that HyperDocs and blended learning make me a more efficient teacher.  Also, it enables me to better accommodate my students and their needs as learners and embed more choice in the art room.  It creates autonomy in my classroom and allows more time for enrichment.

You can learn more about HyperDocs here.  Simply put, they are interactive documents with hyperlinks to various forms of content relevant to a given lesson or unit curated to engage the learner in an inquiry-based manner.

Here are some ways that my students have explored art through HyperDocs this year:

The Spirit of a Nation

Recently, I had the chance to collaborate with the fabulous 8th Grade Social Studies team at my school.  As part of their curriculum, they discovered the significance of the landscape artists of the Hudson River School.  After a brief art history presentation of the hidden qualities of these paintings, students ventured across the country into the pop-up mini galleries.  Using iPads to access QR codes, students compared and contrasted selected works of the portfolios Hudson River School artists and journeyed along the path in which an artist made their plein-air sketches before returning to their studio to paint.  Students then used formative and extended their knowledge with a S’More.

Finally, students were challenged to take a photograph that illustrates the style of the Hudson River School artists over their Spring Break.

Digital Self-Portraits

Word PortraitThis is a lesson that can be done with upper elementary all the way to high school art.  As a group, we studied portraiture, specifically self-portraits.  Students are asked to take a photograph of themselves and convert it to a black and white digital image.  This can be done with any basic software that comes with your computer’s operating system, in addition to photo-editing apps available on smart phones and tablets.

  • As a class, we discussed character and character traits.
  • What character traits best described them?
  • If you made a portrait solely based on your character traits, which words would you want to include?

Then, the students made a bubble map of approximately 5-10 words of their character traits.  Similar to a Wordle, the most important character traits were repeated most often.  We also discussed value and form and how artists used value to create form with shades and tints.

Depending on the availability of software in your school, there are a couple of ways to go about this – students can use a presentation tool (like PowerPoint or Keynote) or they can use more software like Adobe Photoshop or Illustrator (although since text is involved, Illustrator is more ideal).  The reason I do not recommend a drawing program is largely because at the completion of their portrait, they will no longer need their photograph.

Students first placed their image onto their canvas.  Next, focusing only on the dark values and shadows, the students added their characteristics in the font of their choice, paying attention to size and rotating as needed.  To accommodate students in middle and high school, I would recommend having students using the value scale to add words in the mid-range values as well, to show more modelling and form.  After they finished, students would remove their photograph, choose a color for the background, and print.

Magazine Bowls

IMG_2695I saw this done at a TAEA conference a few years back.  It is a great way to explore sculpture and recycled art.  As we begin we discuss artists Louise Nevelson and Mark Dion, as well as discussing possibilities for everyday items we use that aren’t easily recycled.  This is a great lesson for upper elementary, middle school, and high school.  For my 5th grade students I give them an inch-wide 14-16 inch long piece of poster board to uses as a folding strip.  With older students, I would recommend using a half-inch wide strip.  This helps them create uniform pieces to combine.  They begin by placing their folding strips lengthwise along the paper (landscape style).  I have the students folding, wrapping the paper around two times before the add a bead of glue.  Then they continue to repeat folding and adding a bead of glue until it is complete.  To build the base, students continue to create their folded strips and then when they have three or four of them, the begin creating the base of the bowl.  I have students create the base 10-20 strips thick in order to give the bowl a substantial base.  Then, the students continue the process, but instead of going directly around, they spiral the strips up to create the sides and edges of the bowl.  The resulting bowl is rather beautiful.  As an enrichment to the lesson, I have the advanced students create a color scheme for their bowl, or make the bowl transform into a vase.