This week I had the second lesson, with this class, where we worked on developing our descriptive algorithm. Anticipating their reluctance to work in a discussion setting, I explained that we would be working together for about 30 mins and then they would get to do some practical work.

I had written out all the descriptions from last week and cut them into pieces. I had also put down white circles on the table, on some of them I had written parameters and some were blank. The parameters I had written were expression, subject, and number of colours. We started to sort our descriptions onto the circles and of course quickly found out that we needed more parameters. They really liked doing this and ALL wanted a turn at writing on the circles. We then discovered that what we had was a Venn diagram with all the circles overlapping with each other.(which then led to a discussion about what they remembered about Venn diagrams from before and who had been in the class then. and who hadn`t..) We tried to then break down these overlaps into new parameters, but I became very unsure as to where we should go with these. When background overlaps with shape, is the new circle called background shapes? or Pattern? and isn`t pattern also a parameter. At this point a drummer started playing right outside the classroom, and all the boys immediately started to join in on air drums, so I decided that this was a good time to stop and do some practical work.

Later we tried to turn our list of parameters into a creative algorithm, and here I know I have gone wrong and jumped a few steps ahead. But... it is a starting point and by looking at it the students could see that they needed to change the colours they were making to make sure that they had several shades of each colour. As under our colour paramter we had chosen several shades of the same colour.

So I am a bit stuck about how to get this back on track, and still getting mixed up with parameters and values.

# Alexander Sokol 2011-03-01 10:33
Gillian, I guess I need to clarify a few things to be able to understand things better.
- what is the difference between the descriptive algorithm and the creative algorithm?
- do the students see this difference and how did they become aware of it?
- what exactly was your aim when speaking about Venn's diagrams in the lesson?
- was the aim of drawing the students' attention to overlapping areas to bring them to more parameters? Or was it something else?
- where exactly do you want to come to be 'back on track'? I'd be happy to help but I am not sure I am following you.
Thanks a lot for the clarification.
# Edgar Lasevich 2011-03-16 10:25
1. To be precise - mosaic picture in itself is a complex issue, it consists of some parts, so, for example, background is a part of the whole mosaic. If you want them to go really deep into this, you may analize mosaic parts first and then make descriptive model for each part. But, in you case, this certainly might be a bit too early. Then, you are right, coming across a new parameter of the picture, like "a number of colors in the background", just make it a separate valid parameter for the whole mosaic and work with it.
2. I am happy that the whole idea seems too be starting to work little by little. I think that coming to an algorithm is not too early, what I think is, that it is not clear how you did it in the class and what tasks followed. This is important. So, you have done something, and now, if you want it to become a tool you have to use it for some practice. Your creative algorithm, as a standard, may be used for 2 purposes - evaluation and creation. So, you might want to test it. Ask students to transform something into a mosaic and later shuffle works and make peers evaluate works based on algorithm (but , of course, you should understand if this is psychologically appropriate in your class).
So my general vision - it is good you came to some group work, and got your students involved (motivated), the question is to keep and here it is important we know where we are moving. If you share your plans, we may discuss the next couple of steps.
# Gillian Boniface 2011-03-22 14:17
Edgar I like your suggestion of trying to transform something else into a mosaic, and will definitely try that with the class. The last two lesson have been purely practical.

Alexander - descriptive algorithm is to describe a piece of art correctly in order to analyse it, the creative one is to actually produce an individual piece of art work. In the class we have ended up confusing the two, so I would say that no the students are not aware of the difference. I did not bring up Venn diagrams the kids did, they saw the pattern when we physically overlapped our circles that contained the parameters.
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