5 Classroom Management Truths Every Middle School Art Teacher Should Know

Stepping into a new role as a middle school teacher is a unique experience. If you’ve ever told someone you teach middle school, their response is probably similar to, “You are a saint,” or, “It takes a special kind of person to do that.” It most certainly does! Part of the reason might even be the fact that you never left your young adolescent self behind (or maybe that’s just me).

But just because you are meant to teach middle school does not mean there aren’t challenges.

Here are 5 classroom management truths that will make your job a lot easier.

students' hands

1. It Takes Time

If you are a teacher entering into a new role, it is going to take time for your students to trust you. There will be an adjustment period, especially for those students who may have had a strong relationship with your predecessor. Your students will be used to the routines put in place before you, so you have to give them time to adjust to your teaching style. This adjustment period will probably take longer than you expect, so don’t feel defeated if it does. Try not to take it personally. I guarantee you it will be harder before it gets easier, but it will get better.

2. It’s Okay Not to Make Art

A strong relationship is a vital ingredient to a successful middle school art room. Sure, your art curriculum is important, but if you don’t work on building those positive relationships first, there won’t be any student buy in.

Have you ever been in one of your classes when, all of a sudden, it transforms into a storytelling session? The stories might not even be related to the art lesson, but the entire class is engrossed in the conversation. You might laugh together so hard you cry. Or, students might go around the room just talking about their lives while learning about your experiences. All of a sudden the bell rings and little artmaking occurred. That’s okay!

Sometimes we get so wrapped up in the fear of falling behind on an art lesson we forget about the experiences we are trying to provide our students. By having moments like this in your classroom, your students will be eager to come to your class to not only make art but also to spend time in the classroom community you’ve created.

3. Giving Students Some Control is Important

Middle school students need a way to feel like they have choice and control. One of the simplest ways to do this is by letting them choose their seats. At the beginning of the year, you might assign seats for the sake of learning your students’ names. But, as the year goes on, does it matter if a student moves over to another table to work? If a student sits by a friend while still being productive, a better classroom experience can occur.

Still, be sure to communicate your expectations, as well as what consequences will occur once those expectations aren’t being met.

student-painted stools

4. You Must Meet Students Where They Are

One unique feature of a middle school is that your students often are coming together from many different elementary schools. This means they enter your art room with varying levels of knowledge and skills.

Such a wide range of background knowledge and abilities can make teaching difficult. Therefore, it’s essential to differentiate learning for both your low-level and high-level students.

If you want to create an optimal environment for your students and foster a love for art, meet them where they are. For example, if you’re working on a grid drawing with your students and you know a student struggles with math, make adjustments to help the student find success.

middle school artwork

5. The Art Making Process is NOT About You

When students get to middle school, they are constantly flowing and changing. They’re trying to discover who they are. For many students, this transitional time can be tough. The art room is the perfect place to let students express themselves and communicate how they feel.

It is important for art teachers not to stifle students’ ideas. Although it is essential to teach our students specific art techniques and skills, delivering art instruction in a way where all of your 8th-grade students’ paintings look identical is cringeworthy. Students crave creative expression. They might not know how to communicate their ideas yet fully, but they need some level of supportive independence. That is our role as the teacher, not to tell our students what to do, but to help them find their voice through the artmaking experience.

This idea is something that Johanna talks about in the Managing Middle Schoolers PRO Learning Pack. Be sure to check it out for even more ways to better connect with your students, set clear expectations, and maintain a classroom that is fair and consistent.

The role of a middle school teacher forces us to think in unconventional ways. At times, the rules must be broken, and everything we have learned and knew about teaching might go out the door, and that’s okay. It’s important to embrace the chaos at times, but with the right management techniques the calm will settle in.

What is your best classroom management tip when working with middle school students?

What is your favorite part about teaching middle school art?

The post 5 Classroom Management Truths Every Middle School Art Teacher Should Know appeared first on The Art of Ed.

Original source: https://www.theartofed.com/2018/11/05/5-classroom-management-tips-every-middle-school-art-teacher-should-know/

Nicola Alessandrini’s Unsettling Graphite Drawings

Using just a pencil and paper, Nicola Alessandrini crafts striking, surreal imagery that explore the subconscious. The Italy-born artist creates scenes in which intimate figures are unraveled, producing strange growths and stripped of their normal defenses. Gender and sexuality also often play a role in Alessandrini’s works, as well as totems from childhood.

Original source: http://hifructose.com/2018/11/03/nicola-alessandrinis-unsettling-graphite-drawings/

Brooklyn: Botanical Drawing Workshop at The Hoxton Will…

Leading up to this edition of The Other Art Fair Brooklyn (Nov. 8-11, Brooklyn Expo Center), we are excited to be announce a Botanical Drawing workshop at our partner The Hoxton in Williamsburg with Adriana Picker. The floral drawing workshop, led by Picker, will feature lush subjects courtesy of Sachi Rose Pollard. There will also be floral-inspired cocktails from The Cocktail Garden: Botanical Cocktails For Every Season, illustrated by Picker!

Adriana Picker is an artist and illustrator with a lifelong passion for botanical illustration, and for the real thing – flowers and plants. Adriana was born in Australia where her love and connection to the natural world began and has lived in the mountains, by the coast, in the countryside, and in the city, but always manages to find flowers anywhere she goes.

Book your spot in the workshop today! All materials and two cocktails per person included in the $35 price. And be sure to check out other events at The Hoxton in Williamsburg. Adriana will also be in residence at the fair on Friday evening from 4-9pm, illustrating for guests a 1-minute botanical sketch. Drawing upon her lifelong passion for botanicals, Adriana will be illustrating from memory, botanical references and taking inspiration from the guests themselves!

 

Original source: https://canvas.saatchiart.com/art/art-news/brooklyn-botanical-drawing-workshop-at-the-hoxton-williamsburg-with-adriana-picker

How to Transform a Basic Drawing Exercise into an Exciting Lesson

We all know the one thing we lack as art educators is time! There is never enough of it. So, each year I search for new lessons that will quickly teach my students a multitude of techniques. One of my favorite lessons of this kind starts with the well-known book Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain. In it, author Betty Edwards outlines an activity that has the reader recreate Picasso’s Portrait of Igor Stravinsky…upside-down!

student artwork

The Benefits of Drawing Upside-Down

According to Edwards, drawing upside-down helps students practice recognizing shapes and lines in a subject. By turning their reference photo upside-down, they can begin to draw with the right side of their brains. They don’t have to worry as much about the final product, and can focus more on the actual drawing process.

According to the book, this is because the left side of the brain processes visual cues, interpreting them as familiar patterns and symbols. By turning the reference photo around, it becomes unrecognizable. The right side of the brain is forced to see the lines, shapes, and abstracted details instead of the object as a whole.

It’s a fascinating concept, and one I use early on with my drawing students. I have found it to be a wonderful tool to aid them in drawing portraits as well.

I used to teach this lesson to my students as a one-day study. But then I began to think about the ways we could enhance this quick teaching activity and ended up turning it into a full week-long lesson complete with three learning objectives! Best of all? This lesson works with almost any grade level.

Here are the steps you can use to introduce the lesson to your students.

student artwork

1. Do a Quick Blind Contour Study

Give each student a copy of Picasso’s Portrait of Igor Stravinsky and a piece of 12” x 18” drawing paper. Have them turn the Picasso portrait upside-down. Then, have students do a quick blind contour study on their drawing paper using graphite. This warm-up activity gets them used to working upside-down and seeing the lines and the shapes in the work.

2. Do a Second Contour Study

Have students turn their drawing paper over and do another study. This time, have them do an upside-down contour study slowly. Remind them to really look at the lines they are drawing. Have them measure each feature, paying attention to the proportions. This activity can be frustrating, so remind students it’s about learning to see, which is often one of the most difficult things to do in art. However, it’s also the key to being a successful technical artist.

3. Experiment with Line Quality

The next objective is to teach students the importance of line quality. Have students take drawing pens and begin to go over their pencil lines. They can choose if they want to trace their blind contour or their regular contour study. Encourage students to add thick and thin lines until they create an interesting composition.

Line quality is often an important, yet overlooked art concept, so I allow students to spend some time on this and really experiment with the art of line. I also ask them to get creative and do something interesting in the negative space to enhance their work.

student artwork

4. Add Color

The final learning objective is to bring in color theory. Review primary and secondary colors, neutrals, complements, analogous and monochromatic schemes, along with tints and shades and any other concepts you like. If it has to do with color, review and discuss!

Then have students experiment with dry media such as markers, Art Stix, crayons, and oil pastels. Remind them this part is about finding textures that work well together and create an interesting contrast. Have students select a color scheme they enjoy, and add in their colors using the various mediums. The results are always outstanding!

5. Present Finished Work

Finally, have students mat and sign their work. I like to hold a critique and hang their work in the hallway as a class display. I still remember the first year I took this simple study and moved it to a full-blown art lesson. I almost cried happy tears to see the final exhibit. The creativity, the learning, and the art was a true testament to what a good, solid art lesson can ultimately teach our kids. Not to mention how successful my students felt about their work!

I have found the more learning objectives I can tie into each lesson, the more my students discover through the process. This is a tried-and-true lesson that always garners successful final masterpieces.

I love taking a traditional teaching tool and turning it into a successful lesson. If you’re interested in adding engaging drawing lessons that build skills to your curriculum, don’t miss the AOE Course Studio: Drawing. You’ll gain a fresh perspective and the inspiration to redesign and scaffold your drawing curriculum.

Have you considered using Betty Edward’s book to springboard new lesson ideas?

What lessons do you teach that help your students better understand contour lines?

The post How to Transform a Basic Drawing Exercise into an Exciting Lesson appeared first on The Art of Ed.

Original source: https://www.theartofed.com/2018/10/25/how-to-transform-a-basic-drawing-exercise-into-an-exciting-lesson/

Hyperrealistic Drawings by Arinze Stanley Capture Surreal Moments and Powerful Emotions

Black Noise, 2018. Arinze Stanley

Self-taught Nigerian artist Arinze Stanley (previously) is a wizard when it comes to putting charcoal and graphite to paper. The artist creates hyperrealistic portraits at a scale just larger than life, spending hundreds of hours detailing his subjects’ skin, hair, and sweat so that the works are nearly indistinguishable from black and white photographs. The artist recently opened a solo exhibition of new drawings at Jonathan LeVine Projects in New Jersey titled Mirrors, which seeks to pull viewers in so that they can connect with and see themselves in the subjects.

From new takes on familiar works like in Negro Mona Lisa (below), to drawings with more surreal elements like Black Noise (above), the emotion that Stanley is able to depict in the faces and gestures is compelling even from a distance. Getting up close to one of his pieces adds to its weight, as the viewer’s brain tries to reconcile the amount of labor that went into each work.

In an artist statement on his website, Stanley explains that his art is “born out of the zeal for perfection both in skill, expression and devotion to create positive changes in the world.” In a press release for his current exhibition he tells Jonathan LeVine Projects that the process of drawing is “like energy transfer,” and that by transferring his energy through graphite, each blank piece of paper becomes art. Mirrors is on view through November 11 at the gallery’s space at Mana Contemporary in Jersey City, New Jersey. You can see more of his portraits on Instagram.

Negro Mona Lisa, 2018. Arinze Stanley

Faustina, 2018. Arinze Stanley

A Lady in Black, 2017. Arinze Stanley

Losing Dream, 2017. Arinze Stanley

Mindless, 2018. Arinze Stanley

Mirror 000, 2018. Arinze Stanley

Painful Conversations, 2018. Arinze Stanley

Original source: https://www.thisiscolossal.com/2018/10/new-hyperrealistic-drawings-by-arinze-stanley/