Ahhhhhh! I planned my curriculum around that very same thought. Would
something that might be too stressful for some be a wise idea to do? We
have 7 weeks in this particular rotation (2 classes) so our first project
is one on symmetry using their name. It's fairly stressfree, uses the
elements of color, line, balance, shapes, etc., a good discussion of these,
and a no-fail artpiece that takes approx. 1 1/2 wks. When I've got them
hooked with that, we start with some small abstract,thumb-size drawings and
how to break them down into relationships, lines and curves...then a pencil
shading chart, move to aerial perspective (mountain shading) with no lines
in between showing, then into the biggy which is the actual pencil drawing
using shading and no lines in between.
Our last project deals with stylistic painting/abstraction with pattern and
it becomes VERY relaxing. They like this project because it's so freeing
and relaxing painting with music in background. It leaves them wanting
more. I'd suggest ending with something super-duper to draw them back.
At one point last year I decided the pencil unit was getting too stressful
for me, and decided to drop the unit and try something less so. Near the
end of that particular rotation I had 4 girls in tears and two very angry
rotational classes because I had dropped it. It seems they had observed
during the school year, drawings from the previous classes on display in
the library, office, hallways and had been anxious to learn how to do it.
Imagine my surprise!!!
Because I think this unit is so important and teaches to one of my
strengths, I went back to the unit. I do, however, approach it slightly
differently. I now discuss with them all the "pitfalls" of how it might be
stressful, how I'm going to critique their work, how we're going to discuss
each other's work with everyone looking, etc. and then discuss just what
they are going to learn and show samples. I ask for a moment's silence
while they decide. ("Don't look at your friends...look inside yourself and
vote from your heart".) Then they vote on whether they want to do the unit
or not. I've been lucky so far (knock on wood)!. The large majority seem to
want to do it. I'll have maybe 2-3 hands vote no but when they see others
wanting to do it, they'll give it a try. Being honest with a good, up-front
discussion has made a tremendous difference. They have already "bought"
into the unit even before we've begun.
Mona Brookes' approach to art instruction? Hummm...I have never taken her
workshop so I can't speak to that. I have read her book and I like one or
two things she suggest and works well with my teaching style. Some of her
ideas really do work.
Los Cerros Middle School
Danville, California 94526