Sunday, October 17, 2010

6-8th Identity unit ideas

Our complex color wheels are done! So are our color theory musical symbols with "vibration" lines. After two weeks of painting we need to do something else. It should be time for clay, or tin tooling or something! But, even thought I gave her my supply order 7 weeks ago, the secretary STILL has not sent it to the school district warehouse, the only place I can get art supplies with school money. So these projects feature a lot of drawing, pencil, marker and pen. We are out of oil pastel, chalk pastel, clay, tooling foil, acrylic paint, watercolor or canvas paper, yarn, tissue paper, glue sticks...on and on. We do have...tempera paint, construction paper, copy paper, crayons, markers, colored pencils and white glue.

Over the years I have discovered that my 6th-8th graders really dislike doing art that features their own face. The students at my current school seem particularly sensitive to drawing themselves or altering photos of themselves. I suppose when you are in early adolescence you are already so critical, and often uncomfortable, with your looks that of course you don't want to stare at photos of yourself or use your less then advanced drawing skills to make a rendering of your face.

Yet one of our state standards for middle school age students is to explore identity and self portraiture. In the past I have asked students to do a Chuck Close grid drawing based on a photo of them. I do really like this project. Thinking box by box and knowing that everything is going to end up abstracted helps students with their self consciousness.
I have used both versions of the Chuck Close lessons on Art Projects for Kids. The first version is more advanced and while less "realistic" I tend to like the results better.

We may end up doing this project, but instead I want to see if we can do an "identity" unit minus the self portraiture.

When I think identity I think of the saying "The eyes are the window of the soul." When I think of the eye as a window, I think of Mc Eshers drawing Eye (the first picture in this post). Students will practice drawing eyes and how to correctly cover part of the eye ball itself with the flesh of the eye. After practice we will draw a large eye. Where the pupil and iris would be, students will draw a reflection of something that represents them...a person, place, or thing.
That crazy dude Rene Magritte was on the same brainwave as Esher with one of his few school appropriate works

My cousin sent me this photo of a drawing done by a Physics major from Princeton. I know it was done by a girl and is several years least. That is all I know about it, but it is really cool and great inspiration.
obviously we are going for something less advanced.

After the eye we will try out this really cool project idea Art Class Inspiration, she got the lesson from another site that appears to belong to a graphics design student named Daniel Eatock. Here is the link to his site that included directions for the project and examples. We may have to simplify it a bit, but I think it will be do-able. I will give students a sheet of inspiration questions to use for the text and this will be a great tie in to Alphabetise. Oh and bonus points for me if we use writing in the classroom.
I like the ones that use color and think I will ask the students to included some color in theirs.

Moving on it is time for us to hit up perspective, a 6-7th grade requirement while also doing the identity requirement. I always have students design their dream bedroom in one point and then write their names in thick letters and use one point on them to make them "explode" towards us.

I see that this is a common requirement for middle school students because Mrs. Keber over at VWMS Art Room is also doing one point perspective rooms. I also like her twist on teaching "boxes" with one point by having the kids create phrases with kids alpha blocks. We will be stealing that one flat out!

If we can find a roll of wire, or at least a roll of tinfoil we can make our figure in motion sculptures from two years ago. Thank goodness for paper towel and white glue paper machie.

Well if that dosen't keep us occupied I don't know what will!

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