Monday, August 30, 2010

Create your own Art Lessons the SPARKLE way!

Developing art lessons can be an overwhelming thought. Sure, you can use old stand-bys, fellow blogger lessons or source a few from art books. It's what I've done and still do. But if you're wondering how to go about creating your own art projects, I've got something that can help guide you along.
I call it my SPARKLE method. This past year I vowed to use only original lessons. I almost succeeded. 90% of the lessons I taught were self-developed. Time-consuming, yes, but it was also what kept me motivated and excited to teach class after class, day after day. It goes like this:
The SPARKLE Method of Lesson Development

K-Kid Appeal
E-Elements of Art

Up first: Sourcing and Products!

SOURCING:I begin most lesson ideas with a picture, an image or an idea. It has to come from somewhere, right? Like most artists, I'm a visual person. A magazine clipping, a greeting card, and a piece of wrapping paper are recent inspirations.
If you prefer less random sources of inspirations, there is no better place than your local library. Children's book illustrators are my mentors. Non-fiction titles have just as much
to show as fiction, so don't limit yourself.
Recently, I created a Native American unit from just two non-fiction titles.
What I look for: I'll get into this more later, but the illustrations have to be understandable. By that I mean, clear. No wishy-washy paints or digital images. Illustrators that have translated best have pictures that look as though a child could have created it. Eric Carle, Kevin Henkes & Lois Ehlert are terrific examples.
The top photo is from the book "Wow! America". I loved the lines and colors and knew I could create a graphic art lesson from this illustration. The bottom photo is my interpretation of the illustrators work.

PRODUCTS: I'll admit it, occasionally a product will inspire an entire lesson. Sometimes, however, it won't. So go ahead and order that fancy new product in the art catalog, but be wary. The best lessons use the most basic materials.

My must-have list includes:
  • Tempera and watercolor paints (preferably liquid watercolor...really. Go buy them now!)
  • Oil pastels (extra black and white)
  • Black waterproof markers
  • A good set of brushes in different sizes (buy the best you can afford and take care of them well. They will last a very long time.)
  • Chalk Pastels
  • White Drawing Paper (Sulphite paper)
  • Basic art supplies such as white school glue, scissors, pencils and erasers
  • Broad-tip colored markers. (I use Crayola)
  • Free stuff like newspaper, plastic containers, egg cartons, box board, yarn, fabric scraps, buttons, magazines, etc.
If you have the stuff I listed, you're in excellent shape for a bevvy of stellar lessons.

Now for the fun stuff....
  • Metallic tempera paint (I LOVE this stuff. It has inspired many a lesson.)
  • Mod-Podge (Expensive, but just one gallon lasts two years for me. I use it for collage pieces, concoct fancy paint mixtures and just sticking stuff down.)
  • Metallic Oil Pastels (a must for any Egyptian art lessons but it adds such a cool embellishment to just about any painting project)
  • Glittery Anything! (Glitter, sequins, glitter it all!)
The last stuff isn't necessary. In fact, I bet there are many of you who wouldn't touch the stuff. I bow down to you. You are the art purists! I'm like a chef who loves all the new gadgets. One pretty piece of tissue paper can have me dreaming of art ideas for weeks! Whatever motivates you, use it. It doesn't have to be what other art teachers use. You are the art teacher. It's your job to use whatever materials you have to inspire your flock of little artists.
Tomorrow...Assessment and Research!


Karen said...

I think you should write a book to share all your wonderful ideas and lessons. I am sure it would be a best seller! Love the SPARKLE method so far! Have a great year of creating!

Anonymous said...

you are very inspirational!

love the sparkle method!

I use a lot of manilla file folders as cardstock and my students love silver sharpies!

alecat said...

I've only just now come across your blog for the first time. What can I say? .... WOW!
Thank you so much for this fabulous resource. I really am looking forward to going through your posts for much inspiration. :)

Catherine (aka alecat, Australia)

Patty Palmer said...

Thanks so much, Alecat!

Mrs. Kim said...

What brand metallic oil pastels do you use and where do you purchase them? Never thought to give them a try before!

Patty Palmer said...

Hi Mrs. Kim,
I don't have a specific brand, I just buy the cheapest! I usually buy form Nasco or Saxs.

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