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Re: Time spent on E/P


Date: Sun Jul 25 2004 - 18:59:29 PDT

I can always tell when I am putting too much emphasis on E&P with my
elementary kids...glazed over stares result every time. It has to come
in through the "back door." The project we are doing must be
interesting, exciting, or fun, number 1. If those ingredients exist, I
can always slide in a few E&Ps at a time. In one third grade lesson, we
paint watercolors of ocean life. The painting takes place following a
science/art field trip to an aquarium where they work through a packet
that is a combination of answering questions with written answers and
drawings. For their project, they THINK they are choosing their
favorite fish or sea creature and drawing it as one of a school of that
creature. Then I have them put the drawing of their favorite creature
behind their large paper and trace it in a diagonal position to indicate
MOVEMENT. They move their fish drawing behind their big picture and
trace it numerous times to create a school of identical fish the easy
way (like many artists would do with light boxes and tracing) to create
fish smaller to create VARIETY. And add new creatures to create more
VARIETY. We talk about leaving a quiet area in their drawing to give
the eye a place to rest. WHen they draw the plant life and shells and
bottom dwellers, we talk about DEPTH and OVERLAPPING again, as well as
GROUPING for UNITY. I make a point to tell them to let their plants
sway with the current in their drawing. We talk about how horizontal
and vertical orientations create static compositions, diagonals and
curves create MOVEMENT again. We look at the overall compositions to
see if it is BALANCED. We create layers of sand and rocks on the
bottom to show more DEPTH (space.) When we paint, we repeat colors in
schools of fish to create unity. We think about CONTRAST in the way we
choose our colors, and the sizes and textures of things they draw. Etc.
etc. All of my lessons seem to incorporate about this many E&P's in
them. I think that the most important thing is to make each project
appealing, fun, interesting, challenging, and so on, and then sneak in
as much meat as you can! Most of my units take from 2-4 weeks. I
justify that because there are so many layerss of teaching in each unit.
If I taught HS, I would still teach this way, as that is what would
interest me! E&P's are interesting, but not most important, in my
opinion. Actually, so much of it is inate for so many of them. It's
just a matter of calling attention to it and helping them to see that
what most of them are doing already has a name.

Linda Woods

Visit our student's web art gallery at St.John's School
 click on "Stories of SJS," click on "Arts Stories," click on Linda
Woods' name. View artwork by Lower, and Middle School students as well
as our art archives.