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You raise a very interesting point about art programs that are forced to
deliver their curriculum in very short period of time. I would like to hear
from others on this list about their middle school art programs and what
they do in 6 or 9 week type programs. I have always been a bit frustrated
between what I do and what I wish I could do with adequate time. This is
only compounded when one looks at what the "Standards Committee" says we
should be doing.
I teach at a Middle School (6-8th grades) in S.E. Penna. I teach my "yearly"
curriculum to students in 6 week marking periods. At the end of 6 weeks, my
group goes off to another area (music, health, computers, etc...), and I get
a new group in for the next 6 weeks. About half of my students are in
sections that I see everyday for the 6 weeks (30 classes total), the other
half are in music sections (band and chorus), these students I only see for
20 periods in the 6 week marking period. And of course those numbers rarely
hold up due to field trips, snow days, special rehearsals, ect.
Our class periods are about 55 min. long. So, the question is what does one
do in a middle school that is worth while under these time limitations? How
does one incorporate Art History, Production, Criticism and Aesthetics in 20
to 30 periods per year? How to you get the maximum effect for the least
amount of time?
I'm not looking for lesson plans or a critique of your program or mine, just
an overview of your program by grade level and how much time you're given to
Here's what I do, in a nutshell....
1. Slab Clay Tile project + Glazing (emphasis on working with a theme and
2. Color Theory Paintings (Students create a symmetrical design and paint it
by mixing secondary colors, tints, tones, browns and greys)
3. (everyday kids only) Pencil Self Portraits (I take a close up photo of
each student, they use a grid enlargement for basic facial features then
finish it with emphasis on hair texture, skin color, shading, etc)
3. (band/chorus sections only) Basic Pencil Drawing skills
4. Art History research project (First students produce an outline of their
topic or art period, then they create a large poster)
1. Slab Container type project + Glazing
2. Tessellation Poster ala M.C.Escher techniques
3. (everyday kids only) Personal Still Life Drawing (Students provide their
3. (band/chorus sections only) Nature Study (we are blessed to have an
indoor garden area which we can go to year round to draw plants, rocks, etc.)
4. Art Careers (students are given information about career opportunities in
fine arts, commercial arts and craft areas).
1. (first 3 weeks) 2-D Project - Students design a 2-D project of their
choice (students pick from drawing, painting, commercial arts projects,
etc.) They sketch it, develop a full size rough copy and then finally
produce a full color finished copy.
2. (last 3 weeks) 3-D Sculpture Project - Students work in "cooperative"
teams of up to three students to plan and execute a large sculpture project
of their choice. Pop Art, figurative, found object assemblages and mobiles
are the typical themes.
* All projects are evaluated via rubrics which the students receive at the
beginning of each project. We try to interweave art history along with the
projects as much as possible.
There's my .02 cents, what are the rest of you doing?
Upper Moreland Middle School