SchoolArts Magazine

January 2015

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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eager to become actors when they are hidden inside bags, especially when working in pairs or groups with one student acting as director. Perform - ers can receive direction and interact with the class. Modeling Approaches Have students start by expressing simple emotions such as shy, lazy, or energetic, then progress to more complex emotions such as sinister, heroic, or curious. Move on to have groups of models act out stories such as "Peter and the Wolf" or "Little Red Riding Hood." Games such as hopscotch, red light/ green light, and Simon Says are also a great way to get students moving. F or many students, it's dif- ficult to isolate the gesture and movement of a figure from what they actually see. Some students are also hesitant about modeling in front of a class. A per - fect solution to both problems can be achieved by adapting a variety of theater games, and body language is easier to understand and see when the figure is sheathed in flowing lines of fabric. How is all of this achieved? Through the use of theater bags. Theater Bags A theater bag is basically a human-sized fabric bag that allows the demonstration of body language while giving anonym - ity to the models. Students are more Penelope Venola Making a Theater Bag Constructed of inexpensive two-wa stretch jerse , theater bags are simple to make. Establish the average height of our students, or make three bags: one short, one medium, and one tall. With a student standing in Leonardo da Vinci's Vitruvian Man pose, measure from the floor to the tip of the fingers. Double this measurement to determine the amount of fabric needed. For the width, measure from toe to toe. Fold the fabric in half, and then sew up the sides, leav - ing an opening at the bottom. Another method is to construct the bag with the opening down the back and attach ties to hold it closed. Draped in DRAMA Individual body-language portraits can be created, as can family groups. You can also have two students play artist and model—have one student pose another using only gestures to direct the model. You can also have students come up with ideas. Jubila - tion reigns as students discover ways to express emotion and body lan - guage through posture, stance, and movement. Drawing Gestures While these theatrics are taking place, other students should be bus - ily making gesture drawings as the actors hold their poses for one to five minutes, depending on the number of actors "on stage." It is wonderful to see how gesture drawing improves throughout this process. The more fun students have, the freer and more fluid their draw - ings become. Penelope Venola is an art teacher who lives in Costa Mesa, California. pvenola1@ N A T I O N A L S T A N D A R D Creating: Conceiving and developing new artistic ideas and work. W E B L I N K Body language is easier to understand and see when the figure is sheathed in flowing lines of fabric. 25 Middle School Studio Lesson

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