"Assemblage" is the 3-D version of "collage”. "Found object fragments," "discards," or "throwaways" (artist's work to look at: Schwitters, Cornell, Rauschenberg, Bearden, etc.).

These things are organized by their specific elements. The resulting groups are then arranged into compositions of art.

Extending to many cultures of people living in family, religious, work, and various other groups; We could be viewed as a complex living version of "assemblage”(Webster 1. a group of persons or things gathered or collected).

We have “found” each other by chance; either by blood, common goals, or a certain chemistry. These connections help to formulate new ideas, innovations, and even new generations. John Anderson

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Empowering Students to Learn: My Confession

Josh Stumpenhorst wrote the article “I resign from teaching” for his blog ( He has been chosen for the “Illinois Teacher of the Year” award; and he has inspired me to recall my own experiences in teaching high school art for 35 years. 
In his article, Mr. S is really not resigning from teaching, but refraining from “telling [students] what to do.” Students “might do well on the test, but cannot talk about what they learned.” “It is clear to me that the less I teach, the more my students are learning.”
At the start of my teaching career, I was a “control freak.” I was in charge and new my subject well. We spent much time designing, sawing, removing scratches, and polishing a metal jewelry project. They had to approach my level of excellence; and the students worked very hard to please me. 
Upon completion and after my critique of their work, I was very excited and pleased with their successes. The students left for the summer and I wished them well. Much to my surprise, they also left their projects on the table. I realized immediately they did not own the designs. They worked for me, produced my work and learned little about making choices.
I thought about this elective class and if they gave me another chance, I would change things next year. My new goal was for them to achieve their goals. A basic foundation achieved in a reasonable time was required for their independence; a series of simple projects or “chain” of events leading to a personally chosen final project. I spoke about the necessity of these building blocks of skills needed to express their own ideas. They bought it and raced through the main course to have their desert.
In jewelry class, there are many unfamiliar and challenging technical processes to learn. The most difficult is silver soldering. Even after a demonstration, each student needs to be lead through the many steps because the torch is scary, dangerous and complicated. It was impossible for me to do this by myself for 22 to 27 students in time. Luckily, 5 to 7 students were advanced and willing to help teach.
I learned much from teaching; and so did these advanced students. Not only did strangers become friends and mentors, but beginners left class on the first day of school with a soldered and polished ring on their finger. They were fired up. They showed their ring to friends in school; and guess what happened when asked by mom or dad “How was your first day of school?” JA

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