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Re: perspective for 5th grade and beyond

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Amenay2_at_TeacherArtExchange
Date: Sun Feb 09 2003 - 04:12:10 PST


Just some thoughts...

I find that I can have the same conceptual problems crop-up whether I
introduce perspective in the 1st grade or HS. For each child there has to be
a degree of mental/spatial conceptualizaton that allows them to see/render
this unique phenomena/skill of drawing. Teaching the skill can be
rote...creating with the skill and making practical application of it
requires so much more. I began the skill early...very rote application
(overlapping, diminishing size and the various grounds)...but allowed
creative decoration and environmental interpretation. As I advance through
the grade levels the instruction and application of the skill become more
advance but with the same open-ended avenue for creative expression. 4th
grade students did the hallway with 1 point...one child's drawing was so
accurate to the perspective of the hall that many people thought that I had
done the work...shame on them. Needless to say I had a long conversation
with parents and the district office and gifted instructor. My 5th grade
students were doing 2 point perspective...some so advance that they would put
some HS students to shame and while others were still trying to conceptually
organize the visual/mental information (name design projects). Grading was
based upon the S,N,U (satisfactory, needs improvement, unsatisfactory) of
meeting the objective both perspectively and interpretively.

In HS additional requiements may be added such as...the required use of value
to deepen the perspective (use of color, atmosphere, etc) while maintaining
the base objective of demonstrating 1, 2, or 3 point perspective. The more
advance the class the greater the expectation on all levels. Independent
Study students need to demonstrate this skill as a base element in their work
without it being assigned as a specific requirement...although some still
struggle with the spatial concept of perspective. I have had several
students (HS) who put forth extreme effort but could never do perspective
drawing...upon investigating their needs...spatial understanding was one of
their biggest problems. We would butt heads...work together...try umpteen
approaches until we reached a level of satisfaction...more the do you
understand what the concept is...rather than the "how well" did you draw it.
To date only 2 students have drawn a total blank...thank goodness that
perspective is but one project of many.

My advice on teaching the skill is to leave an opened avenue of expression
which allows the students to personalize the objective. Difficult with some
assignments...such as the hallways...but...how would you paint the halls or
what would you include in your hallway to make the school more beautiful?
Or...what would your hallway look like if you could redesign the school
(skill application).

Just some thoughts at 6:30 am Sunday...long day ahead. School activity all
day and until 10:00 pm tonight.

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