One of my goals for this year is to work in more short projects into the Junior Art curriculum. I was just browsing art blogs and I found this post over at the Becker Middle School blog . My kids love zentangles, and I like the idea of combining a landscape or still life with a zentangle. Because alone, they look fantastic, but dont really tie into many other art skills or terminology we are trying to teach. This still life task allows you to combine observational drawing, tone and use of pattern and line in the Zentangle component. I do wonder how those projects get done in a week though – how many classes do they have? Our year 7 classes only have a double lesson and a single lesson per week…. and the single is often used for theory.
Usually with my new year 7 students I do a painted colour wheel activity. It’s a good chance to see what their painting and colour mixing skills are like, and teach them what my expectations are regarding packing up properly etc. This year however, in my quest for some short, snappy activities to make each class more fun and teach the art concepts at the same time, I was inspired by a Pinterest post regarding this Crazy Colour Wheel lesson plan. To keep thing short, we worked in coloured pencil, as I was hoping to keep it to one double lesson. Next time I might try pastels – still quick, but more intense colours. While using pencils doesn’t reinforce the colour mixing concept behind secondary colours, but they did learn about complimentary colours and this task did allow me to include an observational drawing component. I bought a few packets of cheap plastic animals, so students could have one each to draw, and encouraged them to do so as accurately as possible. Many of them had never tried to draw from observation before, and they had to try hard not to fall back on familiar schema’s. For a first attempt, I think they did pretty well…. They were certainly engaged, and the task was short enough that it was completed before they got bored.