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Re: middle school perspective

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From: danna fuller (danna_fuller_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Mon Sep 09 2002 - 09:19:16 PDT


Hi, all,
I teach perspective in middle school. We do several things. I show a video called "Adventures in Perspective." It's kinda funky, kinda 70's, but simple and excellent.
In sixth grade I have them draw a house, three trees, three people, a sidewalk or road, a vehicle, and a sky and ground. We talk about these pre-drawings. I ask them questions about common perspective mistakes I see often. I say things like "who has everything lined up on a line? who has things floating in the sky that you don't want to have floating in the sky? etc. They do understand that these things look out of place. I show them simplified overlapping, size relationship, and other simplified versions of perspective. After some instruction, we do another drawing similar to the first, but this time with corrections. They understand.
In seventh grade, we look at an overhead of cubes around a vp. Then they build a cube from a template. They hold the paper cube at eye level, to the right, above, etc. We compare the overhead with the actual cube. They draw cubes around a vp. They can do this, but some of the kids who are not developmentally ready cannot draw transparent cubes. I ask all kids to draw cubes in 8 positions around a vp. Most kids can do this. If kids really "get it," I challenge them to draw transparent cubes. We then draw "secret cities" (got the cool idea from a web site.) We also learn about watercolor techniques when we paint the secret cities. Lots of ways to use perspective, and they look good for displays, too.
8th grade. We review one point perspective. Most kids can draw transparent cubes around a vanishing point. If I have a student who missed 7th grade art with me, I ask for non-transparent cubes. We build cubes from templates. We do still life with the stacked and arranged cubes in groups. We study value, form, perspective, etc. using the cubes. I also use direct light sources for each table. We continue with perspective when we do our figure drawing unit. I vary my lessons for 8th grade, but they get the same objectives.
I've found that I really had to work to find the right combination of concepts and assignments to make it challenging, yet within their reach (es?)
Sorry so long,
Danna

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