Expressing Ideas: This Week in #ALC1O #ENG2D #AVI3O


We’re already into the second half of September. The first few weeks of the semester are behind us and the period of “get-to-know-you” has transformed into “let’s-see-what-you-can-do.” In both art classes and the English class, I feel lucky in the sense that my students (for the most part) are enthusiastic about showing me what they can do – as well as showing a willingness to learn more. For those who aren’t quite at that stage, it’s my job to try and engage, motivate, and push. So far, so good. My goal is to allow students to express who they are, both through art and writing.

In ALC1O – Grade 9 Visual Art students pushed their thinking to complete two designs in the past two weeks. The first had them create a design that used the elements of art as a way to express their emotions. I also wanted students to get accustomed to their art studio surroundings and show me that they could be responsible with materials. The mission was successful.

This week, we’re going to continue the idea of self-expression by creating plaster masks. To make this a successful project, students have to work with a partner, get a bit messy, do some planning, and then some designing. We started the process today with one person being the “model” and the second person being the “artist.” The roles will switch and then, with base masks ready, students will go into the design stage.

Check out the engagement, the smiles, the teamwork, and the awesome results:

Stay tuned for updates. I love this project!

In ENG2D – Grade 10 Academic English, we are focusing our efforts on essay skills – with a focus on argumentative essays. I want to ensure students have a clear understanding of expectations, success criteria, exemplars, and the writing process so that they will struggle (hopefully!) less with essays for the rest of their time in high school. To date, students have:

  • Developed an understanding of topic and thesis
  • Been able to conference and discuss topics and thesis statements under the framework of an essay outline
  • Been given the first major essay assignment

This process will take the rest of the week, because I want to give sufficient time for conferencing and feedback. Then, these folks will be on their own.

Finally, in AVI3O – Grade 11 Visual Arts, we finished an introductory acrylic painting assignment. Like the grade 9 class, the plan was to familiarize students with art studio expectations, some basic painting techniques, and the beginning of the creative process. This week, we’ll focus on some more technical aspects, starting with drawing techniques:

Download (PDF, 582KB)

So there you have it… a busy third(1!) week. Enjoy it!


Great First Week! #ALC1O #ENG2D #AVI3O

There’s always a bit of anticipation and anxiety that comes with the beginning of a new school year. As a teacher, I begin each year wondering how I can step up my game, do a better job of reaching my students, and of course maintain my sanity. This year, I am also contending with a return to the art classroom after a two year absence. I’m pretty excited to be back teaching art, especially after participating in a Leadership Program with colleagues Colleen Rose and Lindsay Costa. I can put ideas to practice!

I decided to jump right into things with my classes this week. In ALC1O – Grade 9 Visual Art students have been working on an Introductory Design assignment.

I really want to applaud the new Grade 9s who jumped right in. The first week is always important for me to gauge work habits, risk-taking, and use of materials. This group is awesome. I’m looking forward to seeing things come together as we finish the activity. We will also be exploring the Elements and Principles of Art.

In ENG2D – Grade 10 English, we spent the first few days with some introductory writing assignments. We will continue that this week as well as introduce essay writing. My intention is to ensure that these students are experts in academic writing. Students are also reading To Kill A Mockingbird in advance of our next unit.

Finally, in AVI3O – Grade 11 Art I started the semester by asking my students the following question:

What is an emotion, character trait, or interest that you feel defines you? What does that LOOK like? How could you communicate your answer in art?

Students jumped to brainstorming. Some used lines and colours to represent their idea. Otherwise went with emojis. Still others decided to work on self portraits or outdoor scenes. I’m interested in seeing the creative processes of these students and I’ll be excited to share their final products. Most students are using acrylics on canvas paper for this assignment. The majority of the class has not been in visual art since the Grade 9 half-credit course so I have unlimited options to help build an appreciation for art with these folks!

Week #2 is going to be a great week!




Attention #ALC1O and AVI3O Visual Art Students

I’m excited to explore visual arts with students this semester. We experiment with many tools and techniques and I encourage students to guide their own learning based on their areas of interest. In the art room I have limited supplies for everyone. However, students – especially those in the AVI3O – Grade 11 art class may wish to bring some of their own supplies. I suggest:

  • A beginner’s drawing set. These include various pencils and usually a sharpener and eraser. This is highly-recommended. These can (usually) be purchased locally or from retailers like Amazon, Staples, Michaels, or Walmart – often for under $10
  • Pencil Crayons. A set of 24 colours works well.

Otherwise, everything else is provided (within reason!) to allow students to complete assignments.

Let me know if you have questions!