Working with the older kids in Grades 5-6 provides an entirely different set of circumstances to manage.
The classes work on a rotational system, meaning that I'd design 2 x 3 hour classes, one primarily on drawing and design and one on construction. The sessions would be repeated four times (for 4 different groups - 1 each week for a month). So over an eight week period, the first 4 weeks would be drawing and the second 4, construction.
SESSION 1: Drawing
Increased concentration time and a longer session meant that we were able to stretch out the exercises and go deeper with each one.
We started on the floor with large spiral drawings to loosen up and develop an awareness of the body in drawing. Then up to the tables for some experiments with making lines and pictures. Still life of simple shapes using sketchy lines to build the image on the page, then shading the whole page with charcoal and drawing with the eraser, using the same subject matter - a continuous line drawing followed by repeating that drawing, this time shading shadow and highlights, then onto continuous line drawing of a complex shape with pencil and blind contour drawing of their shoe.
I had more exercises planned but we ran out of time, so moved quickly on to a discussion of Hundertwasser and his theories of 3 skins and creative expression.
After explaining the construction element of the project, we had the students identify 5 adjectives to describe themselves that they wanted to include in their cubby design, then design a cubby that (with strict design parameters) they would build in the next session. MUCH EXCITEMENT!
Evaluating the session, I felt that we spent too long on drawing and not enough on design. I had planned to create marquettes during the lesson but re setting up the classroom for construction within the time frame of the class was impractical.
I decided to be more fixed with the timing of the lesson plan spending the first hour on an introduction, warm ups and drawing exercises, the second on drawing extension and the third on history, context and design.
Still, after discussion with Pea, we decided that achieving the goal of a finalised construction within the constraints of the time and space available, was unlikely. Our solution was to minimize the scale of the outcomes. So rather than each pair or trio complete a single cubby, we would have each pair complete a design element/module that would be then installed on the land at a single event. More of a performance/ community art installation where participation in the construction would be driven by attendance on the day.
In response to the running of the first session - I decided to also scale back the number of warm up exercises, eliminating areas I felt we were repeating skills and focus instead on consolidating. So - the session went more like
2. Observational still life (bold sketchy line)
3. Shaded page drawing with eraser
4. Continuous line still life with shadow
5. Observational Continuous line complex shape
6. Blind contour
7. Simultaneous double handed observational drawing
The last 2 exercises were met with limited success, perhaps a little too challenging for some of the students who at that point disengaged from the class and it was a struggle to bring them back for the rest of the lesson.
Engaging students with skill sets at varying levels has become my focus - particularly for the upcoming construction session. My plan is to communicate more clearly the parameters of the project using visual prompts - projected written guidelines and images. To break down process into simple steps that the kids can follow if they need.
Some drawing and design results ....
And so, onto week three...
Community Art Projects in Balnarring and beyond