Teaching art to kids
Hey guys, bit of a different question for today. On Thursday I'll be teaching a group of 11 year old girl scouts a class to help them earn their Drawing Badge. I have an hour to touch on a few different principles, namely Value, Perspective, and using different Media. Things I don't cover during the hour can be assigned as homework. Do you guys have any ideas of how to explain these principles in a meaningful way that is still age appropriate? I don't want to dumb it down too much, but I also don't want it to go way over their heads. Anyone have experience teaching art to this age group?
I have a little bit of experience (spent a few weeks teaching some kids ranging in age from 8 to 12). I would say that you should probably gear it toward hitting on one concept. An hour really isn't that long (unless it is going to be straight lecture and no hands-on work).
Is there a particular reason for those (3) topics? They don't seem to be that related. In other words, if you were going to talk about value it seems like you could also talk about form and...maybe color--although color would be a really large topic in and of itself.
Or maybe form, perspective, value?
Or maybe do an hour on different media--lot of interesting things you could do there.
Just some suggestions.
I did not choose the topics, they are what are required for them to get the badge. Its kind of frustrating, because I feel like the badge requirements were written by someone who maybe took an art class once, but doesn't actually know much about art, let alone how to teach it or what the actual core principles are.
I talked to my friend who is in charge of their group, and she said its fine with her if I teach the principles the way I think best rather than actually following the directions given for the badge requirements--thank goodness. Rather than teaching value, the actual requirement is to teach "shading". Kids can get the idea of value! It can be taught simply in a way they can understand.
A particular pet peeve of mine is having young kids try all different kinds of media. Ok, sure, maybe young kids, but I think 10+ they're ready to really start understanding how to draw well. When you keep throwing new media at them, all they really learn is the basics of how to handle a new medium rather than real artistic principles! And once they get a handle on one medium then they just throw a new one at them, and again they don't get a whole lot of real art knowledge from it--maybe a bit, but not as much as if you actually took the time to teach them something. I know they're kids, but kids aren't stupid, and they can get the basics.
A particular pet peeve of mine is having young kids try all different kinds of media. Ok, sure, maybe young kids, but I think 10+ they're ready to really start understanding how to draw well. When you keep throwing new media at them, all they really learn is the basics of how to handle a new medium rather than real artistic principles! And once they get a handle on one medium then they just throw a new one at them, and again they don't get a whole lot of really art knowledge from it--maybe a bit, but not as much as if you actually took the time to teach them something. I know they're kids, but kids aren't stupid, and they can get the basics.
My kids are now 9 and 10 and for a 1 hour presentation the badge requirements seem a bit daunting. In order to cover that many areas you would have to lecture the kids and in the process lose them within 5 minutes. From working with my kids, they want to draw things that interest them. We have a book of cute animals that we draw together from time to time. Kids at this age want to copy the outline of what they see so what I work on with my kids is finding the basic shapes to construct more intricate drawings. I teach them that is not cheating if you have to measure the original drawing and that their initial drawing is not the final piece. I show them work of professionals in the early stages and compare it to the final work. Most kids think that the final images are just arrived at through magic or a talent they don't possess. They must be taught the process. I have seen the most growth with my own kids in showing them the process. We sketch a rough draft and get that right and sometimes trace or transfer that rough to get a piece they can work on a clean line drawing.
My daughter loves showing off her drawing skills to her friends now that she knows the process.
I think I have an outline for what I'm going to teach...we'll see what happens. I'm not going to go in depth to lecture on any of the topics, just a really quick "this is what this means and why this is important, now lets try it in a drawing" set up. I'm going to plan more than enough stuff to fill the time, and if it takes them longer on the first drawing then the later topics will just have to be homework. Part of the reason I want to try and cover the topics myself is simply that they are explained so poorly in the badge requirements, I'm kind of hoping to get my two cents in so they actually have some good information.