On Friday, I introduced/reviewed value and the four common shading techniques with the students: hatching, cross-hatching, stippling and blending. They had to practice in their notes and then for their second sketchbook assignment, I asked them to set up a 3-object still life at home, shine a light on it, and draw it using value.
On Monday, we started off the unit by discussing the different drawing media that can be used (oil pastels, pencil, chalk, etc.) and we spoke briefly about art styles. Again, this is something we will work on throughout the school year, but the projects we do for this unit are all going to fall under the realm of pop art, so I want students to have a basic knowledge of what pop art is compared to the other styles of art.
Now, as I graded those sketch assignments on Monday, I realized that the students (a) didn't have a good idea of what I meant by set up a still life and (b) didn't know how to properly utilize value with observation skills. Thus the reason why it's important to give sketch assignments as homework (a good way to assess prior knowledge!). I threw out my original plans for the next few days and pulled out the mannequins I bought for the elementary room with past SmARTteacher winnings. I set them up in the middle of the tables, let the students arrange them, turned the lights off and put a spot light on the figures. I gave a brief demonstration of how they should quickly do a contour drawing of the figures and then demonstrated the proper way to observe value.
Once we move on from practicing the value (probably by Thursday or Friday this week), students will have to bring in a wrapped food item, such as a candy bar, and do a large, up-close black and white drawing of it.
As we move onto the painting aspect, students will learn about how paint is made and we will then use our candy bars and acrylic paint to do a pop art painting...I'm thinking more in the style of Claes Oldenburg. I want them to incorporate some acrylic mediums that I bought to give their paintings texture. This project will be a way for students to utilize the elements and principles to create an interesting composition.
For the final 2-D project, printmaking, students will do some reduction printing ala Andy Warhol. I did this with my printmaking class when I did my student teaching, and I have my example hanging on a bulletin board in the high school art room that students were admiring and mentioned they wanted to do (I hung up some of my artwork from the past, both high school and college, so that students could see what I am capable of). So, I'll have students bring in a popular object to turn into a multi-colored print.
This unit will also introduce art criticism to the students. That was originally what I was going to start with, but I was tired of doing the note thing, and so were the students. I prefer getting the boring stuff out of the way in the beginning, but I need to remember that the students don't think that way!