Royal Happenings: New art class aimed at youth culture

A new art class at the high school meets students at a current cultural level. One of the units in the Youth Culture class is in Overstanding. This is when you understand the four main components of the “Hip Hop” culture and their historical and cultural roots. Students cover the four areas of the arts, and their iPads have become an integral part of the process.

The four areas include Literature; Spoken Word and Video Poetry. Students either wrote their own or find a poem or verse that meant something to them, and then put it to music with visuals that they took with the camera or video on their IPad. They could also record themselves reading the selection. These were put into an iMovie and presented to their classmates.

The Dance piece involved “Breaking” or “B-Boying”. Students watched tutorials on six basic types of moves using their iPads including a freeze, the basic six, two beginning across the floors and two intermediate across the floor sequences. We went over them, they were given time to practice, video themselves and watch it back. Then they submitted a final video of themselves performing these basic moves all using their IPads.

Rap and Beat Boxing are the musical elements. Students used two different apps to create a rap and learn sounds for beat boxing. Each found examples that they liked online and presented those to the class. They made and recorded their own rap and then recorded a beat box using a minimum of three different sounds. They then got a group of at least three classmates together to record a group beat box. Finally they could put all those strange sounds they learn to make to good use.

In the visual arts we looked at Graffiti and Pixacao. Students learned all about the difference between Tags and a Piece. We looked at some of the better known Graffiti artists that have even been shown in museums and galleries now, as well as the history. Students used two different apps on their IPads to create sketches with a spray can effect on backgrounds that have the look of brick, cement, stone, etc. Then they transferred those designs onto large boards and flats with actual spray paint outside the scene shop of the PAC.

This is an example of just one of the units within a class that integrates current technology into our students’ learning.  The students and staff at Watertown-Mayer are learning, experimenting, and sharing new discoveries every day. We teach them and they teach us. It is a dynamic and exciting place to be.