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Every class I teach (K-5), there are always kids who say, "I
can't draw." So I start out now by asking "Who can write their names on a
piece of paper?" Everyone raises their hands, even kindgergarteners. And
I tell them, "If you can write your name, you can draw, because your
names is made up of lines and shapes." And I demonstrate writing my name,
showing where are the lines, how a line crosses over and makes a shape.
triangle and square and how elongating or changing them or combining
them, makes most of the shapes we see. I demonstrate on the board and
then have them look at objects and decipher the shapes.
To show them how to make something out of nothing, I use an activity
called "Taking a Walk with a Line" which I will repeat for those who
missed it previously - where we pick up a piece of tag board and a pencil
and play follow the leader to music around the classroom drawing the way
our bodies move.
We sway and make swaying lines; we jump and make jumping lines; we hop and
making hopping lines; we crawl and making crawling lines - all on the
piece of paper. At the end we have a big scribbley mess of many different
kinds of lines. Then we notice how everyone's paper is different even
though we did the same activity, sit down, and take a kneaded eraser,
drawing with the eraser to make a triangle, circle and square from the
scribbles so they overlap. I have them look at what they've erased
and turn it into something - anything. It's really quite interesting to
see what everyone comes up with. I throw out ideas for kids who don't know
what to make it into- animals, plants; abstract shapes; etc but stress
that it doesn't have to be "recognizeable." It can be whatever they want
it to be. Everyone comes up with something, dispelling the myth that they
can't draw (they just did) and that they don't know what to make (they
just made something). From there on, whenever someone doesn't know what
to draw, I say, "Take a walk with a line and see what happens."
On Sun, 16 Feb
1997, Brian Foster wrote:
> TO Diane &ALL: (Elem. oriented + art ed. profs)
> I am one of those people who has stopped putting my 2 cents worth into every
> discussion that pops up. After self analysis I found it to be an ego
> problem. Therefore
> this post is pure MEAT.
> This is my first year teaching the lower grades (art on a cart K-5) and I
> have attempted
> to preprogram my students observation, problem solving, and creative
> thinking skills. I
> am hoping to eliminate some of the problems I encountered in ten years of
> middle and
> high school art teaching.
> I made up a warm up exercise that requires no materials, just a good
> story and bunches
> of <teacher> enthusiasm. It all begins here........
> OK guys time to put on the ol' 'magination caps.. ME an'
> .......(random name of
> student(s) in class) were coming back from a hard day of........(fishing,
> hunting, antique
> shopping, fighting the British....whatever is appropriate with the
> time<link>) and we
> stopped to rest in a small meadow. There were lots of clouds zooming by and
> pointed to one and exclaimed look! A hippelopotttumus! I snap back, " that's
> a towtruck
> you ginker!". We have a loud exchange (me and myself) extolling the merits
> of our own
> observations pointing out features which we have seen to lead to our
> conclusions and
> find that we both are right! (this story-part is a set up for the warm-up
> and only has to be
> done once in each class---they remember!)
> This (especially in the lower grades) leads to a lively discussion of
> things children
> have seen in clouds...(careful you will have to reign this one in as the
> "one uppers" get
> carried away)
> I then calm things down by putting on my "teacher face" and explain to
> them that I am
> going to put a shape on the board and ask them to use their
> creativity-IMAGINATION to
> "see" something. The shapes I draw are random and varied closed combined shape
> (maybe a bumpy thing with quasi geometrics protruding in some areas and
> intruding in
> others) The first shape gets few or no responses and these are very
> tentative. As each
> student "sees" something, I add to the shape details "clues" until all the
> students can "see"
> it too. This might involve wheels on the "towtruck" or ears and eyes on the
> After this foot-wetting the concept mushrooms and you will find yourself
> faced with a
> sea of hands for each shape and ( with the bigger kids), some students come
> to the board
> and point out the elements for there observations (and I add clues)and some
> even draw in
> there own clues. After we have all "seen" the same as "Sara", I erase and
> redraw the
> same original shape again and call on "Joey" who has found something totally
> Do a new shape after three students.
> This exercise takes up one class period but can be used afterward as a warm-up
> anytime....."Put on your "maginatin caps....What do you see in this shape?"
> You will still
> get the sea of hands and in 5 minutes they are ready for any art lesson!<<It
> sort of washes
> the bla..bla..blas out of there minds.
> Sorry about the length. Brian Foster
> Art Specialist
> West Iron Co. Schools
> Stambaugh, Michigan
> (Where the snow is deep and so is the.......)