Thursday, August 13, 2009

Open-Ended Workbox Art Idea

When old age shall this generation waste,
Thou shalt remain, in midst of other woe
Than ours, a friend to man, to whom thou say'st,
"Beauty is truth, truth beauty," - that is all
Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.

An "extra?" A "recipe?" Not in my world. Art should be expressive and personal but not optional or stilted. I dislike some of the popular "cake mix" art instruction curriculum, and my daughter despises them. Art is not an "extra," it is part of our core curriculum, and so I am always looking for ways to incorporate it in a hands-on way. Hands-on art is different from picture study, which is described in detail HERE.

To require or inspire? I have also found that the best assignments are ones that my daughter comes up with herself. While letting her take the lead in some ways, it is also important for her to be exposed to a myriad of types of art from various time periods. How can she know whether she enjoys something if she has never been exposed to it? I want to spread a
bounty of beauty before her, while still allowing her to be free to accept or reject those works according to personal taste. The question is, "How?" For more on the "How?" questions, go HERE.

"Design an Art Lesson" Workbox

Here is one simple idea for an open-ended art assignment for children aged 11-12+ using those art prints, cards, or art games you have laying around.

*For youngers, I would simply do a picture study, and get them used to imitation and narration of favorite works first. Open-ended assignments may frustrate a younger child who is still in the concrete grammar stage
. One idea is to put a picture in the box with a task card like, "Tell me the story of this picture," "Play the game with Mom or a sibling for 30 minutes," or "Recreate this painting in pencil, paint, or clay."

1) Put Art cards, art prints/calendar prints, or art games in the box. I happened to have this art card game called "Close Up" that I picked up at the National Gallery. I have tons of these laying around, but if you don't, check out the art postcards from Dover. Assuming they have a strong background in art, encourage them to THINK! to come up with an art lesson. For example, the lesson could emphasize art history, an artist, an element of art, a school of painting or feature a creative recreation that puts their own "spin" on the work. Let them Think! and even wrestle with this if they are aged 12 or so and up!

2) Add a task card: This is the trick: write an open-ended card for an older child, or concrete one for a younger. (Make sure you have a variety of quality art paper, art pens, paint, brushes, and pencils on hand!) Here is the Task Card I made for my rising 7th grader.

That is it!
This is such a simple idea that I blushingly hesitate to even post it, but simplicity and unfussiness are a great thing.

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