You are right about teaching several grade levels in one in fifth grade!
Some are so confident of their skills, but I find most of this age don't
enjoy art as much as theydid as younger kids. Pee pressure kicks in and they
are afraid that their work won't look good. I don't allow students to make
any comments about another persons art withought permission from the student.
I keep lessons simple and structured that still allow those more confident
students the flexibility to branch out. Georgia O'Keeffe shell drawings done
with chalk on black paper. Outline the drawn lines with glue and allow to
dry. It helps them keep the chalk where it needs to be. Right now we're going
to do planet drawings with oil pastels to explore tints and shades of colors.
Clay dragons, tesselations, ruler exercises and compass drawings work well
at this age. Janet