Autumn is here, and I am already mulching and raking leaves like crazy. Though this project won’t solve the entire problem, it will get your kids to pick up three our four leaves from your yard.
“Abstract Fall Leaves” combines the idea of abstract art from week 4 with the warm/cool color scheme. For this project, kids will design a balanced composition and begin to understand the color wheel. Let’s take a look:
What is “Mealtime Monets”? It is the thing that will save your sanity!!! Ok, I like to exaggerate, but still… it is a tool that will give you free time while your children practice real art skills that relate to Classical Conversations or drawing in general. I’m calling it “Mealtime Monets” because dinner prep is the time I find I need a bit of space, yet my children (and dog) like to be stealthily right behind me every time I walk to the sink so that I trip over them as I back up. Or they ask to help make dinner as I’m in a whirlwind panic of pulling the baked chicken out of the oven as I remember that I forgot to make the rice (again). I do love having my children cook with me, and we do this often, but there are some nights that I’d like to have them occupied while I’m working on it. And when I realize I’ve screamed “Just go play OUTSIDE!” four times, I need to find an alternative for them to do.
Mealtime Monets are helpful because your kids can sit at the kitchen table and work on the projects while you’re near them in the kitchen. They like this, of course. Even if you don’t use the projects near dinner time, they are a good way of keeping kids occupied and engaged in something meaningful while you do something else (like work on math with another kid. Or have some time by yourself). They use simple materials and little prep time. Perfect.
I had the chance to visit the Louvre and see the Mona Lisa in person many years ago. What I thought would be a huge and impressive painting was actually a small and somewhat dull portrait. What’s all the fuss with the Mona Lisa? There have been many theories about the woman’s expression, about what her real name is, and even about the portrait being of Da Vinci himself painted as a female. Though I am not a die-hard fan of the work, it is still an interesting piece of history and a quintessential piece of Renaissance art. This week we will re-create the Mona Lisa using a grid-drawing technique. This will tie in our history sentence and expose students to another way to accurately draw what we see.
Below you will find three lesson plans: one for ages 4-6, 7-9, and 10-11. The lesson plan PDF includes tutor directions, line drawing of the Mona Lisa, and gridded paper. Continue Reading →
Cityscapes are a wonderful way to use perspective drawing techniques. Luckily, the geography for this week is European Cities, a perfect jumping off point for drawing buildings in perspective.
The drawings this week are inspired by vintage travel posters. They always have a dynamic sense of depth due to…. you guessed it, perspective! These are the posters that inspired this week’s projects.
Perspective can be a challenge. Students have to use rulers, line up points, and do all sorts of stuff that is hard for them. Just remember, it is not about what the final drawing looks like. It is about students learning the ideas. Even if it doesn’t look great, they are practicing challenging subject matter and gaining understanding. That’s the important stuff!
For week four, the lesson combines Native American art (timeline card “Early Native Americans”) and abstract art. First, let’s define abstract. It is a category of art that represents imagery in a simplistic or distorted manner. Under this category is non-objective art, which takes out the recognizable image completely, and we are left with just lines, color, etc. The Foundations Guide art idea for week 4 is non-objective, but using abstracted imagery can also effectively teach students to design well using lines, shapes, and color.
Just like the lesson from the Foundations Guide, this lesson encourages students to use the elements to create interesting and pleasing design. Students must also think about space, balance, and repetition as they draw. The fish in the project is a simplified shape, and the motifs inside are focused on design, not realism. Let’s get started on the abstracted Northwest Native American Salmon! Continue Reading →
For week three students will be doing an upside-down drawing. The concept is about training our brains to see the image solely as a group of lines and shapes. It also relates back to OiLs and the ability to describe and duplicate lines.
It is so, so, SO important to teach students to look at the object in front of them as they draw, and to study the lines that create that object. People tend to draw the object they see in their mind rather than what they see in front of them. For example, if asked to draw an apple on a table, many people would look at the apple once, then keep their head down and draw what they think a typical apple would look like. We want students to constantly look back at the object and draw the nuances of the lines and curves- simply as a series of lines and curves, not an apple.
The lesson below relates to geography for the week. The Book of Kells is a medieval illuminated manuscript created by monks in Ireland around 800 AD. It is a great way to connect art to history to geography. Continue Reading →
Fine Art for week two is Mirror Images. The exercises this week are great for training students to pay attention to shapes and angles, while also practicing the skill of manipulating images in their head. They will need to study the shapes and be able to flip them around in their mind’s eye before they draw them. This can be tough to do!
As in the last post, this project is tied to the science for the week. Students will be drawing a picture of a bear (most of which are omnivores, excluding polar bears and giant pandas). Bringing in a picture book about bears could be fun for younger students. Continue Reading →
The first week of CC is almost here. Woo hoo! (Or maybe, “Aagghhhh!”) Here is a drawing lesson that incorporates some science from week one along with the OiLs drawing techniques. Below you will find three separate lessons (one for each age group) but all with the same theme. The age group is a suggestion, so use the lesson that you feel is best for your class. Continue Reading →
The seven elements of art are the building blocks of the visual arts- we use all the elements as we draw, paint, sculpt, and design. Knowing and memorizing the seven elements is important because it gives us the vocabulary to understand and discuss what we make and see. This core piece of grammar can be woven into our conversations with students, into our lessons, and ultimately into into the student’s own vocabulary. Continue Reading →
August is almost here! For me, that means gearing up for the CC year, thinking of creative ways to teach new grammar, and lesson planning for the drawing portion of Classical Conversations. I love thinking about teaching art effectively. Art can be overwhelming- “How do I teach others to draw when I don’t know how to draw?!” But I think art and drawing can be learned just as we learn math or reading. There are skills and basic knowledge attached, and everyone is capable of learning them.
As I plan lessons for the first six weeks of drawing, I will be connecting some piece of new grammar to each drawing project. All knowledge is related, and that’s one reason I love Classical Conversations! It allows us to show students how art relates to science, history, math, etc. What a beautiful thing.
I am excited about this new venture of blogging, and will post lesson plans soon. Stay tuned!