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Lesson Plans

drawing ritual in Art Ed class

[ Thread ][ Subject ][ Author ][ Date ]
Marvin P. Bartel (MarvinPB)
Thu, 7 Dec 1995 17:08:55 -0600

I'd be interested in hearing about the successes you are having in the
Here's an example from my own experience. I welcome your critiques:
I am finding that college students in classes I teach in art ed
theory for non-majors (elementary education majors) have really appreciated
a 5 minute beginning of class Drawing Ritual. At the beginning of the term
they used 6x6 inch blinders on their pencils so they couldn't see the
paper. They draw on the little arm chair desks in the lecture room from
small objects distributed or from a larger object placed up front. Often
they work with ball point pens and some days with very soft lead drawing
pencils on 8.5 x 11 paper. Colored felt tips are used for styles like
Subjects vary from flowers from my garden, apples (after one bite
is removed for multi-sensory experience), stones, an insect or spider they
bring in a small zip lock, a tree root, a mirror up front with grid lines
(and photocopied grid on their paper) for perspective, looking out the
window at winter trees, looking through a 35mm slide frame at each other,
and so on. Some days they use a hand mirror for a face detail. They make a
self portrait the last two sessions of the term (5 minutes + 5 minutes).
Some drawings are continued from day to day, adding shading, texture, etc.
Most drawings are from observation, but one is from memory (their house),
one from the imagination, one from accidents, one is a texture series from
noises, one is a value scale, and one is a quest of order, just to point
out the other sources of inspiration for creative efforts. During one
session they mold a 4 oz. clay cat based on my cat that comes for a visit
that day (she gets passed around). Later in the week in studio they make a
larger cat from the same live cat who models inside a plexy display case.
No copies from photos or pictures are ever allowed.
They keep all the drawings in their own folders as a longitudinal
record (handed in to me twice per term as an attendence record for the
class). This is the second year I have used this ritual to begin class
sessions. They express appreciation for the chance to "learn how to learn
how to draw" even though it is not a drawing class, per se. The course
also has a studio component to learn to use materials and experientially
learn DBAE, and a field teaching component. However, the drawing ritual is
done at the start of lecture/discussion sessions which meet twice per week.
Drawing is the one thing most feared by non-art students. Some do not
realize drawing is learned from practice. Dealing with fear of drawing in a
constructive and proactive way helps win them over to art as a feasible
thing for them to teach. I encourage them to continue this ritual for
themselves and for the children they ultimately teach.
Student evaluations of the course have improved significantly since
I've been using this drawing ritual. Maybe it feeds their souls. I know
many have amazed themselves and take pride in their acheivements. Unless
they have positive experiences in their art methods classes, they will not
be likely to incorporate much art in their classroom when they become

Marvin Bartel,Ed.D. Office Phone: 219.535.7592 (has voice mail)
Professor of Art | Studio Phone: 219.533.0171 (sorry, no machine here)
Goshen College | Fax:219.535.7660 please include my name (shared fax)
Goshen, IN 46526 | Internet: marvinpb
Check out our exhibit announcements on the Goshen College WWW page
Goshen on WWW
"You can't never know how to do it before you never did it before."
from a very young child while making a clay sculpture