I do a "Five-minute Warmup" at the beginning of each class. I teach
middle schoolers too at an arts-based school.
For my art elective class (6th - 8th grade mixed classes), I use some
creativity pages that I created; these are along the lines of "select 5
different art supplies (and I give a list of ones that can be easily
found around the room, ie scissors, glue bottle, etc) and draw them from
observation. Then turn them into a city." or, I will have a reproduced
line drawing of a famous painting, like Mona Lisa or American Gothic,
and the direction will be "Use magazine collage to create an updated
version of this famous painting" (I have lots of others too, but all
fairly specific). I have 10 little lines above each exercise, and they
must do at least 10 five-minute warmup periods working on each exercise;
they write each date that worked on a particular page on one of the
lines. This helps them get more creative with it, and avoids them
slopping out something in 2 minutes and then going on. I do allow them
to skip around, but they MUST do at least a total of 50 minutes on each
page before it is "done".
For my 6th grade visual arts classes (which all 6th graders take for a
semester), I have drawing skill warmups (it's an observational drawing
curriculum). These start out as abstract duplications, like those found
in Mona Brooks' book Drawing With Children, then they progress through
some Betty Edwards type exercises, such as mirror imaging, vases/faces
type symmetry, recognizable object duplication, upside-down
drawing/enlarging, and master drawing copies with a grid. I don't grade
each page/exercise or anything; the goal is for them to spend the entire
5-minute period working from wherever they left off the previous time.
For these drawing skill exercises, I do ask that they work in sequence -
no skipping around. However, they don't have to get any specific amount
done in one period - they just need to be on-task the entire 5 minutes.
I do walk around and mention things they need to work on, point out what
they're doing well, etc. They are strictly graded on whether they are
on task the entire time. I find these are really useful for referring
back to later, and I really do find that they increase their
observational drawing skills.
For both types of warmups, they have a folder that stays in my room that
has all the pages already in it - they know to grab these folders as
soon as they come in and be ready to start as soon as class starts. It
focuses them, helps them with art skills, and gives me time to take
attendence, pass out papers, or whatever. I've had great success with
-Lydia in Toledo
Toledo School for the Arts
On Tue, 26 Oct 2010 03:43 -0700, "Ann Parker" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
> I'm a middle school art teacher and provide daily warm up activities:
> drawing from observation and skill practices. But I'm running dry on
> meaningful warm ups that are also short enough but not too short. I don't
> like using warm ups that are too much on imaginative drawing as I stress
> how important using a reference. Ideas?
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