Sunday, September 11, 2005

First Week of Choice-based Art

During the first week I opened the drawing station by demonstrating how all of the materials could be used: broad-line markers, fine-line markers, crayons, colored pencils, fluorescent crayons, glitter crayons, changeable crayons, pencils, sharpie markers, and oil pastels. I also had a tub with a collection of small toys that could be drawn: dinosaurs, farm animals, and jungle animals. I had a large variety of drawing books, approximately 40, to look at, which I have since pared down to about 10. I plan on rotating these, as the original number had too many choices. We discussed the various ways that an artist gets ideas. I gave the students a choice of papers to work on: black, white, brown, purple, or green. I told them that sometimes an artist spends time experimenting with and manipulating new materials to see in what ways they could be used, and that the colors in the background around the colors that you use affect the appearance of your color. I had many students excited about trying out materials on a variety of colors of paper. Others chose to draw something of interest to themselves.

On the second day for one class, three students at one table got inspirations from each other. One boy used his whole sheet of paper to represent an aquarium with a large fish in it. It had a large cat's paw reaching into it. One of the girls next to him drew a very creative, colorful, fairy-tale boat on a bucolic ocean with a lot of clouds above it. The boat was meant to go in the aquarium. The girl on the other side of him drew the interior of a room with a dresser with the drawers hanging out, with the aquarium sitting on top of it and the cat poised beside it. It gave me chills to see how they had worked together to create a whole story in pictures.

Since the first day for each group, I have added mirrors for self-portraits, texture sheets for rubbings, and an African art book,a Native American art book, and design books for butterflies, undersea, and stained glass windows to use for inspiration. So far, all students have been actively engaged in their art in every class period.

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