Hi....I have a couple of suggestions. Both 6th and 7th grades in my neck of
the woods have art in a rotation wheel for 7 weeks with other electives. We
make folders for each class to hold work and each is presented as a lesson
with art history included as well as P&E's.
6th GRADE...We sit together in a circle around a table (a BIG circle as I
have approx. 36 kids a class). I have big posters of artists' works high up
on the wall & I use a laser pointer to discuss these with the kids.
(BTW...if you do this, don't use laminated work 'cause the glare will be
too much to see details.) I've already "made" the folders ahead using
18x24" white drawing paper, folded horizonally with a 3" border on the
bottom, stapled twice at both ends of the folded bottom, and then folded in
I made templates 9x12" cut from matboard which they use to outline on the
front of the folder and that will be their area of work. We discuss how
artists like to use the "rule of thirds" and use one of these intersections
as a point of emphasis (which is where we'll begin too). Discussion begins
with Wm. Johnson's "The Cafe", on to Van Gogh's "Starry Night", and finally
G. Seurat's "Sunday Afternoon....". We look for the rule of thirds in their
work and how the eye travels around the paintings. I throw in some history
background tidbits also.
Kids lightly sketch freehand the area into thirds going both ways. They can
take any small simple shape (like a star or glob) and put into one of the
four intersections. Pattern is discussed and they repeat the same design
around the first, then again, etc. getting larger each time. Color (with
markers) is next with the directions being only that they must repeat the
color twice or more times. Visual texture (ink technique patterns) is also
used and included at least once. Although directions are simple, they don't
come out looking like everyone else's. Critiquing can be quick as we trade
folders at the tables and assess if all the goals have been met.
7th GRADE...Same folder making, same size, same template.....
Emphasis is now on "line". We discuss line direction - horz., vert., diag.
and their "moods" (horiz.= calm, smooth, even, restful). This time we use
all of our energies on one painting - Picasso's "The Tragedy" looking for
all three line directions. I throw in monochromatic coloring, how the
artist uses a pink tinge to tell his story, Picasso's background during
this time period (blue period), body language, possible thoughts Picasso
might have been thinking while painting this, etc.
Next we discuss diff. types of lines, thin, thick, spiral, etc. Last I show
them how to take a line and make a ribbon. We also make an initial out of a
ribbon (all this line info is being written by students while I'm doing it
on an overhead so they can refer to this later).
Assignment is to use the rule of thirds (quickly jog their memory from 6th
grade), use one of the pts., draw a non-objective design with most of their
lines orginating from this point, and use all the diff. lines at least
twice including at least 2 ribbons. I show them how they can also have some
areas go outside the box like a ribbon flowing outside the boundries (this
helps with "oopses"/mistakes and how to use them)....in other words,
thinking outside the box. Last they must use the word "line" within their
Finishing...coloring can be with 3 diff. materials.
1. reg. markers
2. colored pencil - show how to color and then go around the outside
of the area darker and let it blend with no lines showing.
2. black and white ink with visual texture (patterns) instead of
Both grade folders take approx. 3 days to complete. We work for only two
days before starting another project. Kids finish the folders whenever they
have free time - earlier finisher's project. Most do. Late finishers come
in early in the morning before school to finish with no problem and that's
usually only one or two kids.
Great two-day project.
My Art I 7th graders (semester) make larger folders with names in ribbons
and background of overlapping shapes plus pattern.
My Advanced Year Art 8th graders do larger folders with a 60's theme. Lots
of 60's discussion.
Bunki Kramer - Los Cerros Middle School
968 Blemer Rd., Danville, California 94526