My name is Samantha L and I am a graphic designer and illustrator.
I am currently focused on creating and editing my portfolio and doing other tasks related to college apps. I hope to one day sell merchandise and take commissions for both graphic design work and illustration. At Freestyle, my first year I studied animation and for my senior year I am studying design. Next year I will be attending an art university.
I value Freestyle’s community of creators and their varied passions. I value all the unique opportunities and technology I have been able to utilize.
Freestyle was fantastic and I wouldn’t trade my experiences for the world. I learned things that I could never have learned without Freestyle. All the projects were unique and helped me learn a new skill or technique or process. (I also saved a lot of time and money by learning I don’t want to study animation here rather than learning that in college.)
If you survived Junior year you will survive this year. Figure out what you want to do for Zenith and don’t bite off too much or learn to chew a lot. Freestyle is really a trial by fire that teaches you time management, so since you survived the trials, use your new found skills this year so you won’t be so stressed next year.
Take in more kids!!! Hire a second English teacher (or even a third) to help destress Mr. Greco!! If you get a game design elective make sure kids know what that industry is like (since it’s reputation is long hours and low pay.)
Suggestions and Other Comments:
Having the first unit be working on the personal essay is SOOOO helpful!! (I give you eternal thanks for that gift of time Mr. Greco.) The unit on racism in America or the Citizen unit is really important for students and I think you handled the unit with respect and grace. (I wish there was a way to force all students to take a class that touches on what we talked about.)
I was very lucky to have the research paper be related to my project, but many weren’t as lucky. (Having some focused brainstorming for the Zenith before might help.) Some people suggested that the research paper should take less time and happen earlier in the year. The specific suggestion was that the whole research paper process should happen in the time we spent brainstorming. The brainstorming process as a whole was almost unanimously considered too long. I also wished there was more support in creating a research paper, which was what Mr. Greco wanted.
The first year teaching a new class is super hard always. This is the best first year class I have even been in (and I’ve taken a few). I think this class went as smoothly as it possibly could and we did some really interesting and unique things. I created many things I’m really proud of and with every project I learned a new technique I’ve never done before. I’ve never made a painting using pointillism, I’ve never made any colleges, the whole Japanese Book process was new to me, and I could go on. Most of the projects were very time consuming so I know I wouldn’t have been able to do them without Freestyle.
A lot of the projects were strongly structured so I wish there was a little more flexibility to some of them. There were clear problems with the Japanese book and I know you’ll revise it for next year and it will only get better as time goes on (or you’ll scrap it altogether, whichever). I think a lot of people, myself included, would have liked to focus on things like creating movie posters and designing fonts more. This class did a lot of fine art projects (which is great and I really enjoy doing that), but a few more graphic projects would be cool also. For example the aboriginal acrylic painting could have just as easily been an acrylic poster or an add or a logo painting. More projects on the anatomy of fonts and letters would be cool, like designing a large intricate drop cap and then go into designing a whole font. (I could brainstorm cool projects all day! These are just suggestions.)
Teaching a new class is always difficult and issues are inevitable. I love that there is a class designed to teach us such uni
que things like how to make files that can be laser engraved, make music, and record and edit projects.
This class will keep evolving for a long time and these are just some suggestions.
1) a menu of different projects people can do maybe with different difficulty levels. For example there would be a list of different programs and many different video tutorials, (similar to how it is now) but there would be different groupings of tutorials (easy, moderate, expert, pro) so people could go more into depth in programs they are interested in and get a basic overview of new programs and have levels in-between. For each quarter it might be required that people do 5 easy tutorial sets for 5 different programs or 1 pro and 1 easy or 2 moderate and 1 expert and people could choose what they wanted to do.
2) More shorter project might be good. People really fall behind with projects like jQuery and all the After Effects tutorials. While smaller projects like the podcast recording, reason music, mandalas, and stationery are more manageable and often more applicable to everyone. It’s good to learn some After Effect and coding, but smaller projects could be used to teach the basics just like the other programs (see menus with different levels for students who want to learn more.) I would have also loved to have a project where we all design and print something with the 3D printers and I would have loved open ended projects were we were told we need to design something (anything) that involves the laser engraver so that products are more personalized (although I understand that could have problems). I also think by senior year most people know how to work the programs they need to use, so learning how to work the machines would be more helpful.