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Lesson Plans

Re: Monart drawing techinques

[ Thread ][ Subject ][ Author ][ Date ]
Fri, 11 Oct 1996 01:51:16 -0400

Dear Friends,
After reading the comments on "cookie-cutter" Pumpkins and fall themes
donning the elementary halls, I'd like to pose a question that irks and at
the same time intrigues (sp?) me.... that is teaching Monart drawing in K-5th
For those of you who are unfamiliar, it is based on drawing techniques from
Mona Brookes.... Our school district has jumped on this band wagon as an art
instruction panacea..... as we have no art specialists in elementary (well,
one out of 11 schools does)
Essentially, the students follow the instruction of the teacher, repeating
the lines and shapes and eventually, everyone comes out with a drawing that
actually looks like what it's supposed to be. The teachers think they're
teaching art, the kids think they can draw, and the parents have something to
put on the frige that they can identify.
Imagine walking down halls where every drawing is essentially the same as the
others... and you understand the part that irks me....

What intrigued me is something which happened after I visited the schools in
the district in an Artist in Residence capacity. One school in particular,
which had this training for 5 years (about 2 hours per week), had students
which I found could not think and create on their own.....For example, I was
teaching fifth-graders a lesson on Block Printing... They were to draw a
simple design on tag board, cut it out and paste it on mat board...then we
were going to print from these paper "blocks". I gave them ideas (a house, a
tree, an animal) of things to draw...I demonstrated with my own materials...
I showed them a completed block... From these 5th-graders I GOT BLANK STARES
and comments such as "I can't draw" or "show me how to draw a ______" I found
that they, even after 5 years of Monart, could not come up with an original
idea... I concluded that it was because they had no one to spoon-feed them
the instruction.... "first you draw this line here, then this next line goes
here, etc" This is what intrigued me... I wanted to write to Mona Brookes and
tell her what I saw happening.

I think it (Monart) would be a good program for older students 6-12, because
they can understand the connection of seeing and replicating on their own.
Younger kids can follow directions as they are given, but when the instructor
is gone, they revert back to their comfort level and draw as children their

Have any of you experienced this or know what I'm talking about?