SchoolArts Magazine

September 2018

SchoolArts is a national art education magazine committed to promoting excellence, advocacy, and professional support for educators in the visual arts since 1901.

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SCHOOLARTSMAGAZINE.COM 41 of paper and ask students to fold them in half. I have them draw a line down the middle on both sides. This results in four rectangles in which to draw, two on each side. The final space is for students to sketch their own animals brought from home. Students follow along, sketching the animal with me. Next, I place one animal on each table and ask all students at that table to draw the same animal. Then I ask students to move to an animal of their choice located in the room and draw it. The focus of this unit is for personal connection to art and not primarily observational drawing. Developmen - tally, children who are six or seven years of age are in the pre-schematic/ schematic stage. Reinforcing that the drawings look realistic for these young artists should not be an expectation. Making a Personal Connection To reinforce a personal connection to the subject, I ask each student to share with the class their animal, its name, and why the animal is their favorite or why they chose to bring it to school. This can take a significant amount of time. However, the activity supports connectedness and storytelling and is time well spent. Thinking and Working Like an Artist One of my favorite ways I express to students that they are artists is by telling them, "You are artists. I trust the artist in you to make decisions." Students are now ready to reflect on the four or more sketches they have created and make a choice as to which sketch will result in the final draft. You may want to give students choices in the size of paper they use, as well as the medium. This past year, my students explored using black tempera paint as a drawing tool. Using small brushes, students "drew" their images. After drawing, Stuffed animals can serve both as inspiration and a vehicle for developing observational skills. students used oil pastels to add color to the animal only. After I model techniques of drawing, coloring, smearing, and color mixing, stu - dents apply color as desired. For backgrounds, students can use oil pastels, crayons, markers, and/or paint (tempera cakes or watercolor). This strategy allows for many varied results, but most importantly sends the message that the work created is theirs, not a replica or teacher-directed image. Reflecting and Responding There are many ways for reflecting and responding to artwork: gallery walks, table share and discussion, student-directed presentation of work in the hall, brief written reflec - tion, and more. Giving students the opportunity to share their visual sto - ries with others is a critical part of the process of being a purposeful and reflective creator. Take the opportunity to allow your primary students to bring stuffed animals from home to make personal connections to still life. Bob Reeker is a K– 5 visual art and creative computing specialist and elementary tech - nology leader at Elliott Elementary School in Lincoln, Nebraska. N A T I O N A L S T A N D A R D Connecting: Relating artistic ideas and work with personal meaning and external context. W E B L I N K artist-stuffed-animal- paintings/#Qp4IQbLuQ5qm

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