I received an email from a reader who was having trouble figuring out how to structure her art curriculum. These types of questions are not easy to answer as developing an art curriculum is personal stuff and they take a long time to answer! I have my way of creating a curriculum, but another teacher may be required to do things a little differently. But I do like to help, and for the benefit of all readers, I am posting Janice’s question so that we can all help her out.
I have 9 sessions (1.5 hours/session) of art workshop, the first 7 are for drawing and painting and the last 2 are for sculpture and/or collage. What I’m having difficulty with right now are the first 7 sessions. I cannot seem to limit the drawing and painting elements and techniques I should teach to and focus on with 7-12 year olds. 7 sessions is quite short!
So, here is my plan. Please tell me if the pacing is too fast or too slow. Or if the targets are not appropriate for the age level. Maybe I missed some important techniques or the sequence is incorrect. And I would also appreciate if you could link me to activities on your website that I could use for my daily target. I already have activity ideas, but I’m always looking for something better. If I need to scrap everything, do not hesitate to let me know as well!
Day 1 – Do I focus on lines and shapes?
Day 2 – Is light and shadow next? Can I ask them to sketch already from a photo or a real life object?
Day 3 – Is it appropriate to teach them perspective at this stage and given their age? Does optical illusion go with this?
Day 4 – Would they be ready for color and value now?
Day 5 – Painting techniques with watercolor
Day 6 – Painting techniques with oil
Day 7 – Portraiture?
I really appreciate this, Patty. Thank you so much!
Elements to consider
From the information Janice gave me, she has 9 sessions at 1.5 hours each. That’s a good amount of time to introduce a lesson, teach and complete it. Janice has already informed me that the children in her class will range from 7-12 years old. That’s a big range and a big challenge. What Janice needs is simple lessons that can be completed in under 90 minutes and be adaptable for a wide age range. This is not easy, so I would recommend that Janice be prepared to teach the lesson in a simple manner and then provide more detailed instruction for the older kids.
So here are the lessons I would recommend (Janice’s suggestion/query in blue, my suggestion in black)
Day 1 – Do I focus on lines and shapes? Yes. Lines and Shapes are a fast and easy warm-up for all grade levels. You will want to pick something that can be created by both 1st graders and 6th graders without anyone feeling to challenged or worse, bored! I like Miro Line Drawings and Miro Paintings. My Line plus Color equals Fun PDF has good lessons that combine line with color, so think about doing a line drawing then adding color.
Day 2 – Is light and shadow next? Can I ask them to sketch already from a photo or a real life object? For this session you could focus on coloring or painting the line drawing from session one, or moving into a new lesson. Shading is a big step, especially for the little ones.
If you want to do a new lesson, try a tempera painting lesson that features a subject that is easily scaleable. For example; a fish, bird or flowers. Younger and older kids can do the same subject, technique and medium but the details in the drawing will be varied. Take a look at my Royal Pooches. This lesson demonstrates how Kinders can do the same lessons as third graders.
Day 3 – Is it appropriate to teach them perspective at this stage and given their age? Does optical illusion go with this? You would be better off not to. Younger grades would find it challenging. There are so many other projects that you could do that are better suited for a one-time art class. Instead I would pick a paper-focused lesson like some from African Art or Fun with Paper. Remember, each lesson that I suggest includes multiple skills and techniques.
Day 4 – Would they be ready for color and value now? Yup. But be careful. You won’t get the same results with seven year olds as you would with older kids. I recently did a value lesson with kinders and with a little adjustment, older kids could embellish the very same projects.
Day 5 – Painting techniques with watercolor I would put a watercolor lesson on day two. Watercolors are easy and fun to do. I have dozens of great watercolor lessons that you could pick from. Every grade level has a good selection. Take a look at my selection of watercolor projects.
Day 6 – Painting techniques with oil. Another very easy medium to work with. The trick here is to pick a subject that can be scaled down for the younger children. My Van Gogh Flowers are a perfect choice. I love doing this lesson with oil pastels. You could also do your portrait lesson here and use oil pastels as the coloring medium. You could teach a scaled portrait lessons and everyone use oil pastel. My Fun with Portraits booklet is perfect for this.
Day 7 – Portraiture? Yes. See Day 6. Portraits in oil pastel might take longer than 90 minutes to teach and complete. You could also use part of this day to catch up on any projects that you didn’t complete. It’s important to factor this in. You don’t want any of your lessons to be too hard that the children don’t finish any of the projects.
Can anyone else make suggestions for janice? What considerations do you put into place when creating and planning your art curriculum?
And while we are talking about curriculums, I am in the process of working on an eCourse that will give you an art curriculum and will teach you all the techniques that go along with it! It’s going to a fabulous course and I’m over-the-moon about it. I will have two course dates; one in late June/early July and the other session will be in September. More detail to come!!!!