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Re: [teacherartexchange] 6th grade art


From: dulcius (dulcius_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Tue Sep 14 2010 - 16:06:15 PDT

I do blind and modified contour drawings with my 6th graders every year,
and I have had a lot of success with it. It's the cornerstone of a lot
of what I teach them afterwards. I tell them we're going to "PRETEND"
(I say it in a very corny, Barney-type way) which they think is kind of
funny - I tell them we are going to PRETEND there's an ant - and this
ant is VERY slow, and cannot fly or jump. It also can only walk on
EDGES of something (and we talk about what edges/contours are - focusing
on how they're NOT the exact same thing as "outlines", since outlines
mostly don't exist in the real world).

We also get into the "right/left brain" stuff, which I find really
useful in helping them think in a new way (I think they enjoy the notion
of "tricking" their "bossy, know-it-all" left brain into "butting out
for a bit"). I emphasize how everything has an infinite number of sets
of contours, depending on how you view the object, and tell them how
important it is to keep both the object they're drawing and their head
still while doing the exercise.

I do have pencils with a piece of card stock attached, but I tell them
that's just a reminder, since I know they're all smart enough to figure
out how to look under it. It's just there if they accidentally look back
at their paper. Then, I have them tape their paper to the table,
position their pencil on it, then turn on their chair in the direct
opposite direction to where their paper is to look at the thing they're
going to draw (they draw first their hand holding a pair of scissors,
then their hand holding a small plastic animal).

 I tell them to put their "ant" down on an edge, and that their pencil
 and eye can ONLY go where the ant goes - if the ant gets to a "dead
 end" contour, it can't jump or fly to another one - it has to go back
 the way it came to get to a new "road". I give them 4 minutes the
 first time out - and I tell them they're not allowed to stop until the
 timer rings. After the first blind contour, as soon as they look at the
 drawings, they're all laughing and enjoying how "crazy" they look! I
 tell them it's not really a drawing of a hand with scissors, but
 instead it's a record of the journey of the ant! Then they do a second
 blind contour (which goes a bit longer), and after that, a modified
 contour, in which they're allowed to look at their paper, but only for
 2 seconds at a time; all the other rules are the same.

Sorry this is so long, but I do think this is a really important piece
of the puzzle for them at this age - they so want to know how to "make
things look right", and after two blind contour drawings, they are
nearly all impressed with how their modifed contour drawing turns out -
much more realistic than they thought they could do! Here are a couple
of projects my 6th grade students do after having done this exercise - I
really do build on those contour skills: , ,
Good luck!
-Lydia in Toledo
Toledo School for the Arts

On Mon, 13 Sep 2010 23:22 -0500, "JeanE C. McIntosh" <>
> I wonder if anyone has a syllabus or perhaps some lesson plans for 6th
> grade art that include the grading rubrics. I have been trying to
> teach blind contour. So far a young lady told me today that she had a
> problem with me calling it "blind". They made great tops out of the
> paper plates and pencils. They didn't want to use their hands to draw,
> the tricycle or the plant.
> I am at my wits end. I really need some help.
> JeanE M.
> ---
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