Friday, October 03, 2008

What Project Next?

I could use some creative input from anyone who's got suggestions to lend in the art department.

My art students (3rd-6th grade) have been studying line, overlapping, texture, and shading. Currently their project due Tuesday is to draw a Fall Fruit Still Life in pencil . As the leaves start to do their fall thing, I am hankering to move on to color in art class, but am not sure whether to do another still life in color before introducing color as a topic, or to introduce the color wheel. We won't have smocks yet (I'm not planning to paint for another week or two) but I could have them work with pastels.

We have 50 minutes for class. That includes the business of collecting and showing off last week's projects, giving a mini-lesson or lecture, leading them thru a project, and cleaning up. I think of it as 35 actual teaching minutes when I'm designing the day's plan.

So many choices. So many lines, colors, dimensions. Ai, yai, yai! I love it!!! (Yes, I do mean to put all those exclamation points, TYVM.)

Any suggestions? My left brain wants to be oh-so-methodical, precept-upon-precept when it comes to teaching art concepts. But my right brain wants to ride the horse bareback through a field of color.


Bethany said...

Wow only 35 min. I have an hour and a half and sometimes feel rushed. I also have younger kids though.

Your kids are still pretty young too. I would probably do the pastels. I love pastels. You can probably still keep going on line and texture shading etc using pastels as a medium.

I think of art like any other subject, music, phonics, math etc etc. You have to teach the concepts and tools. You have to require practice with those tools then you can let loose. I explain to my little art students that each week I am teaching them some art concept or tool that they will be required to do in their project regardless of if they "like" it or not. This gets kids over their fears and teaches them new things that they can then take and use or not use in their creative creations. But they must practice and do it as part of class. I explain that their piano teacher will not let them sit down at the piano and just bang whatever notes they want during class but that they have to learn the right notes and play the piece. That doesn't mean they can't go home and create a song using or not using the notes but they have to learn them first. Okay all that to say if you feel like you kiddos have practiced and gotten a decent grasp on that concept then move on to the next. I think with young kids....even the age you have it is all about dabbling and experiencing lots of things. Trying new things. Doesn't mean that they will be masters that takes practice. Your goal is to get them to try and not be afraid, get them to realize that art like other fields of study takes practice and work. Sure some are naturally gifted but they still must practice. I play the flute and I am not gifted at music at all but I practiced and practiced and was able to learn to play. Isn't my natural gifting but with work I was able to do it. I think art is the same way. So I think you need to use both left and right. Maybe teach concepts and the next class let lose creatively. I teach concepts and once they finish their project if we have time they are allowed to create whatever they want. We don't have time every week but some weeks we do. Since your time is shorter maybe you could even teach for three weeks then the last week is free form to use their tools and be creative. Hope I am making sense. Do you only meet once a week or everyday? Do they have homework projects?

Anonymous said...

Bethany, thanks for posting such helpful comments. I teach once a week, two classes (one is 3rd/4th combined, one is 5th/6th). I normally start w/ letting them show the class the homework project I assigned the week enough, then introduce 2 or 3 vocab words which introduce the concept.l then how them a model I've done of the class project. Then I lead them in a class project and assign a new project of the same kind for homework. They have a week to complete it and comes with a rubric.

I agree w/ you about teaching and expecting practice and then letting ON THEIR OWN PROJECTS, NOT ONES ASSIGNED, decide to use or not to use the4 technques. Right now the younger students seem so thrilled to be learning techniques, they hang on my every word. I've decided that tomorrow we're going to do a Primary Colors and Angled Lines paper mosaic.It'll combine a new concept (primary colors) with an old (angled lines) yet not be messy. Next week we'll take the plunge into pastels.