Middle School - 5 weeks of Art?
- I am about to enter my first year teaching at the middle school level.
We will have 6th, 7th and 8th grade in our arts focused school in
Harlem, ie: arts magnet school. This is the school's second year so we
will only have 6th and 7th grade with about 80 students in each grade.
The 6th graders will get an opportunity to try out the 4 different art
majors, Visual Art, Vocal, Instrumental and Dance. They will then
choose their focus for the rest of their 6th, 7th and 8th grade years.
I will have about 4 rounds of about twenty 6th graders in my class for
5 weeks, 4 days a week. At the end of each round we have a big school
wide event wherein the students present and display what they have
learned. At the end of the 20+ weeks, after every 6th grader has tried
the 4 different art majors, they will interview for and decide their
major. There will be about 20 Visual Art students that stay with me 4
days a week until they move onto high school.
I have been thinking a lot about what the 6th graders should explore
during their approximately 12-16 studio days. Ultimately, I think I
will have them work with the 7 elements of art. I am struggling with
how long each project should last, how to incorporate historical and
cultural aspects of art and how much homework to give. I know that for
some of these students, this will be their last experiences with art
making. 5 weeks feels much too short. I would love to hear your
thoughts and suggestions!
- Angela,First off you need to know what they know. Even though they maybe coming to the Ars Magnet School does not mean they have the skill knowledge even though they may have the passion. Some of your students might be 2D some might be 3D style artist. In sixth grade in my opinion they are still exploring they type of Visual Art they will be attracted to. I think five weeks to decide what their focus will be for three years is a bit much. You could structure the class to have them experience different levels of "creative thinking". I would encourage you to look at the Art Habits of Mind as a source of direction for your curriculum. Using the Elements of Design with the time frame you have might work better if you also incorporate the exploration of Cultural Art Forms. Students can see how the elements are a universal formula to making art. Look around at the students you have in your classes and use their Cultural backgrounds as the building blocks to what cultures you decide to review. You could have them create works that relate to a specific cultures technique or process and explain the work in the context of the Elements of Design. Students could create a work of art that is specific to their "personal" culture either socially or globally. The art needs to be a reflection of how they view the culture, a personal analysis of what they "think".Middle School students are capable of doing this.jeff (minnesota)