It's the month to do something spooky and Halloween related in the art room! I have lots of lesson plans, but wanted to try something different this year. I decided to go with a sculpture project.
I have a coil of very easy to bend copper wire. I thought it would be great for mummy sculptures. Any project using the figure teaches so much about proportions and measurements. You have to consider the structure of something and how it comes together in layers.
WHAT WORKED: My first class didn't use the paper towel step. They only added toweling inside the wire loop head. They had a lot more problems wrapping their mummies than the next class did! The paper towels taped to the wire armature really helped give them something to hold onto and to wrap around without it slipping off. Using the glue gun to tack the end on before wrapping also helped. Use only the lo-temp guns if kids are doing it themselves! Even those can get hot enough to hurt. My second class also had the thought to add google eyes, which were a fun addition. I also had to remind the kids to pull the wrapping snug as they wrapped. If you do it too loose it will unravel and fall off! One last tip: making the arms and legs a little longer will make posing them later a lot easier!
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.
It's good to be up and running this Flowerstone Art blog finally! I'm so excited to share with everyone all the "going-ons" at our studio. The studio has been open and I have been teaching for over four years. I earned my Fine Art Degree from the University of Calgary in Calgary, Alberta in 2008 with a focus on art education. As an art teacher I often try to search the internet for lesson plan ideas I can use with my students. What am I looking for? Projects adaptable to artists the ages of my students (6 - 16), using recycled materials or as inexpensive materials as possible, something visually appealing and fun to create, and something that teaches something about art! That's right, we are not a craft class! More often than not, I find something that springboards my own creativity and I come up with a brand new lesson plan on my own. So, I thought I would share what goes on in my studio with my students and hopefully fill the art education world with some new ideas as well as some tried and true ones.
At Flowerstone Art I aim to teach children at a young age what the elements and principles of art are, how to recognize them in the art they see, and how to create BETTER artwork themselves by adding more of the things they have learned in class. I find artists and illustrators that are using a fun technique or style in their art that I can show the students how to try themselves. It's important to show artists where and how to find inspiration without plagiarizing the artwork itself. We go on field trips, especially when we try plein air painting or drawing animals from life as in the photo on the left when we went to draw farm animals. Once a year we hold an Art Show where the work of the students is displayed in a formal manner. They can invite anyone they want to see the Show, I create a program that explains what each project's artistic goals were and the students each receive a ribbon for a piece they did especially well on. I have outside help come and award a "Best of Show" ribbon as well. It's a pretty big deal!
One thing I will share here with you is what works and what doesn't. I do a lot of experimenting. When I try three recipes for air dry clay I'm going to tell you what I liked and don't like about each one. When we use an iron or heat gun I'll share with you what is WAY too messy for the classroom and what will make you have to open windows because of the stink! I'll have fun experimenting and I will save all of you some time! I'm hoping this website will be helpful to art teachers looking for new exciting lesson plans, parents looking for relatively easy art projects they can do with things at home, and even the occasional emerging artist who wants a new art adventure. Let's get creative!
Flowerstone Art School
School is in session!