Noilly Prattle: Call Me Mr. B. – Seven

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Call Me Mr. B. – Seven

Grade 3

Drawing with Mr. B

     One of the biggest phobias many kids have about Art classes is what I call “the I-can't-draw syndrome”. Some children seem to have a natural ability to express themselves confidently with drawing, while many others, perhaps overly critical of their own drawings compared with more gifted students, soon take a defeated attitude toward Art. To combat this “disease” I started doing let's-draw-together lessons wherein I introduced some basic concepts of shapes and lines as being the basis of all drawing and using them in the cartoon like drawings children tend to relate to.

step by step whiteboard drawing
        The technique I used was to introduce the shapes on the whiteboard in English: circle, oval, straight line, curved line, etc. for a simple drawing of a Panda. Then I would draw on the whiteboard as I instructed the students using simple English commands [TPR-total physical response ESL method] such as: “Draw a dotted line up and down here!”; "Draw a dotted line across here!” (to establish a center point and divide the paper into quadrants [red dotted line]). “Draw an BIG oval here!” as I drew it on the whiteboard [see left], and they would try to imitate the shape, size and position on their drawing papers using the dotted guidelines.

finished picture
        I would then go around and check and correct the students' drawings as necessary. I would then continue issuing commands as I drew them on the whiteboard without further checking by me: “Draw a small circle here!”; “Draw a curved line here!”, “Erase this line here!”, etc., until the drawing was finished. The students would then outline the pencil sketch cartoon black-line style with a black felt tip marker and color the picture with crayons.

         The results were, of course, varied. But it gave most of the kids more confidence than they had before and a pretty decent number of the drawings were really quite good. In other words, many of them were pretty close to mine on the whiteboard. Since I was the teacher and not a competitive peer, they would be quite proud to have it look even a little bit like the “sensei's” picture. This type of lesson was more of a how-to confidence building one rather than an express your own creativity one. When a kid is blocked by an "I-can't-do-it" attitude, you aren't going to get much creativity. 

To be continued...

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