Tuesday, February 22, 2011

2011 Design Unit, Part 1

For the first class of the New Year, I had students 2nd-5th grade warm up with this design challenge. In my room, we do not spend a lot of time drawing with pencils. I find that there is too much attention on sharpening and erasing, too many teeny tiny drawings on large paper, and, more often than not, the drawings just don't "pop." Pencil is a great drawing tool when used to it's full capacity, but often it becomes a crutch in the art room. I designed this quick unit to help students warm up after the break, to reinforce their drawing challenges from the last semester (but in a different way) AND to help them learn to use their pencils more effectively!

Students were given a 6"x12" sheet of white paper and a pencil - with NO eraser. They were challenged to use the numbers from the current (new) year - 2, 0 and 1 - and use them to create an interesting design. They were not supposed to put anything else in their design. We discussed ways that the numbers could be arranged to make the composition interesting. I asked them to incorporate the past drawing challenges from this unit, (cropping, repetition, and enlargement) and added another challenge - overlapping.

Before beginning the drawing, the students and I also discussed how to create contrast, depth and value in a pencil drawing. I demonstrated the various shades that could be made using different pressure with the pencil, and we talked about how to juxtapose them to create contrast (similarly to when we put complementary colors next to one another for contrast.) We also discussed the way that pencil lines can have varying thicknesses.

I gave students one class period (40 minutes) to complete their drawing challenge. The results were AMAZING - such variety. We did a gallery walk at the end of each period so that the students could see each other's work. I think they were pretty proud of themselves.

One last point I want to mention again - we did NOT use erasers to erase mistakes. We DID however use erasers as a drawing tool. If a students wanted to selectively erase from a shaded area, they were allowed to borrow an eraser from me. (There is an example of this in the second work of art on this post.) For mistakes, just as we do with other materials, the students were challenged and encouraged to find a way to incorporate them into their design.

All in all, this was a very successful activity! Stay tuned for Part Two, coming soon!

1 comment:

@auroraflorealis said...

Whenever we do pencil drawing, I have the same rule about minimal to no erasures during the drawing time. The students are getting really good at incorporating their mistakes! Love these awesome designs!