Thoughts After Week 5

Another week of teaching is in the can. My three classes are all at different points, and each class is working on developing very different skills.

The Survey Bunch had their first exam. It is the first time I had them memorize less and look more; over half the exam were “unknowns” – images that they had never seen before that they had to identify stylistically. This is much more what will happen when we go to the Walters (or any other museum); they won’t see what is in their books unless they go to the Louvre (NOT in the field trip budget!). They will see things *like* what are in their books and so they should be able to “do” something with that. We’ll see when we tackle grading. Tomorrow.

The first-year students in the FYS are, well, first-year students. They showed their colors in Reacting to the Past Game 1. Great start out of the gate, and then they flagged. I wanted to pull my hair out. Today I met with each one individually. They had to assess how they did. Most agreed they did not do what they needed to do (Uh, ya think?). Game 2 (my Art Game) starts next week. Wipe the slate; let’s go again!

And the 19C class is running steady. The had group presentations this week in which they had to read a painting formally – using formal/visual analysis and compositional analysis to come up with an interpretation of a painting. Next week they judge representative works from the 1855 Art Salon as conservative critics, determining which works should win Medals of Honor. Their mid-term evaluation will be on that same topic, but they don’t know that yet. Today we had a great discussion about Courbet’s 1854 painting The Meeting (or also known by the title Bonjour, Monsieur Courbet. Love it – and see it here.)

Last week’s critical discussion was excellent, by the way. The day before the critical discussion of an article they had read, we had a small group then large group discussion of the main points. After getting everyone set with that, they analyzed. The discussion in class – and their individual papers – were much better because of that step. Can’t do that every week, but it was a good lesson in staging an assignment, even a discussion.

And finally, a thankful shout out for those who attended the CFE workshops this week. Thanks for your attendance! Be sure to check the Fall 2010 Events page for more.

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