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Lesson Plans

Re:Grade 9

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Sandra Hildreth (shildret)
Thu, 25 Sep 1997 22:20:19 -0400

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Peggy wrote:

Have you noticed that grade 9 students are in a class by
themselves, kind of here and kind of there? Got any really special
to hook this age group into art? It's important because where I am, this
the year that they all get art classes, but after this they will choose
art, or not. Thanks for any help. Peggy

I spend a lot of time with my 9th graders (who basically all are there
to meet a graduation requirement) teaching them techniques. It may sound
really simple, but I teach them how to draw cubes, cylinders & spheres
and how to shade so they look 3-dimensional. I go over how to draw
3-dimensional objects on a 2-dimensionl surface so they look like they
exist in real space. I teach them how to color with crayons and colored
pencils like young adults instead of like children; how to mix and do
shading andblending with tempera paints. I teach them how to use light
guidelines when they do lettering. I actually do guided practice
activities where they follow me step by step in terms of doing these
skills. Then I give them assignments in which they have a lot of freedom
to choose what they do, but they have to demonstrate their understanding
of specific skills. For example, after all the practice drawing &
coloring 3-D forms, I ask them to design a book cover for a science
fiction story. It can be anything they want to do, as long as it
includes a cube, cylinder and sphere shape. You can image the neat
robots and space ships my artistically talented kids come up with - but
what is more important to me, is the cylinder form holding up a cube,
which becomes a lunar outpost that the average, disinterested student is
able to come up with and complete successfully. So I mix creative
projects in with instructional projects. My students feel better about
their work because I have given them the power (skills lessons) to make
their assignments look better. I have less discipline problems and I
think I get better effort out of them. I think I will try an idea from
someone elses' post as well - to teach them how to participate in a
critique by trying it first with something they are familiar with -
like posters or clothing or CD covers. I love to see unqiue, creative,
artistic accomplishment, but I also strongly believe that all children
deserve instruction in art too. By 9th grade many feel so inadequate in
art they are convinced they have no abilities. I find they still may not
be able to draw very well, or even come up with creative ideas - but
when their projects look decent because of successful shading or
coloring - they feel more successful.

Sandra Hildreth
C.L.A.S.S. (Cultural Literacy through Art & Social Studies)
Art 7-12, Madrid-Waddington Central School, Madrid, NY 13660
Art Methods, St. Lawrence University, Canton, NY 13617

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