As a begining mid. school teacher, I would start and elaborate with the
basic elements and principles of design. If you have the chance (and a few
extra bucks), I would invest in 1-2 Gerald Brommer videos to get a feel of
some projects at more or less this age group. I would also suggest going
down to your district or county educational office (where there might
possibly be a resource library and check out or look through the last 10-12
yrs. of ARTS AND ACTIVITIES magazine issues for ideas and also SCHOOL ARTS.
I also started a big "bible" of ideas....some clips from this listserv,
dittoed copies of older issues of the above two resources, my newer issues
of the same, ideas from workshops and other teachers, etc. I now have 4 of
these bibles, each 4" thick binders, of all-aged art ideas. I'd also hook
up with the art mentor in your district AND start "pal"ing around with
another mid. school art teacher in your area. I'd call around the schools
and set up some "get-to-know-you" meetings with these valuable people. If
you're like me, in a bunch of art teachers, you might be lucky and find ONE
who will like to share their ideas and then you're "home free". High school
teachers were even more valuable to me and still are.
I would also start collecting ideas for extra credit things. These kids
"need" to stay busy to stay out of trouble and you know what happens when
kids don't finish at the same time. They have not quite got the hang of
"self-motivation" yet. Also...be super organized and have a place for
EVERYTHING. This age is more pliable for "training" (returning things to
their rightful place) than high schoolers. This is also a good age for
starting really long, involved projects...they have been use to working
with 45-min. projects and not delving into more complicated works. Projects
that take 1-2 weeks are good for them.
In my state of California, this is the FIRST and LAST chance for many of my
6,7,8th graders to have an honest-to-goodness art teacher. California does
not have elementary art teachers, in general, and in high school the art
and humanities can be covered with band, chorus, drama, photo, etc. and
possibly skipping the fine arts all together! The middle school is the only
time they can be "hooked" so it's REALLY important. I don't know how it is
in your area.
In a nutshell....save all your high school samples and try some of your
high school stuff on them. You'll be really surprised at what these "little
people" can and will accomplish. E-mail me if you want more ideas. I love
to share! Cya.......
Los Cerros Middle School
Danville, California 94526