Great Art Lessons for the Creative Soul
We made it!! Summer vacation has officially began for many school staff and students. Even though vacation has started, many educators and homeschoolers will be doing research for new art lessons, displays, etc. for the 2014-15 school year. Here's a simple idea to use in any classroom when you are working on a project or art lesson. When I taught art on the secondary level, I always posted the steps for each art lesson on one of the main bulletin boards in my classroom. This allowed each student to be reminded of the steps for each art lesson and cut down the amount of students who asked "What are we supposed to do again?......." A simple version of this is displayed below. An example of the completed demonstration painting is displayed with the lesson steps simply written above. The bulletin board also features our colorful Pencil Bulletin Board Trim as well as out C-R-C poster. Have a wonderfully restful and creative summer.
One of the most successful portrait lessons that I've taught on the secondary level uses the grid technique. Using the grid technique to teach drawing can really be effective in building students confidence in the art room. For this lesson, the students used magazine ads to create the drawings; they also used oil pastels to color the portraits. (Because it takes a good amount of time and focus to complete this project, this lesson really helps in managing an art class.)
This particular grid portrait is inspired by the work of Chuck Close. Chuck Close is a famous artist who is known for his beautiful portraits and inspiring story. To learn more about the grid technique and Chuck Close, click on the links below.
Most art teachers and/or artists understand the importance of decorating a room or studio in a way that inspires creativity. Moreover, it's good to decorate an art space in a way that does not cause it to look cluttered or disorganized. In addition to using the affordably beautiful art resources from www.artforthecreativesoul.com, student art, and artist prints, the following list suggests three simple ways you can decorate your art space, classroom, or studio using simple objects.
1. Decorate cabinets or storage with colored paper
Arrange sheets of construction paper or paint sample strips in simple patterns. This will enhance the physical appearance of the art space without looking cluttered.
2. Use art tools or books to decorate
Arrange your art supplies and/or books in neat rows based on color and/or type. This is visually appealing and a fun way to organize your supplies.
3. Use flowers and/or interesting objects
Live or silk flowers, colorful rugs or cloth, and interesting objects are great ways to add pizazz to an art room or studio.
Make sure to click on the Pinterest link in the sidebar to discover more creative ideas for decorating an art space. Also share your ideas by commenting below.
Today I was thinking about my first professional teaching job as an art teacher in an elementary school that served 800 students in grades K-5. When I walked into the art room, the students were screaming, wrestling, standing on tables and throwing art supplies at each other. I thought to myself, what have I gotten myself into? After a short few weeks, a lot of prayer, and hard work, I got the art room in order and the students back on track. Thus, today I want to share five simple tips for managing an art classroom successfully.
This is one of the most important tips on the list. Lack of organization can cause major issues in your classroom. Keep you supplies and student work in order. Make sure your class is neat and clean at the end of each day. Prepare your lessons in a timely manner. Have a seating chart for each class.
2. Engaging Art Lessons
There are hundreds of great websites and blogs to help you develop amazing art lessons that will keep the students focused in a positive way. Keep your presentations/demonstrations between 5-10 minutes long and allow the students more time to have fun creating.
3. Bell Work
This tip works on all grade levels. Have the students do a simple 5 minute drawing or art activity in an art journal as soon as they walk in the room. This helps to get their creative juices flowing.
4. 10 Minutes of Quiet Time
For the first 5-10 minutes of each project, tell the students that they have to work quietly so that they can concentrate. In some cases the students become so engaged in their work they stay quiet for 20 minutes. You can also play soft classical music while they're quiet to stimulate the creative sides of their brains.
5. Consistent Integrity
Keep the routine, rules, and procedures in your class consistent. Follow through on positive and negative consequences.
Share more tips on managing an art room by commenting below.
This week we are sharing pictures of sculptures created by high school students in grades 9-12. After studying the sculptures of the great artist, Elizabeth Catlett, the students did simple sketches of images that represent the idea of power. Following a brief discussion with me, they began carving their ideas out of balsa wood.
Finally, they sanded and stained their pieces with a high gloss stain.
This week we wanted to share a creative bulletin board idea using one of our art resources. Using the 4 Basic Pencil Shading Techniques poster, you can create an outstanding display in 5 easy steps:
1. Choose a bright background paper to cause the resource to standout.
2. Use a border that will compliment the resource. We created the one used in the picture above.
3. Create a fun sign to place at the top.
4. Select interesting examples of pencil drawings using various shading techniques.
5. Mount each sheet on black construction paper.
Send us examples of how you use this poster in your classroom and we'll post them on our website.
Another great idea for developing an outstanding extra-curricular program, is to provide a workshop for art students from another school to visit and work with the art students on a project at your school.We created an animation workshop to give some of the middle school art students in our district an opportunity to preview the animation class that our school provided. It also allowed the middle school art students to interact with high school art students in a positive environment.
First, we contacted the middle school art teacher to see if she would be interested in bringing her students to this kind of workshop. After she eagerly said "Yes!", we set up a date and time for her to bring over 2-3 of her art classes.
Each group rotated through three different spaces that were set up with animation related activities. In one classroom the middle students were introduced to Macromedia Director by the high school students. Each middle school student partnered with a high school student. The second activity was in the school art gallery. In the gallery, we set up a display of character illustrations, storyboards and videos of flipbooks created by high school art students. The middle school students created an original character and simple storyboard in the art gallery. In the last classroom space, the visiting students created a simple flipbook. Each activity lasted one hour and the students had a great time. All of the students got along well and the middle school art teacher enjoyed the "field trip" experience that we provided for her students.
In our second installment of great extra-curricular programs, I want to focus on a program that we created to connect art students with professional artists. One year, I thought it would be fun to have professional artists come in and speak to our students about what it's like to live and work as an artist in the "real world". I started by looking for artists on the internet and thinking about professional artists that I personally knew.
After composing a list of potential speakers, I e-mailed and called many of them. I was surprised at the number of artists who were willing to speak to our students for free. We then created a three day seminar in which artists came in and spoke to our students for 30 minutes followed by a Q & A session. The artists ranged from a fiber artist to an automotive illustrator to a graphic artist. Some artists bought in actual examples of their work while others used slideshows. One of the artist, who is an abstract painter, invited students to come and paint random strokes and colors on a canvas; the final painting is shown below.
The students really enjoyed meeting and learning about the artists as well as taking a break from the normal class routine. We also provided lunch for the artists and took time to learn about their creative backgrounds. At the end of the series, the students wrote a short essay about what they learned and which artist inspired them the most. This idea is perfect for the art educator who has a limited budget but wants to expose their students to the art community in their local area. Moreover, it's a program that can be tailored to fit any grade level and schedule. Let us know if you are doing something like this in your local school.
One of the best ways to create an amazing art program at your school is to facilitate and offer an extra-curricular art program. Throughout my years in the classroom, I created a variety of extra-curricular programs for students who expressed a strong interest in visual art. The next several posts will briefly highlight some of these programs and hopefully inspire you to create one for the students at your school.
Earlier in my teaching career, I was fortunate to teach at a high school that had an arts academy. I loved working with the students and staff at that school. While the school did not offer a fashion class in the curriculum, one of the senior students asked me to work with her in developing a fashion illustration portfolio for college. Having studied fashion illustration and some basic sewing experience, I enjoyed working with her; this also inspired me to create and offer an after school fashion club.
I began by placing fliers aroung the school to see if any other students might be interested in joining the fashion club. While the first meeting had a large turnout, only 10 students were able to consisitently commit to the club. This was perfect because, it allowed me to be able to work with each student individually.
The club was offered once a week for an hour after school.The students were required to maintain at least an overall g.p.a. of 2.5 in their classes, maintain good behavior, and attend a majority of the meetings. We had so much fun learning about basic fashion terms, major designers, and styles.
The students learned how to create original fashion illustrations and picked names for their design concepts.
It was so exciting watching the students bring their designs to life by creating the actual garments they illustrated. After taking them to a local fabric store and teaching them about choosing the right fabrics for their ideas, each student created three outfits. They also learned how to read and alter a basic sewing pattern.
The program culminated with a student produced fashion show in the spring. The students advertised, decorated the space and invited family, staff members and friends to attend the show. We were fortunate to have an actual gallery space in that school and used it to display the student's fashion illustrations. The students also supplied hors d'oeurves for the guests. The visual art department received accolades from the staff, administration and community. The most rewarding part for me though, was seeing, the pride and joy on the students faces.
Recently, I was thinking about some of my favorite art lessons that I have used in the classroom and found these pictures from a basic sculpture class that I taught. The class consisted of students in grades 9-12. The assignment was based on an art history lesson that focused on the art of Claes Oldenburg/Coosje Van Bruggen. After viewing examples of, discussing and writing about their work, the students began to create their own versions of "Pop Art" shoes using railroad board, markers, paint, pencils, glue and any other decorative details, they wanted to include. The students were excited about the finished products.
Alicia L. McDaniel
Alicia L. McDaniel is the author and creator of Great Art Lessons for the Creative Soul. She is also an educator, professional artist, and lover of the arts.
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