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Lesson Plans

Re: Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain

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Sandra Hildreth (shildret)
Wed, 31 Dec 1997 01:38:19 -0500

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Once again, Bunki has made some very insightful statements, and I heartily agree with them. I too
have noticed that most kids seem to enjoy drawing until they get to 5th/6th grade and then realize
their stuff doesn't look so good anymore, compared to skillful adults or other students who happen
to be artistically gifted. That's also the age when reading, writing, and math instructon really
gets serious - so the drawing pencil and pads of paper are put aside by many children. Teaching
drawing skills, whether ala Betty Edwards or others, really helps. I always tell my students that
drawing is a lot like sports - yes, some people are naturally gifted, but everyone can improve with
instruction and practice. A couple of years ago I had a student teacher who got interested in
finding out how much drawing instruction helps. He worked with kindergarten students - had them
drawing family members, then gave some very simple guided practice exercises on basic body parts and
proportions. Tne next class he had them draw people again and the improvement was noticeable. A
final comment I'd like to make is on something that I feel really has a significant effect on
children's attitudes about art and drawing. It's the teacher or parent or other respected adult that
jokes about not being able to draw, the "can't draw a straight line with a ruler" comment. I wish
they wouldn't do it, because when children hear it from someone they respect, it sends them a strong
message that it's OK - drawing isn't important or worthwhile. Can you imagine what art classes would
be like if children grew up with parents and teachers who communicated a more positive message about
drawing (probably like most of our own children have grown up...).
Sandra Hildreth
C.L.A.S.S. (Cultural Literacy through Art & Social Studies)
Art 7-12, Madrid-Waddington Central School, Madrid, NY 13660
Art Methods, St. Lawrence University, Canton, NY 13617

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