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Shelbi Schroeder, MAT ’17, describes her experience teaching art at Southridge High School

January 31, 2017

Shelbi’s students at Southridge High School explored digital photography through the lenses of commercial art and fine art, evaluating a variety of commercial and fine art photographs to articulate how the photographer created compositions with particular points of emphasis. Students then used Photoshop to manipulate a single photo to create one fine art image and one commercial art image.

There were many students that really embraced the project. I had scaffolded a lot with the students so that they were able to understand the root of the differences between Fine Art and commercial art. I think the students took interest because they were aware of the origins from which their project came.

The pieces I chose to display belong to the four students who sat right next to my desk. I wanted to not pick the four “best” images; I don’t think that gives an accurate portrayal of the assignment.

Since this was my first experience teaching at the high-school level, I learned that I must be flexible! The most important part of teaching is to understand that flexibility and adaptability skills are a necessity!

One challenge that I didn’t expect was the amount of differentiation that goes into a project like this when you are working with freshmen, sophomores, juniors, and seniors. This range of maturity level is wide, therefore throughout the lessons I would switch up components for different students. For example, one student will not write anything down; he refuses to because it’s a mental block for him, but he always has all of the information in his head. I’ve been working on auditory assignments with him for activities like brainstorming worksheets.

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