SchoolArts Magazine

NOV 2012

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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Left: Instead of using a pencil and paper, students also tried drawing the turkey using their finger on a tablet. Right: Although Audubon might not have worked in clay, that didn't stop us. Students also made turkey pots using the coil method. a stop at a costume rental store. I planned to present the lesson not as Mr. Hinshaw, but as the 1800s artist and naturalist John James Audubon. I rented a leather fringed jacket, kneehigh moccasins, leather hat, and a toy flintlock gun. Drawing a Turkey from Life For the past three years, we have been developing an unused school courtyard into a nature center, so this provided the perfect spot to present the lesson. John James Audubon Before students arrived, In the first half of the 1800s, Audubon I e-mailed links for websites about roamed the wilds of America attemptAudubon to the classroom teachers ing to draw all the birds in their natuso that they could prepare students. I ral habitat. He published his life-sized paintings in a huge book entitled Birds encouraged them to show Wild Turkey, perhaps Audubon's most famous of America. Audubon developed a print from Birds unique system of America, Students and teachers of depicting the since students birds in natural appreciated my extra effort would be drawposes, such as in bringing a live turkey to ing a turkey flying. After school, working outside, and from life. shooting the dressing in buckskins. After I prebird, he would sented Auduwire it to a wood bon's life and method of drawing, frame with a wire grid in the desired students sketched the live turkey pose. He drew the same grid lightly using pieces of masonite for a drawonto a piece of paper, then he drew the ing board. Students were able to pet bird over the grid. I made a similar the turkey, which was almost as tall wood and wire grid using an artificial as some of the kindergartners. Their bird from a craft store to demonstrate drawings demonstrated an attention to this method. detail—including claws, bumps on the head, and the wattle—that would not have been possible without working with a live turkey. Students and teachers appreciated my extra effort and courage in bringing a live turkey to school, working outside, and dressing in buckskins. I imagine it will be a lesson students will remember next Thanksgiving while they are coloring a turkey picture with crayons. Craig Hinshaw is an artist and art teacher who lives in Davison, Michigan. He is also the author of Clay Connections (Poodle Press, 2008). NatioNaL StaNdard Students identify connections between the visual arts and other disciplines in the curriculum. Web LiNk 29

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