SchoolArts Magazine

October 2016

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 27 another person looks at your finished drawing, can he or she identify which bugs you decided to draw?" Art Abuzz I moved finished drawings from table to table to ensure that we always had fresh eyes on them. No hints were allowed as students tried to guess the type of bug depicted. A few children were frustrated, but the follow-up question was always, "What can you add to your drawing to make it even more specific?" The class was abuzz! (Pun intended.) Students traded bugs and pointed out differences to one another. Girls and boys were equally engaged. Even my rowdiest student was engrossed by the challenge of finding and documenting new details. One girl asked for my help drawing a butterfly's wings: "How do you do those little wiggles?" While we worked it out together, she pointed out a fine line of yellow that I hadn't noticed between the red and the black of that insect's wing. She was so proud of herself. "I see it even better than you do!" Rama Hughes is an art teacher at Yavneh Hebrew Academy in Los Angeles, Cali- fornia, and is a contributing editor for SchoolArts magazine. rama@ ramahughes. com 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 See and Show "Be specific," I tell my students. When they draw portraits, I don't care how realistic the faces are, but I do expect the portraits to be recogniz- able. "What makes this face differ- ent from any other face?" When I send students home with sketchbook assignments, I ask the same question. "Show me how your toothbrush is different from everyone else's tooth- brush." The emphasis is on seeing and on showing what they've seen. I begin these lessons in kindergar- ten. We used to draw flowers. I chal- lenged my students to show me how a daisy was different from a lily. When they got good at that, I asked them to show me how each petal was different from the last. Students were engaged, and the artwork was almost always better than they expected, but they were never very excited about it. Looking at Insects This year, we tried drawing insects instead. I collected high-resolution photographs of twenty different kinds of bugs. I used five or six of them to create a slideshow. The purpose was to demonstrate how different each insect was from the other. How is a butterfly different from a moth? How does a grasshopper differ from an ant? Students were intrigued by these questions. They raised their hands to point out the fur on a honeybee's back, and the fuzzy antennae on the head of a rhinoceros beetle. When they were suitably excited about finding and explaining all those details to me, I gave them their assignment. Bugs in a Jar Each student was given a sheet of paper with a large glass jar printed on it. A selection of bug pho- tographs were placed in the middle of each table. Students were asked to select at least three different bugs and to draw them inside of their jars. They could use any materials they wished, and there were no rules about how the insects had to be drawn. The only criteria for suc- cess was this: "When The goal of observational drawing is not realism— it is specificit . Zecharia Polevoy

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