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I tell my students that we will operate on the assumption that there are 3
basic kinds of drawing skills and we will work to improve all 3.
Observational, memory and imaginative. I try to have a focus at least twice
each year on observational drawing. We started in the fall observing the
squash family. First studies of Jack-be-Little pumpkins, then gourds & other
squash family members. (I posted this in the fall.) After the studies of
individual squash I had them try overlapping ( first 2, then adding a 3rd,
then a 4th, etc.) This is pretty intense work for 1st to 5th graders. I felt
that we needed to exercised the imaginative skills. We made a Squash Family
portfolio and designed a cover. Every cover had to have some squash some where
in the layout. I was very pleased with the contrast. The crazy imaginative
covers were a nice balance for the serious work on the inside.
Inside the cover of the portfolio we taped a rubric and an explanation of the
study. There was a place for the artist's written response to the study and a
written response from the parent figure. (We call that person the COACH.) At
home the coach helped the artist write the artist's written response, wrote an
encouraging response, and returned the paper. As the papers were returned the
artist read the comments to the class. I think that written responses are
important but with 40 min. classes I don't have much time to devote to
writing. Engaging the coach gets the work done, extends the time spent on art
related activities, and hooks in the parents! (In our school every class has a
homework monitor who checks in work as it is returned and reminds when work is
late. The classroom teachers train the monitors and I take advantage of this.
If they didn't do this I would train my own because it reduces my work load.)
No! I don't get 100% returned but most of the artists nudge their parents to
sit down with them and look at their work because they want to read in front
of the class. We have a pretend MIKE made of toilet paper rolls. It brings in
the homework! They do love the spotlight!!
Another use for the toilet paper tube MIKE ~ at the beginning of each class
anyone who has done something ART related outside of school may have 2 minutes
at the mike to SHARE.
HAPPY NEW YEAR, ALL!!! I'm looking forward to meeting many of you in DC! The
program looks very interesting. I'm teaching a Tessellation, hands on
workshop on Thursday night, 9:00 to 11:00. Maybe I will see some of you
there. Tessellations are great fun and I have developed a simple way to teach
it to primary artists.
Sharon from New Jersey
The big SNOW is supposed to move into our area tomorrow! Maybe we can make
snow sculptures. Cheap and fun!