My grade 9 Art Foundation class just finished their unit on pastels, which covers charcoal, soft pastel and oil pastel in about 10 eighty minute lessons. For their summative piece, students were asked to implement various pastel techniques and methods into a landscape composition that they created from photographs from their field studies trip. You can view the week by week breakdown of what we did in class here. Photos are embedded below.
I just completed my first MYPGrade 6 unit on portrait drawing. I taught the unit last year but tweaked it due to the MYP programme requirements. I am really pleased with how it went. The MYP is based around an Area of Interaction, a Unit Question and a Significant Concept. My biggest challenge is the unit question and I spend a lot of time on it, as I try not to mention “art” so it can be transferred to other subjects.
The unit focuses on some basic drawing skills and is very technical. It then dawned on me to simply make it “How does observing help us learn?” since that’s what we really trying to achieve. The unit starts off discussing this and we refer to it again and again throughout the unit. I must admit that including this has improved the unit and had the students more engaged than previous years. You can view their work in the embedded slideshow below or go directly to the Flickr set here for faster access. I included the students’ pre-assessment drawings and their summative drawing at the end of the unit. What a difference!
(NOTE: As of Nov. 21, the set only contains one group out of three classes resulting in 30 photos. Once my colleague passes on his photos, I’ll upload them too.)
I am eager now to start the next one on portrait painting, which has the question “How do personal experiences shape our identity?”
As promised earlier, here are those student images I said I would post. Sara H. is a grade 10 student and her work here shows some of her progress. These were taken halfway through the unit and I am interested to see how she will further develop and progress. At first, students used marker to prevent them from wasting time on erasing whilst learning figure proportions and foreshortening. We then move onto charcoal and pastel as well. After each drawing, students are encouraged to reflect on their work and jot notes on goals, improvements etc.
I am busy but motivated this year. I find myself teaching just over 10 new units (out of 20), as teaching time for visual art at my school has doubled. With all the cutbacks to the arts I am reading about nowadays, I’m happy. Needless to say, I’m also swamped developing new units, implementing the MYP in grade 6, learning and co-teaching IGCSE (to eventually fade out?) & IBDP Art, as well as finding and creating resources for the new units and undergoing an accreditation at my school. But where else would I be able to have the flexibility, freedom and choice to develop my own units? That’s myelement.
Currently my grade 10s are studying foreshortening in figure drawing. As the classes generally progress, I find the gap widening between those that can and those that cannot. In order to assist, I created this basic tutorial for them at home. It’s difficult as it is the first time for most of them to attempt this. The video is not great, but I hope it helps as a reference. One thing I didn’t utilise in the video was using circles for the knees and elbows.
During class, we measure using markers instead of pencils and they usually have 10-15 minutes to tackle the proportions. We get them to use a yellow marker at first as it does not allow them to erase. They then go over their lines with a darker marker. If any of my students are reading this, let me know if the video helps.
I’ll also try to post some student work soon. You can also view the unit wiki here but it needs a slight update, as I have already changed/dumped some items.
I’m currently working on generating ideas for my doodle club here at school and remembered this fun activity by Carla Sonheim from her great book “Drawing Lab for Mixed-Media Artists: 52 Creative Exercises to Make Drawing Fun,” which I blogged on July 13th, 2010 (you can check the hyperlinks on that previous post). It’s a very fun activity suitable in the elementary classroom but could also fit in as a warm-up activity in Middle School. The steps are as follows:
1. Draw an eye anywhere on your paper. Turn your paper 90 degrees clockwise.
2. Draw a second different eye, several times larger than the first eye. Turn your paper 90 degrees clockwise.
3. Draw a nose or snout. Turn your paper 90 degrees clockwise.
4. Draw a leg or paw. Turn your paper 90 degrees clockwise.
5. Draw a tail. Turn your paper 90 degrees clockwise.
6. Connect the elements together with straight and curved lines.
7. Finish with markers or coloured pencils.
Here’s my digital example:
If you have any other fun ideas for doodling, feel free to let me know.
Don’t think you can draw? It doesn’t matter. The book offers seven inspiration units ranging from animals, people, famous artists, children, imagination, nature and books and culture. These units have 52 drawing activity labs in total.
In her words, “This book is designed to get you started drawing again, and excited about it!” It’s playful and sure to get you going and/or lead you in other directions. It’s not your traditional step-by-step or how-to-draw book.
Some of the activities are imaginary creatures, Picasso dogs, scribble drawings and traveloguing. Again, for those classroom teachers that find themselves having to teach art with no background training, this book may prove an invaluable resource. For others, it will get your creative juices flowing.I may also consider using this as the basis for my after-school club activity in the upcoming academic year.
Jules Feiffer is featured in this video (below) discussing how he developed a style using sharpened dowels. This is great as I have tried using twigs with ink versus pen and ink. It forces you to be more expressive and I recommend this activity with students. Below is a quick 10 minute sketch done with a tree twig and ink. (The video is good too.)
My first group of grade 6 students just finished their portrait paintings. The works did not have to be realistic. Instead, they are encouraged to explore colour and brushwork. Some took influence from art movements or artists and some simply experimented with the tempera paint. You can view the five week project outline here and the Flickr set here.
My grade 9 Art Foundation students recently finished their unit on observational drawing. It’s a ten week project where they receive instruction for one 80 minute lesson a week. You can view the unit breakdown week by week here on the wiki if you wish.
The application area for their assessment consists of measurements, proportions, value/tone gradation and composition. The class is varied by both gender and ability. Overall, the majority of students showed improvement both in accuracy and in speed. The slideshow below (or via Flickr here) includes both warm-up work as well as their final pieces. All work is either A4 or A3 in size. Feel free to leave them some comments.
I have seen variations of this Australian aboriginal art activity in the past, but what I like about my co-workers’ delivery is the crumpled paper effect. Sonya and Gillian did this as an after school activity with grade 1-4 students. They write:
“Students were inspired by an aboriginal painting to create their own ‘rock drawings’ in the style of the Australian aboriginal people. After drawing their animal in permanent marker, they used watercolour dyes in earth tones to colour the paper. When it was dry, the paper was scrunched into a ball to create the rock texture. Further detail was added with cotton buds and paint – the dot painting being very prominent in aboriginal art. A border was created for the work and students helped prepare their work for display.”