We teach art appreciation in our high school. We combine power point presentations with hands on activities. The hands on activities reinforce what they have 'learned and talked' about, but more importantly give the students a sense of what it is to actually try to MAKE what they have just looked at. So for example, the teacher lines the underside's of the tables with crunched brown craft paper, and everyone gets under the tables with charcoal and tries to make a cave painting. (they may also do the same with individual rocks). She has them "mumify" Barbie dolls, and make sargophugii (sp? sorry). (or they might make cartouche's). They have made gargoyles when looking at cathedrals (they have also made Rose Windows with acetates, gells and tissue paper inserts), they have made large foam core greek columns (marble faux painted) when looking at Greek work. The students typically enrolled in our art appreciation courses are ones who are not necessarily artists or want to do hands-on (we have 15 art courses fo
r those students). Traditionally we have "serviced" at-risk, special needs, disaffected students in the class, whose guidance counselors know that the course will not be "threatening" but will be a learning experience everyone will benefit from. In the past their exam has been to create a dinner place setting and to make food that represents their favorite artist that they have learned about during the class. They have also created books based on their artist, and time lines based on the art they have learned.
As an aside, I teach AP Art History. This class is a speeding train through history that relies on 24 Power Points, many unit tests, essays, and exercises all aiming at a national standardized 3 hour test. When we designed the Art Appreciation course, we wanted to stay away from that type of rigor and bring some "lightness" to the academic side of art history. The hands on activities do just that.
> I'm very new to this group and need some help. I've begun teaching
> art Appreciation to middle schoolers at a Bridge program. We've had
> one class so far where we discussed the seven elements of art. I used
> a powerpoint presentation and basically we talked about works of art
> and which elements were used and how.
> I think these kids (high risk) are bored sitting and watching even if
> they are engaging in conversation. This is my first time teaching art
> appreciation (i usually teach art history at a higher level) and I'm
> at a loss as to how to structure this class. I think activities will
> be useful but I don't want to stray into the studio art area too much.
> Does anyone have any suggestions or ideas on how to proceed? I really
> appreciate any and all help!
> Thank you!
> Christi Schimpke
> HOLA (Heart of Los Angeles)