Welcome to Art Room 161

This blog was created as an extension of the dialogue that began in our classroom and the purpose is to share creative ideas, images, and critiscm. All posts should be appropriate for the high school classroom and critiscm should be helpful and positive.

Wednesday, December 23, 2020

Have a Happy and Safe Holiday Break


Today is our last day of class in 2020 so I want to wish everyone a Happy and Safe Holiday Break and Best Wishes for 2021! 

Tuesday, December 22, 2020

Photography: The Decisive Moment

 In Photography we are learning about Henri Cartier Bresson's concept of the Decisive Moment to prepare for our final assignment which is a long form photo story. We started watching the short documentary above which we will finish today and review the details of our final photo story project in class.


Monday, December 21, 2020

#25DaysofMaking project


We are sharing our one word project with the Maker community including it as Day 30 in the #25DaysofMaking project. We are going to share some of our results with the world so now that we have our word chosen and designed we'll be learning to make a digital 3D version of it using tools like Tinkercad or Morphi.

Friday, December 18, 2020

National Art Honor Society: Among Us Tournament


We had a Virtual Reality Holiday Party this week in the National Art Honor Society and our last meeting of the year will occur on Monday at 3pm for out Among Us Tournament with the SADD club. We'll be working with  SADD on a number of projects this year so it's a fun introduction, join in to play and see which club comes out on top!

Tuesday, December 15, 2020

Studio Art: One Word for 2021

We are heading into a New Year so this week we are going to work one creating a #OneWord resolution for 2021 and making it a graphic image using 3D design that we can use for inspiration.  This concept comes from author and speaker Jon Gordon who came from Smithtown along with Jimmy Page (not the Led Zeppelin guitarist) and Dan Britton who wrote the book One Word that Will Change Your Life.  Jon Gordon returned to Smithtown speak here a few years ago and was inspirational, below is a look at his Football highlight reel from the late 1980's which appears to be taken here at Smithtown East at points.

The idea behind choosing one word is that it's simple, memorable, and more realistic as a driving force for you but it's important to be authentic and think about what you really need in your life before choosing a word.  Here's a clip of Jon on the Today Show talking about the process and the questions to ask yourself when considering your word.  I chose my word. CREATE, early this year and painted it on the classroom wall as a daily reminder which has made an impact.

We are going to talk about how to choose your one word then you will create an 8"x10" design incorporating the word to use for inspiration.  Tomorrow we'll finish our designs and then Wednesday we'll share our work and talk about our goals and why we choose the words we did. We'll learn about 3D design and make our word designs able to be 3D printed. Remember to keep it positive and focused, we are starting out on a blank slate in 2021!

Monday, December 14, 2020

Photography: Using the Tiltshift Technique

In Photography we are continuing our work on Alternative Processes this week with creating tiltshift images. Tilt-shift effects are done either optically, via a special (and expensive) lens, or more usually, in Photoshop. For this first experiment we will use the tiltshift maker link to create 3 tiltshift versions of your photographs. We'll be using the technique and pairing it with others in the future so spend some time seeing what works and getting acquainted. Here are a few tips on what makes for a good tiltshift image:

  • The photo must be taken from above, but not directly overhead. This only reflects what someone taking a photo of a miniature scene would likely do; it’s unlikely they would (or even could) be level to the subject. If you have a direct over shot, you won’t be able to get a decent depth of field that is required.
  • A simple scene is usually better than a complicated one. This is because miniature scenes are usually very simple; you wouldn’t find a dense city block, for example, in a model railroad scene. 
  • Photo sharpness is a must, as well as good lighting. There will be enough blur in the photo as it is; your focal point must be sharp.
  • If people are in the scene, they need to be fairly obscure and small. Again, reflecting what you’d see in a real miniature scene. People are very small, and not well detailed in miniature scenery. 
  • Generally, avoid wide shots, and make sure the scene is interesting – for instance, an aerial photo of a cathedral with spires and flying buttresses is interesting, while an aerial photo of a flat-topped shopping mall would not be.

Friday, December 11, 2020

National Art Honor Society: Artist Trading Cards

We are mailing out our 2nd round of Artist Trading Cards with other schools around the country this week. We'll also be creating ATC's to exchange with each other for the holidays as well as creating some cards to exchange with students at some of our district elementary schools!

Thursday, December 10, 2020

Art Honor Society: Artist Trading Card Exchange


This year in addition to making artist trading cards to exchange with other high schools around the world we'll also do a trade with some of our own elementary schools. Create a card that's appropriate for students k-4 and we'll do a trade at the end of the month then take it a step further and develop an art exchange!

Wednesday, December 9, 2020

Studio Art: 8-bit Self Portrait's


In Studio Art class we are continuing our STEAM unit by creating 8-bit self portrait's in Piskel.  Here are a few terrific examples from class. The next step will be learning how to make them into simple 6 second animated GIFs.

Tuesday, December 8, 2020

Photography: Coding a Digital Photo Booth

This week we are going to learn how to Code a Photo Booth with CODE AVENGERS to celebrate Hour of Code and CS Week. We'll follow the step by step directions on the link below together then each student will create their own photo book app.

Monday, December 7, 2020

Computer Science Week

We're working on new STEAM projects to celebrate CS Week & Hour of Code- we'll make CODE ART with Code dot org & Scratch then experiment with new technologies! We'll start by learning a little bit about the TIME magazine teenager of the year Gitanjali Rao then start working on some CS and art projects of our own!

Friday, December 4, 2020

Collaborative Doodle with Jamboard


For this week's Creative Challenge we will try to work together to complete a Doodle Drawing using Jamboard. Click the links on the Google Classroom and finish the first doodle yourself and submit it. Then we will work together to complete the a second drawing as a class.

Thursday, December 3, 2020

Photography: Photo Transfers

In Photography we are learning about the world of Photo Transfers and preparing images for our first experiments with the alternative photography process. We'll be working with a few different techniques such as: wet transfers with alcohol hand sanitizer and gel medium along with wet and dry techniques with different surfaces.

Tuesday, December 1, 2020

Studio Art: Drawing with Code


This week we will begin learning the basics of coding using Code.org.  Were beginning with the basics but the concept can lead to really cool technology such as the sand table featured below.   A link is posted on Google Classroom, follow the step by step instructions to complete the 10 levels and make sure your computer coding is completed by Wednesday at the start of class. 

Monday, November 30, 2020

Adobe Spark Social Activism Challenge


Love these early student examples from our Adobe Spark Social Activism Challenge which incorporate the UN sustainable development goals & ISTE's Student Digital Citizenship Standard. The project was extended to today due to the issues we had with Adobe Spark last week.

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Thanksgiving Break- Norman Rockwell


Today is the last day before Thanksgiving Break so I wanted to wish you all a terrific holiday! The image above is a classic from artist Norman Rockwell which is entitles Freedom from Want and happens to be on exhibit right now at the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, MA along with my video art piece I created a few years ago as part of the Four Freedoms project based on President Roosevelt's Four Freedoms speech that Rockwell illustrated as a series of paintings.

Monday, November 23, 2020

Social Activism Challenge

Research a social cause from the list of UN Social Development Goals below the research and learn about the history of the subject, and find facts, statistics, or quotes that you might later include as part of your design.

Determine who your audience will be for this project (how images, facts and quotes may work better with different populations, for example, boys vs girls, adults vs students, etc.) Create 2 different social graphics using Adobe Spark Post that use principles of design to create a compelling visual image. 

We will have a discussion about your work in class and the message it portrays then share the work ob social media posts with #AdobeEDUCreative

Friday, November 20, 2020

Studio Art: AI experiment with Auto Draw


In Studio Art we will be taking our first quiz on the drawing terms so the students not in class or finished with the quiz will work on an AI experiment with Auto Draw. This program uses AI to interpret your drawing and make it into a visual riddle.  We are going to try to visually portray a famous film and have each other guess each movie on Tuesday. Below is an example of 5 films done with emojis, can you guess what they are?

Thursday, November 19, 2020

Studio Art: AI, Art, & Magic

This week we are learning about Artificial Intelligence and how some artists, like Refik Anadol shown in the video above, are using it to help create art works.  We are going to use The Magic Sketchpad to create a collaborative drawing with Google's AI like the demonstration I created with the AI below drawing a series of butterflies. I found it to be a bit like drawing with a young child as they are often impulsive and make curious decisions but that's part of what makes it fun, looking forward to seeing what you create!

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Digital Media: Piskel Characters


In Digital Media class we are working on creating 2 different Characters for our upcoming video game using Piskel. We have a week to design and animate the 2 characters and create a short 6 second animated introduction to our video game.

Tuesday, November 17, 2020


I'm proud to represent my home state of New York this week with presentations at both the NYSATA & NYSCATE 2020 conferences! Looking forward to sharing some STEAM Power with my art & edtech colleagues from NY!

Monday, November 16, 2020

Photography: Photographing the Color Wheel


In Photography we'll learn about creating color block photography and take on the Color Wheel. Students will work this week to create an image for ROYGBIV to create our own creative color wheel.

Friday, November 13, 2020

End of Quarter 1


Today marks the End of Quarter 1! We will finish our last assignment and review the quarter grades then look forward to what we have planned for next week.

Thursday, November 12, 2020

STEAM Week: Exploring multimedia art with artist Rafael Lozano-Hemmer


I had an opportunity to talk with artist Rafael Lozano-Hemmer as well as the Director of the Rubin Center and his partner on his new Borderlands project Kerry Doyle this week with Art 21. We will take a closer look at the Borderlands project and Hemmer's art in an extended version of his Art 21 segment: https://art21.org/watch/

Tuesday, November 10, 2020

Extra Credit: Artemis Moon Pod Essay Contest

Our next Extra Credit assignment is to enter the Artemis Moon Pod Essay ContestNASA is taking remote learning to the Moon! 2020 has been a year of working and living at a distance. Now consider what it might be like if you were living with a pod of astronauts 250,000 miles from Earth. Your challenge is to imagine leading a one-week expedition at the Moon’s South Pole – with the whole world cheering you on. Tell us about the types of skills, attributes, and/or personality traits that you would want your Moon Pod crew to have and why. How many would be in your pod? And of course you’ll need high tech gear and gadgets! In your essay, also describe one machine, robot, or technology that you would leave on the lunar surface to help future astronauts explore the Moon. Your entry must meet these requirements: 

  • Grades 9-12: Essay, up to 300 words
  • Please DO NOT put your name in your entry
Selected semifinalists will be invited to represent their state or territory in a series of Artemis Explorer sessions with NASA experts. Nine finalists will travel with a parent to NASA’s Johnson Space Center next summer to learn about lunar exploration, and the national winner in each grade division will win a family trip to see the first Artemis test launch to watch the most powerful rocket in the world launch from Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Godspeed and good luck!

Trip to the Artemis-1 Launch


Trip to NASA's Johnson Space Center


Artemis Prize Pack & 4 Virtual Artemis Explorer Sessions with NASA

Photography: Principles of Design

We are learning the basic Principles of Design so this week you should working on creating images of the fall landscape (which can also include people and other subject matter) that incorporates at least the Principles of Design.

  • Emphasis
  • Unity/Variety
  • Balance
  • Contrast
  • Movement
  • Rhythm/Repetition

Monday, November 9, 2020

National STEAM Day

Happy #STEAMDay! I’ll be celebrating all week as we share some of the work on projects from my book STEAM Power in classes! We are going to create STEAM trading cards based on notable people in the Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math field.

Friday, November 6, 2020

Photography: The Principles of Design

 In Photography we reviewed the Principles of Design with a QUIZLET. and we'll be working to identify them in the work of the National Geographic Photographers we researched as well as play a game of Quizlet Live to see how well we know the terms!

Wednesday, November 4, 2020

Photography: National Geographic Photographer Research Project

 Today we will begin to share the research projects on artists and photographers that we've been working on in class and focus on their work and process.  We'll learn about the basic principles of design and see how they appear in the work we learn about. The example above from National Geographic photographer Bob Krist is a terrific example of rhythm and repetition in it's composition.

Monday, November 2, 2020

Studio Art: Artist Trading Cards

In Studio Art and AP we will be creating 10 unique and creative Artist Trading Cards this week that will be traded with schools around the country. the cards are 2.5 x 3.5" and should include artwork on the front and your name, school, date, teacher, and city-state on the back. The 10 cards will be due on Monday and the subject matter and medium is your choice.

I'll be creating cards along with you that I'll trade, here are a few examples above of cards I've made and traded over the years.

In the past we have trades with schools from around the world from every grade level and it's been a really interesting and fun project. Check out my ATC Pinterest Page for some great example that will inspire you!

Friday, October 30, 2020

Create Friday: Halloween Edition


In the spirit of Halloween we moved our Create Wednesday challenge to Friday and have classes either designing their own candy and packaging or taking a copyright-free cheery image and transforming it to a spooky Halloween photo with an online photo editor.

The picture above of the Chocolate Frogs from Harry Potter's candy shop Honeydukes is a great example of a unique new candy that actually made it to the shelves so I'm looking forward to your creations. Happy Halloween!

Thursday, October 29, 2020

Create Wednesday: Word Portraits


Here's a few of the most creative student submissions from our recent Create Wednesday assignment to draw a Word Portrait from Christina and Emily from AP Art as well as Braden and Will from Studio Art.

Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Digital Media: Teachable Machines

We are going to continue exploring AI and machine learning today in class by working with Google's Teachable Machine to train our computers to recognize different input images. We'll be incorporating this into future projects as an input device.  We'll begin by teaching the computer AI to distinguish between 3 different images of yourself using the chromebook camera. Once we've completed that we'll record a short 10 second video of it working and submit that to the Google Classroom.

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Photography: National Geographic Photographers

In Photography we are researching some famed National Geographic Photographers this week to prepare for out November Photo Story assignment. Each student has been assigned a well-known photographer who's worked with Nat Geo and we'll learn about them together.

Google Slide presentation should include: Cover page with artist, image of artist, name/class/year Birth/death date along with 10 bullet-ed facts about the artist & link to where you got the bio info 10 (large) full size, full page images of the artist's work (1 image per slide) Antonio B- Joel Sartore Kayleigh B- Bob Sasha Jr Abigail C- Ami Vitale Adam C- Ira Block Brynn F- Michael Yamashita Kathryn G- Erika Larsen Payton H- William Albert Allard Abigail H- Paul Nicklen Lauren K- Sisse Brimberg Madison L- Jodi Cobb Ryan M- Michael Nichols Nicolas M- Stephen Alvarez Christina M- Steve McCurry Mahir M- Sam Abell Andrew P John Stanmeyer Willow P- Maggie Steber Kailee R- Sarah Leen Mikaela R- David Doubilet

Monday, October 26, 2020

Digital Media: Coding, Artificial Intelligence, and Machine Learning

In Digital Media class we are going to learn about the basics of Coding, Artificial Intelligence, and Machine Learning this week.  We'll begin with some simple coding with code.org and learn how AI functions then progress to see how AI is used in the world around us and help take part in a scientific survey using AI to study animals.

Friday, October 23, 2020

Exterior Contour with a Zentangle Drawing

We learned a number of Basic Drawing Terms last week on Quizlet and now we are putting them into action. We are beginning work on our Exterior Contour Drawing paired with a Zentangle Drawing which will be a full page work like the example above and below. We are starting with the main contour shape in pencil then inking it and beginning the Zentangle- it makes it easier to break up the space before begining the Zentangle!

Thursday, October 22, 2020

Shanti Peace Poster Contest 2020


This year the Shanti Poster Contest will consist of the highlights from the many years of competition winners as well as new poster designs. Some of the best 11th grade poster designs are pictured above (6 of which were from our AP Art class and 7 of which were from Smithtown).   

Congrats to Emily from our AP Studio Art Class who was chosen to be our 12th grade submission (pictured above)

Congrats to Vivianne from our AP Studio Art Class who was chosen to be our 11th grade submission (pictured above)

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