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Monday, January 27, 2014

Project Flop: Good Lessons From A Bad Teacher

The only class I ever failed in college was ‘Intro To Art Education’. Ironic, as I am now the Arts Department Chair at Apex High School. So why a book about failures? Because I believe I can’t take credit for my successes unless I take credit for my failings. There are hundred’s of books about classroom successes. This is a book about failures

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All project start off with the best intentions. Whether you create the lesson from scratch or borrow it from someone else, in your mind you envision success. You write your lesson trying to plan for every situation that may arise. The supplies are laid out, a presentation and a demo are reviewed and practiced, and everything should go off without a hitch.

Then, be it fate, a misalignment of the planets or perhaps the art gods are angry, the lesson falls apart. Regardless of your preparation the students don’t understand. As for your enthusiasm, the class simply doesn’t share your zeal for the project. You try to pull it all together but in the end, for lack of a better word, it fails. Worse off, you take it personally. You feel like you failed. You will be happy to know that you’re in good company.

Project Flop consists of stories from some of the biggest failures that Ian Sands ever taught at Apex High School. Some projects were domed from the start, others appeared successful till an unexpected twist occurred.

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Here are some of the best failed projects!


Monalloon:
I wanted a project that would out do any project we had done before or probably would do again. I came up with the best idea in the world. A giant replica of the Mona Lisa created out of balloons. Click Here to see The Monalloon!






Interactive Chalk Mural:
I was standing in the courtyard watching the students snap photos of their friends inserted in the art. I leaned over and asked the creative writing teacher what she thought, expecting obvious praise. “I hate it,” she said. View the Interactive Chalk Murals!






Expressive Skittle Portraits:
The project created a class full of students weary of gluing rows of candy, angry moms tired of purchasing Skittles, and a hungry mob that circled the trailer waiting for any chance that the door might open. View the Skittle Portraits!





Broken Kites:
March comes in like a lion and after having been cooped up all winter in a musky auditorium, I thought it would be fun to take the Art History class outside and let them feel the wind in their hair. View the Kites Project!


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