Drawing Unit (Art 6)

I am taking a different approach to teaching drawing this year. I ordinarily go through the standard procedure of blind contour line drawings, followed by observational drawings, followed by value scales, followed by… you see where I’m going with this. The standard drawing unit. I began to think about my schools Core Values and how I could really build a lesson from these.

  • The importance of connections.
  • Mastering strategies for learning.
  • Minds that are curious and creative.
  • A resilient spirit that dares to take risks.

The fourth value is visible in our first class when students declared one thing that they have always wanted to know how to draw. They dove in headfirst and took a pre-test in their sketchbooks. Each student took an attempt at drawing their object, item, or subject. They took a risk. There was giggling, and a lot of, “I’m bad at drawing.” I exclaimed that I too used to be, “bad at drawing.” I also explain in detail that drawing has a lot more to do with looking at your subject or object than it has to do with being a good artist.

In order to encourage the second value (strategies for learning), I am encouraging students to seek out tutorials and step by step instructions. They have been collecting resources and links as they work. I gave them little guidance at this stage only assisting them in their google search word choices. This also begins to explore the third value of minds that are curious and creative. They became engrossed in their search for good resources and learned that many links did not include the best information at times.

Our final stage of the lesson will support the first value of connection. Students will not only create a final drawing of their subject, object, or item; they will teach the rest of the class how to draw. I think this personal level of connection and learning from student-to-student is vital in our educational system.

I would like to share with you the growth seen over one class period in one of my 6th graders. First, her pre-test.

Followed by her first sketch, completed the following 40 minute class period.

The attention to detail in the second drawing that makes me so happy I could cry,

  • head shape
  • facial proportion
  • mouth
  • eyes
  • value!

Seriously, this kiddo made my day last week! I know the sketch isn’t perfect but the fact that her growth and understanding is so visible just confirms my theory about this kind of self-directed practice in the art room.

3 responses to “Drawing Unit (Art 6)

  1. Pingback: Coming Soon! « Art With Ms. B·

  2. Beautiful! I love the moments that make us that happy — they don’t happen all the time, but they are the highlights that encourage us to keep working with our students while improving our own techniques. I have the feeling that there are moments like this that can only be shared by creative teachers… and we know in those moments why we don’t simply have a ‘job’.

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