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Topic: Teaching introductory art class to 3rd-5th graders; advice?  (Read 1150 times)
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Maid Mirawyn
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Reality is highly overrated...

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« on: August 01, 2010 02:08:49 PM »

I've been offered (and accepted) an interesting opportunity by my church. The music ministry has decided to reach out to more kids and offer a wider range of artist opportunities to the kids in the community by adding electives. I'm going to be teaching a basic exposure-level course in the visual arts.

I'm really excited by this, for a whole range of reasons. For one thing, I think the arts are being ignored. Plus, in these difficult economic times, it's hard for parents to afford art classes. There are also soooo many kids who would love art, but haven't really had the chance to try it. And I think artsy kids get neglected in church programs (and school, but I digress.) I would love to help rectify that!

I've taught once before--book arts, to adults. But my degree is not in art ed (studio arts, concentration in graphic design). I figure that with an awesome community like Craftster, and considering how many artists also teach, someone out there might have some advice or be able to point me to a good resource!

The details:
  • 5 or 6 40 minute classes
  • First round of classes are for 3rd-5th grade
  • Experience level expected to vary widely

I want this to be an actual art class, not simply a glorified craft class. (I love crafts, as it happens, but they do those in school, Sunday school, and lots of other places.) Since it's an exposure-type class, I would like to give them experience with a variety of mediums. I think I want to do a three-dimensional project the last week. Each project must be finished in that one week.

I also want to cover some of the basic concepts of art, including some very basic color theory. But the problem is figuring out what is reasonable in my limited time.

I would appreciate any advice or feedback. Thanks!


Reality is highly overrated...
The requisite craft blog...
« Reply #1 on: August 01, 2010 06:43:49 PM »

I don't know of a resource but this made me think of one of my elementary art classes. I really enjoyed when we copied a well-known painting (not traced, free-hand as we each saw it. this could also let you teach a bit about famous artists). I'm not sure if we each had a different one or it was all the same, but I remember mine being starry night. We used pastels I think. You could do it in all different mediums, or styles, or if you want to discuss color theory, have the kids do a warm or cool version, or all in reds/all blues/two complimentary colors/etc. You could probably manage this in one class if the original image was simple enough and since the kids would simplify the paining to suit their abilities. Another thing that might be fun is to cut up a picture into squares without telling the kids what it is, have each child copy a different square onto a sheet of paper bigger than the original in their/your choice of medium (or again, you can toss color theory in there and specify each child a color set or something), then at the end of the class put the squares together so they can see what the picture is.
« Reply #2 on: August 02, 2010 03:03:58 PM »

I like the idea of doing different mediums. Chalks, pastels, watercolors (skip the oils, too messy... lol), maybe even incorporate resists into the equation. Tie-dye is always fun. <3 Or maybe something like sun painting.

Art on different mediums is always interesting too. Branch out from construction paper, maybe try fabric or feathers or ceramics (if the budget can handle it), even rocks from outside.

Whenever I teach crafts to that age group I always like to incorporate "thinking outside of the box" on top of techniques. Anything and everything can be art.
« Reply #3 on: August 23, 2010 07:17:18 PM »

There are many fine books on this subject, at teacher resource stores. I've used this one with lots of success.
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