Thursday, December 1, 2011

The Most Despised Art Lesson in the World!

     I love this lesson.  Don't get me wrong.  It's not me.  It's them, my students.  You see, my students are absolute perfectionists when it comes to their art work.  If it doesn't come out looking exactly like mine, many will give up, throw it away or keep starting over till we run out of time.  I try to explain that sometimes happy accidents yield better work.  It doesn't need to be perfect as long as they try their best.
     I found this lesson several years ago and have used it to combat this mentality.  The kids start out curious, grow wary and then look at the final product in horror.  It's called a Unique Drawing Experience.  The kids sit in a big circle.  They each have a sheet of drawing paper and a pencil.  I have them draw a simple thing like a line from one side of the paper to the other, or a zig zag line from the top to the bottom.  Then they pass their paper to the person to their right.  That person then draws a shape like a square, circle, triangle, etc, whatever I think of at the time.  Sometimes I make it up and sometimes I have a list premade.  This goes on until the paper gets back to its original owner.  I then tell them I'm not grading them on how well the design looks but on how well they color it.  I immediately get cries of anger because so and so messed up their paper, or this person drew an ugly shape or line and ruined it.  They had no control over the creation of the design, just it's coloring.
     I have gotten the most beautiful original looking creations from this project, but the students almost all hate it.
   
     Am I really an evil teacher that delights in the torture of my students?  Is it worth all the grumbling to get through it?  Yes, in the end I believe so...and yes, I probably am evil.  They turn out looking fantastic.  I wish I had one to show.  I'm going to do this project again when we come back from Christmas break and will show some then.

14 comments:

  1. I think the most evil art assignment is tessellations. Hell, I didn't even have to do one for art. I did it for math. Let's not even talk about how well that went...

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  2. I think it's a brilliant idea for a lesson. It will teach students they sometimes have to work together and compromise with others, and not always get their way.

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  3. Sounds like a great idea, but I'm sure you enjoy being evil just a tad..hahaha

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  4. sounds like an interesting idea

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  5. That's a great lesson to remind all us artists to not take ourselves too seriously and to rely on the element of chance more. We cannot always be in control of everything and that's OK.

    Sometimes it's good to remember to just be zen and go with the flow. Following the path of least resistance allows us to reserve our energy for the creative part of a project, thus allowing us to express ourselves more freely and completely.

    I was ever so grateful to leave my childhood years behind me and let go of a lot of those inhibitions. I wish I had had an art teacher like you, I might have been a better artist. Nice work, Otter!
    :)

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  6. I must agree, sweet tea or iced tea, as we call it, is AWESOME!!! I love raspberry flavoured iced tea!

    When I was little, my mother would make iced rooibos tea with honey and fresh lemon slices. Far too healthy in my opiion, give me caffeine and sugar, baby! Yeah! :)

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  7. GREAT post, and I can't wait to see a picture after the Christmas break. What a wonderful idea for a lesson! I myself love art, loved it in college mostly.

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  8. Do the students end up liking the final product?

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  9. one time I took a horrible picture of myself, but instead of deleting it, I just made it black and white, added to much gamma filtering and put it on facebook.

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  10. Missed Periods-No, not really. I think they look good though, and that's what matters, lol.

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  11. they look up to you as their role model :p
    its a great lesson. they may reflect on it and think its great when they're a little older i suppose.

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  12. You are an evil otter indeed. Making these kids learn, why it's unheard of. Just kidding, I think it's a great idea. Sometimes you have to find a way to take something you're not altogether satisfied with and make it work. Please do put up the pics after Christmas.

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