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  1. #1
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    Please, won't you help the children?

    Quick introductions, I'm a middle school art teacher, 6th through 8th grade. I cover all the fun basics and am running my class primarily as a studio art class. The kids get to do a bunch of drawing (budgets don't go very far and drawing is cheap), painting and some little printing and I try to incorporate an artist or group of artists that apply to the lessons if possible. What I'm hoping to get from everyone here is a few hints as to what you would have liked to see in art when you were at that age. I'm looking for novel ideas, as things that stand out reach their interest more than more mediocre skill building exercises like still life drawing for example. I'm always on the lookout for interesting ideas so if anyone would like to throw some ideas my way, keep in mind that the kids are hormone-soaked 11 to 13 year olds, so hinting at nude life drawing doesn't really help.
    As Lord Cardigan said to the Light Brigade, "Just canter down the valley toward Balaklava, fellows. Nothing to worry about." -W.E.B. Griffin


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  3. #2
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    well... first off, thanks and congratulations for being so open minded as to actually ask for help from students themselves (ca.org).

    i can't stress this enough, creativity is key, but so are basics... painting/abstract is fun at an early age but can often be the crutch that students will fall back on the older they get (i.e. forget the basics if someone says all of your colors and ideas are great).

    I really would have liked my teacher to give us more basic training (figure study, perspective first, then rendering later in the year). Yes, i know it's a younger crowd but you'll see that the kids really interested in art will eat this up, and those with short attention spans (like me) will need the importance of basics explained to them a little further. If you notice kids in your classes that are simply there for the easy credits (if they want to make chevrolet "bowtie" ashtrays when you work in clay), then by all means save yourself the trouble of trying to get them to "accept" art and let them enjoy the little art they will experience in their lifetime. I'm not saying "give up" on the underachievers, just don't forget the students who are in it for fun/output. Spend equal time with each student and don't make favorites.

    This may be a little geared towards a junior/senior art teacher but that's just my $0.02.

    Field trips to museums bring classes together as a group, take them as often as your budget allows.

    Oh, and if you do figure study, bathing suits in good poses (not sports illustrated swimsuit issue) are fine... just say something like "don't be afraid to pitch a tent, you're young" and that will probably make the class laugh. Saying something funny always keeps the class tension-free (so they won't feel the need to make their own funny chit-chat to loosen VERY tense situation of staring at an opposite sex for a long period of time).

  4. #3
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    I disagree with evisr8r. I think you should try to let the unartistic/uncreative kids see how fun art is.

    When I was in middle school I wished for nothing more then some pencils and paper. The teachers always made me do these boring 1/2 crafts-1/2 drawing projects. I remember drawing on the desk, besides doing the projects. So, maybe you should give the kids a couple of projects to choose from.

    Some ideas:
    1) Clothed Figure drawing. Let the kids be the models. Every class has attention hogs, throw them in the middle of the classroom and let them be the models. They'll love it, lol.

    2) Not all kids are interested in "artistic" projects. Since art is related to practically everything that exists, you have a number of options you can use to make them be interested in art. For example, The snotty kids who obsess with fashion:

    A Fashion Design Project
    1) Print a contour of a nude woman and man on paper (woman on one paper, man on another).
    2) Let the kids pick which gender they want to make clothes for, and have them draw an outfit ontop of the contour.
    3) Trace their outfit onto tracing paper.
    4) Have an assortment of fabrics for the kids to choose. They can cut out the fabric and make a miniture version of their outfit.

    Also, encourage kids. Tell them that their doing good. Point out their strongpoints. I remember never getting a complement on my art because the teacher didn't want to seem like she was favoring anyone.

    My general idea is that every kid can be an artist, even if their not good at it. Let them know that it is fun, and you don't have to be good to have fun.

  5. #4
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    5 words:


    loomis - fun with a pencil


    !

  6. #5
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    hrmm, Loomis is a great idea, and you gotta love the price.
    I have been pushing the kids for the last few years doing a pure studio class, but I"m looking to incorporate a few crafty things this year, especially for the younger kids. We do draw from life as often as possible, I was just pointing out that the kids weren't gonna be able to do too much anatomy type stuff as the principal and crew would proly frown on me hiring nudes. Thanks so far to everyone who left a reply, and if anything comes to mind folks, leave it here or PM me. Off the wall ideas for still life subjects, artists who've moved and inspired you, different media (cheap is nice but anything is welcome). With the number of students I service, my supply list rapes the budget left and right, so I'm looking to do some fund raisers to pay for trips. The town I'm in has diddly as far as galleries or museums, but there is an art center that occasionally has some decent shows, especially with local artists. Again, any suggestions you guys have will help.
    As Lord Cardigan said to the Light Brigade, "Just canter down the valley toward Balaklava, fellows. Nothing to worry about." -W.E.B. Griffin

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