I recently read a post by blogger Jordan Hamlet about an art teacher blog, Deep Space Sparkle: Art Lessons for Kids, which he found to be extremely well done. In Jordan’s post he made some specific points about what he did and did not find to be effective in the website. Here are the points that were noted:
|Pros of DeepSpaceSparkle.com According to JordanHamlet:|
I decided to visit the site myself and see why it became so successful. Deep Space Sparkle is a beautiful site at first glance. I do agree with most of the points that Jordan makes; the site is extremely easy to navigate and it is organized beautifully. The creator of the site also creates and posts strong lesson plans that are easy to follow and produce cute products. One point that I absolutely love is that there are small lesson plan booklets that are available to purchase for very affordable prices.
I do, however, think that the “cookie cutter” feel of the projects overwhelm the positive aspects of the site. While the products that the students are creating are adorable, they do not allow individual students to explore the materials or express themselves in any way other than what is instructed by their teacher. In each of the lesson plans, students are guided step-by-step how to complete each assignment. While I am sure the children enjoy these activities, I worry that they are not learning how to play or make their own unique decisions when it comes to expression.
This is a beautiful site with so much potential to be amazing. To strengthen it, I would alter the projects to become more open ended. I would also love to see some options to differentiate the activities for students of varying skill sets and examples of how each of the projects integrate with other subjects in the students’ curriculum.