Posted by: keepingthemistakes | January 22, 2010

Art and learning to think and feel

Have I said anything before about rituals in the art room?  In my searching for information on teaching art last summer, I found a wonderful webpage by an art professor (retired, I think) in Indiana.  He talked about opening and closing rituals in the art room.  I decided to try an opening ritual, and have something different on the tables each week for students to come in quietly and draw, for about 5 minutes.  There were a few guidelines:  No erasing, pencil only, one piece of paper.  If they finished drawing it before the time was up, they were to draw it again. . . and again . . . and again, if necessary.  I encouraged them to work quietly and to really look at the object they were drawing.  By the end of the first 9 weeks, there was a marked improvement.  Even the kids noticed it.  I read them my new favorite book “ish”  (his book “the dot” is also a really good book) and repeated over and over that what they were drawing didn’t have to look exactly like the object, it would look _____ish (scissorsISH, glue bottleISH, etc.).  It’s an awesome book!

Anyway, back to rituals.   It has been a really good way to start our art class, although I have slacked off on doing it since our winter break.  Writing this post reminds me how important it is, and I will re-institute it next week.  I will also add some photos to this post this weekend or early next week,  because I want to show you some of the drawings and how they’ve improved.  

I’ve also been teaching some of my classes gesture/figure drawing and one-point perspective.  It’s so exciting to see them learning and having success with art concepts!!! 

I also made a little boy cry this week, and I felt terrible about that.  I lost my voice Monday night, and as it has slowly returned, I think my hoarse voice sounds harsher that I mean it to.  He hadn’t followed directions, and I was trying to explain to him what it was I was asking them to do, and he started to cry.  Maybe he’d had a bad day, who knows.  But it got better before class ended, so that was good.  Some other little ones said to me, very sweetly, “Mrs. Burns, I hope you find your voice.”  🙂


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