Monday, 17 October 2016

Our Next Step: Developing Thumbnail Sketches from our Mindmaps

Grade 11 students are continuing to develop ideas for #Canada150 artworks by following the steps in the Design Process.  Last week, we developed mind maps that helped us share our ideas about our topic.  Take a look through some of the examples here.

Now that we have created mind maps, our next step is to prioritize what is important to us.  We will look at all of our ideas in our mind maps and create thumbnail sketches for the most important ideas. Today, we listened to Clara Lieu explain how she developed thumbnail sketches after creating mind maps:


It will be interesting to see students make decisions about their most important ideas, and to watch them develop sketches for their artworks!

Tuesday, 11 October 2016

Let's Use #ArtProfDare to Get Us Thinking About #Canada150

Last week, grade 11 art students were introduced to #Canada150, a project that will challenge our ideas about citizenship, identity and expression.  This week, we are beginning our preliminary work. This work will help us focus on the main ideas from a variety of perspectives.  To help, I will be sharing Clara Lieu's October Art Dare with students -- brainstorming and mind mapping are fabulous techniques to generate ideas!

Why is it important to generate ideas?  Originality and creativity are two words that are often thrown around, but what do they mean?

Your thoughts, your ideas, and your perspectives need to be shared.  I have already seen and heard my own ideas, as well as those from other artists.  This is your chance to find out what you are capable of.  How do you see things?  What is your opinion?  How do we form an opinion or an idea about #Canada150?  This week is devoted to developing your ideas.  *We are following the steps in the Creative/Design Process.  Take a look at --> this post <-- to learn more.

Sunday, 25 September 2016


In 2017, Canada will celebrate its 150th anniversary of Confederation.  To prepare for next year's event, senior art students will be challenged to prepare an artwork (or a series of work) that represents their understanding of Canada through a social and political lens.

How should we celebrate Canada in 2017?  How do we view Canada, and how do we see ourselves (and others) as Canadian?  Do we appreciate our differences or are we limited to our own perspectives and experiences?

In December 2015, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada released its final report.  Is this report important to our growth and success as a country?  Why does/should it matter?  Do you think that some people are unaware of the importance of this report?  Why or why not?

Christi Belcourt is one of Canada's finest artists.  Her work is honest, revealing and beautifully intriguing.  This summer, she spoke with CBC radio to describe how she turned an act of discrimination into a work of art.  Listen to this podcast to hear the full story.

There is no doubt that exploring and finding our Canadian identities can be confusing and somewhat unclear.  We are a country that prides itself on diversity while we strive to find better ways to promote equity.  We want to take care of our environment but we know that change won't happen overnight.  We want to reach out to others but we are limited by resources.

How can students have an impact on other Canadians?  How can simple awareness affect civic responsibility?  How can art reflect society?  Can art change society?  Questions like these will be used to guide students in their next task.  Our class will be encouraged to broach sensitive topics in a quest to find more truth and understanding.

Wednesday, 7 September 2016


Our first priority as we get warmed up for the semester:  we need to relax.  How will we relax?  We're going to play!

Before we begin our activities, each student will need to set up a Google account and a blog.  If you don't have a Google account, please visit this site:

When/if you have your Google account ready, it's time to create your blog!

Find the BLOGGER app by clicking on the icon shown above.
Find "Blogger" and click "New Blog".  Follow the steps to create your blog for this course:  Think of a title that you'll be happy to share, as well as a blog address (you will share this address with me once your blog is created).  When it is up & running, feel free to play with the look and the theme of your blog -- I can help you with this too!

To find your URL, click on the button "view blog".  Send this link to me (I'll give you my email address in class).


This week's challenge is PLAY.  We're going to play by participating in a challenge on the HITRECORD site (students have the option of using their name or an alias).


Here is some inspiration from Seth Godin:

Image courtesy of Seth's Blog


Monday, 20 June 2016

E-Learning Film Festival from Media Arts Students!

E-Learning can be very challenging, especially when you're learning about new tools and you're trying to be creative.  Fortunately, my Media Arts students were up for a challenge!  Congratulations to my class, who have pushed their own abilities and found success in the online environment!

Sunday, 12 June 2016

Critical Thinking: What is Art?

A note to my grade 9 students:  I'm writing this to you on Sunday morning because I'm a geek.  I'm also doing this to avoid other things I'm supposed to be doing, like folding my laundry.

...gotta love Snapchat

I'm learning about something called critical thinking, which is really interesting to geeky people like me.  Today, you're going to use a bit of critical thinking to help you question what you're going to see and hear.  After you watch the two short videos, you will form an opinion based on your new knowledge.  Don't worry:  it's easy and fun.  Time to get your geek on.

Your first video is made by McHooots, and I found myself totally enjoying his sense of humour, even though I didn't think I would.  

When we think critically, we want to go beyond simply watching a video or reading text.  Critical thinking helps us understand what we're watching & reading.

I have a few questions to help you think about what you just watched.  If you like, you can watch it again while you answer your questions.  You can work with a partner, especially if you talk about your ideas (if you don't agree, make sure to record all of your responses/ideas!).

  1. Who do you think this video is made for?  How did you make this decision?
  2. Who might disagree with what McHooots said in the video?  Why would they disagree?

Once you have recorded your answers, it's time to watch the next video, "I Could Do That":

Have you ever looked at an artwork and thought, "I could do that!"?  I know I have... which makes you wonder why an art gallery, who hires some really smart people, would choose to display such a simple artwork.  Hmm.

So let's think about this.  When we're introduced to new works of art, is there more than meets the eye?  Is it possible to appreciate art that we don't enjoy looking at?

Please answer the following questions (with or without a friend's help):

  1. When this video was created, who do you think they felt should watch it?  Why?
  2. In what ways was this video similar to the first video?  How was it different? 
  3. If you were asked to share a video that was made to change someone's mind about the meaning of art, which one would you choose?  Why?

I really can't wait to hear what you think about these videos.  Your opinions matter to me, because it's important that we become more aware of how we interact with media, whether we're reading books and articles, or we're watching videos or looking at advertisements on TV.  

Don't take anything for granted.  Question what you're reading.  Question what you're watching.  Consider this:  what isn't being shared with you?  ...and why not?