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Re: [teacherartexchange] HELP...I Need A Sixth Grade Demo Lesson Plan ASAP


From: chris massingill (chris_massingill_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Sun Jul 27 2008 - 05:08:59 PDT


I would be happy to share some more 6th grade ideas with you when you have more time, but for a quick demo lesson I suggest the following - I used if for a demo to apply for a 5th /6th grade position with great results. I like to start many lessons with a quick read-aloud to introduce students to an artist or a concept. Many of them roll their eyes when I say I'm going to read them something, but they secretly love it and will sit silently listening.

I would suggest that you read aloud a book called Sadako and the Thousand paper cranes by Eleanor Coerr if you are not familiar with this story it comes in a chapter book and a picture book - I read aloud the story book and recommend the chapter book for further reading to my students. and then I teach them how to fold a paper crane. I find that doing this step by step as a group which takes 2-3 class periods, but once they learn the basic folds - square base, bird base, etc. and how to follow the directions, then they can start free-folding other patterns or inventing their own origami for one or two class periods after that. this is a great demo lesson for an interview because it ties in other subjects- reading, literacy and math - Art is interdisciplinary by nature - you can't just make art about art about art - it's a reflection of the world around them and a great opportunity for them to practice skills and ideas from other classes. I make
sure to point out that when we start we start with notebook paper and I teach them how to fold over one corner to make a square and cut the leftover paper off - I've heard rumors that there is a question about how to turn a rectangle into a square on the standardized tests and so instead of just handing them pre-cut squares I make sure they know this step, it also allows them to make their own origami paper at home from notebook paper or printer paper which is a nice bonus. And if they are really lucky, then I might just have the money to get them some "real" origami paper for the last day of class, but to be honest, I've started making my own chiyogami paper which is patterned paper and them just copying it on the copy machine at school and my students get just as excited about black and white copies with japanese calligraphy on them as they do about the really nice, but sometimes sadly unaffordable, origami paper.

When I did this as a demo the administration just wanted a quick preview not the whole lesson, so I told them about the book and showed them some of the fantastic pastel illustrations and taught them how to fold square base. Before I left I gave them each a paper crane to keep - cheesy, I know, but I did get the the job in a very difficult to get into district.

As a side note, personally, I like to do a lot of 3-d hands on lessons with 6th grade - i find that many students at this age walk in the door with a pre-conceived notion of whether or not they can draw which is how they measure their artistic ability without an understanding of the idea that drawing is a skill that can be learned and practiced so for many students 3-d art and contemporary art are a opportunity to make them feel successful and re-engage their interest in art. Personally I find work with interesting content more engaging than vapid pretty work and so my favorite student pieces are the ones with the good ideas, not necesarily the best drawing or painting, etc.

So, there are many more 6th grade lessons I would be happy to share with you (two of my favorites besides origami are a weaving I incorporate a lesson on kente cloth to help encourage the boys to participate and Oaxacan papier mache - messy but fun and a great ending project for students to look forward to (I also use this as a reward and remind them early on that if they can't behave with colored pencils that there is no way I can trust them with papier mache and tempera paint!)

Let me know if you have any questions about this lesson, and I'll be happy to give you some more specific info.

Good Luck!

Chris in Central Arkansas

----- Original Message ----
From: "" <>
To: TeacherArtExchange Discussion Group <>
Sent: Saturday, July 26, 2008 7:21:48 PM
Subject: [teacherartexchange] HELP...I Need A Sixth Grade Demo Lesson Plan ASAP

Hi- Can anyone help me...I'm desperate. I received a call yesterday to do a
6th grade demo lesson on Tuesday for a position in a middle school. I work in
NYC and have been excessed for budgetary reasons. Until now I have taught
high school and would love to have some I would love to get this job.
Thanks so much. Linda

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