I just love working on projects together as a class. It is great to see how the kids feed off of each other's ideas. In the early days of Flowerstone Art there was a lot of "She STOLE my idea!" and now things have changed and I hear "Who wants a great idea?" called out across the classroom. This collaborative project still has an element of individuality since we aren't creating one big work, but working on our own projects using Stamps that each student has made.
Using the hand drawing from last week (or a vase drawing) we planned to make rubber stamps from some blocks I made from 2x4's. I used the white board to lead a discussion about the many shapes of flowers. Making flowers on a rubber stamp is a lot different than drawing them. We had to talk about how to make them out of SHAPES that could be cut out of fun foam and arranged on the block to create a flower stamp. I had the kids try it on the white board a few times until I thought they had the hang of it. Then they drew the flower on the paper side of adhesive fun foam. I had them make the stamps from double sheets of fun foam to make them thicker stamps. They cut out the shapes and stuck them to the block this week. I'll show you the rest with a slide show to make it more interesting. The finished projects are so beautiful and will be a beautiful exhibit at this year's art show!
Using Guided Drawing during arrival time
Getting my classes going isn't always a smooth process. Everyone doesn't walk in together when a bell rings. They wander in early, on time or late depending on weather, parents or scooter speed. So I have a 10 minute window where I need to keep kids busy but not start the lesson, which would mean I have to repeat myself for each student as they come in. After a few different ideas have come and gone, this year I think I have it figured out.
As my earliest student arrives there are hellos and we enjoy one on one time as I get materials organized for the lesson. Second and third student wander in and we start comparing sketchbook work for the week. Sometimes I give them an assignment, sometimes they just show me what they've done that week in their sketchbook. I admit, I bribe them for this. Although I tell them the best way to get better is to DRAW, I've found that what works the best is CANDY. That's right, I keep a little bin of candy in the art room. At the end of class if everyone was on task and it went well everyone takes a candy on their way out. If they drew in their sketchbook that week AND brought it to show me AND it is real effort not a smiley face they drew in the driveway, they get a BONUS piece of candy. I used to get lots of "but I drew at home!" but I've been firm and now they know. No proof, no BONUS. So after we all ooh and ahh over sketchbook work just about everyone is there. I tell them to get ready with their sketchbook and a pencil and it's time for guided drawing time.
Don't get me wrong. This isn't a time filler. I hate time fillers. I think if you are going to teach then your job is to put some purpose behind it. There are a few reasons I have decided that guided drawing is really IMPORTANT in the art classroom.
One of the first things I want my students to learn is to say "I AM AN ARTIST" and mean it! They are here because they love it. They are entitled to the identity that comes with that. It took me well into my adult life to state with confidence "I AM AN ARTIST" and mean it, although it was something I always knew, I was afraid to tell anyone in case they didn't agree. Pshhhh! Guided Drawing helps them with this because young artists get themselves into a rut almost every time of drawing what they like. They draw what they are good at. They don't experiment, they don't always get creative. They want to, but they get self conscious or really proud of one thing they draw well and they just get stuck in that rut.
Guided drawing pulls them out of that. They find new things they can draw, they learn new approaches to drawing the same old thing. Their built-in portfolio grows. Now instead of being "the girl who draws mermaids really well" she's the "girl who can draw anything". Seriously. It works. And then their friends want them to draw things for them. They get chosen to illustrate the group project or draw the picture for the school play. And their confidence grows, and they try harder, and then we accomplish the self confidence and identity that parents hope to find when they put their child in art or sports or music or lessons of any kind. AND their skill grows, so we really are building little artists.
So we start every lesson with guided drawings. You can get these from any learn-to-draw book. Those step-by-step lessons that start with circles and then you add form to. Today in class one of my 3rd grade students wanted to lead the guided drawing. Great! We all learned how Carissa draws a Peacock. We added our own touches and had a great time! I wish I had taken more pictures. I'll get used to this. Today I'll share with you our guided drawing that leads into our next lesson where the hand needs to HOLD something. So here are the steps:
Now its time to personalize. We don't want everyone's to look the same. Here are some ideas for you to make it "your own".
We are going to use this next week when we do our collaborative project making our own rubber stamp flowers. But you'll have to come back to see that! In the meantime, here is some of the work from my students today so you can see how well THEY understood the guided drawing! I have students from age 5 to 12 so we have a wide range of abilities. We call them Level 1-2 artists, Level 3-4 and Level 5-6. That way they don't compare themselves quite so harshly. They know they are progressing as they learn.
Flowerstone Art School
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