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Re: motivation-- middle school


Date: Wed Mar 31 2004 - 17:43:16 PST

My kids love LOVE LOVE drawing colored pencil on black paper Mixed Breed
Animals. Look at the lesson plan on I think my
kids' work is still on that site. Judy added some other background
material from Medieval Bestiary. We are just finishing up this year's
version of the Mixed Breeds, and I'll put them on our site soon.
My kids always get motivated to work hard when they make their geometric
mandelas (see Incredible Art Department Lesson Plans).

I'm so busy trying to be a support system for my mom these days. I'm
about to have to put her into assisted living. Her memory is going
fast, and she is starting to do some things that tell me it is time. It
is so dang hard to be the only kid in town trying to maneuver this trip
we are about to embark upon. I am trying to balance my school life with
my other life sapping life at the moment. From now to the end of
school, I need projects that kids will LOVE doing, but that don't
involve a lot of prep and out of class management time. My third
graders are hip deep in a drawing project tht they love. Wonderful
drawings this year for "Giant in Town"...I think that is also on Judy's
site. Thank God everyone has already done their clay and wood, and
papier mache messy stuff for this year. God does work in mysterious
ways....even in my art room. I plan to do the mandelas with my 5th
graders when we finish the Mixed Breeds. Second grade is doing guided
self portransts of them holding a favorite thing. They are turning out
beautifully. I told them they can NOT NOT NOT hold a gameboy!!!!
Grrr... Aren't I mean. They are thinking up some wonderful things to
do, and many of them involve their grandparents or a baby sister or
brother. Some are going to hold pets. Some will sit on their
grandparents laps and hold soemthing special. One girl is holding a
locket that her grandmother gave her. One boy is putting his
grandfather's portrait on the wall behind him. I think I'll tell them
they can bring a photo of the grandparent if they wish, as they have
worked so hard on proportion on their own faces and bodies. I taught it
feature by feature, using a lot of the DOTRSOTB (edwards) ideas.
Holding a pencil up for angles, not naming features, rather describing
We started with the eyes and measured every feature on the face in
relation to the eyes, for example, the face is five eyes wide, the nose
is one and a half eyes long, the nostrils fall under the tear ducts at
the widest point, It's one eye from the bottom of the nose to the bottom
of the lower lip, we drew the inside lines of the mouth first and then
added lips and teeth if they show. They measured their teeth in the
mirror by holding a pencil up vertically beside the front teeth to see
how wide teeth actually are. Most drew the spaces between their teeth.
Now we are measuring for the chin and drawing the cheeks. After that
they will measure from the bridge of the nose to the chin and double
that to mark where the top of the head is. Then draw the hair, neck,
shoulders, and whatever they are holding, then their bodies and arms.
Quite an undertaking for 2nd grade, but they are all getting it. I have
seen kids who can't draw their way out of a paper sack from their
imagination TOTALLY nail their portraits! many of them actually look
like the kids. Pretty exciting. We drew them in colored pencil
lightly, but we'll color with oil pastel. I may let them use colored
pencils on the eyes. Prismacolor. Of course, we drew the sparkle! I
tell them that all living things have moist eyes that reflect light, and
all moist living eyes sparkle. Dead eyes do not sparkle! (lol) Nobody
forgets the sparkle. Well, I have them all buying into these drawing
projects. Thank goodness. I have no energy left these days to try to
coerce someone into wanting to do their work. I can't wait til I get my
mom settled. Now that I have made up my mind what I must do, I am a mix
of sadness and purpose. What do you all do to balance your home life
with your school life when times get rough? I'm thinking about a
support group for caregivers, but not sure when I would find the time,

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.