Lesson Plan Submitted by: Holly Maxwell
Summer art teacher at a community college. Grades: K - 5th grades
I teach art at our community college each summer to 3 ages of children. Children going into K, 1st grade, children going into 2nd and 3rd grade and children going into 4th and 5th grades. I usually keep the same theme for all levels with changes in some projects and difficulty levels. I teach for 3 weeks and the theme changes each week.
The most successful unit I ever did was one I called "Art Of The Masters". Each day we studied a different famous artist. I tried to involve the children in the history, style and life of the artist. We studied Michelangelo and I showed the Sistine Chapel and explained how he painted on a scaffold for 5 years. Their project was to tape their paper under the desk and draw a crayon angel while lying on their backs. (Note: Michelangelo did not paint flat on his back. He designed his scaffold and painted standing up with his head turned upward.) This really made an impression on them. I chose artists with very distinctive styles. We did torn paper drawings like Matisse. We attempted Cubist Collage with chalk and colored paper. Each day I showed them works of the selected artists and told them something about the artists childhood. This seems to reach them and help them to really recall who is who. Doing the work in a style and material similar to the artist also helps really connect with the artist.
My point in this is that many lessons for older children can be pared down for the younger children. I also like the idea of teaching them basics like in the "snips" lesson. Many of the children that I taught couldn't do simple things like squeeze glue and cut with scissors. Being very animated and almost silly and keeping things concise is also helpful with the smaller children. Often I'd read a book about our subject (space travel and the planets is a really good subject also) and do a short project followed by some moving around or singing a song, them another short art activity. Keep them busy and don't let them get bored. Keep things moving fast.