Friday, 23 September 2016

Directed Drawing

Teaching art....those words put fear in the hearts of many an educator. When I first began teaching Art, I will admit I really didn't know what I was doing. We may have done a lot of *gasp* CRAFTS instead of Art. There are so many books, teaching resources, internet articles and professional development sessions for Math and Language Arts, and the Arts seem to be put at the bottom of the list. After working on Math and Language Arts for a few years, I decided there was a big gap in my Art instruction and chose to focus on this area.

One of the biggest influences I found for my instruction was Gail from That Artist Woman. After looking at her step by step pictures, I found I could not only make some beautiful art, but actually TEACH kids how to make art that they could be proud of, that was their own and not something I had  photocopied to colour or cut and paste. I learned how important teacher guidance is, and from this I discovered DIRECTED DRAWING!!

Of course, this is not my entire Art instruction, I do many different techniques, but once I started doing this my kids were HOOKED! After a directed drawing lesson, one of my students said, "I didn't think I could do art, but look at what I made!!!" He was just so proud, and I chalk it all up to directed drawing.

So, what does this look like in the classroom? Here is a rundown of the different ways that I use it with my first graders.

This is the obvious one, but it has helped so much. I usually take a couple of Art classes a month to focus on this. I pick a thematic image, give the students some drawing paper, and go through each step to draw the image carefully on my whiteboard, as the students follow along.

After drawing the image there is so much that can be done to branch out this project. We can use different mediums to colour the picture, make a creative background for our image or use it to decorate the classroom. I also find once we do this in art class, during free centers or drawing time my kids will try OVER and OVER to recreate the picture we worked on in Directed Drawing class. They feel successful and proud when they can create the image on their own.

"I don't have time to do this!"
I hear you. There is never enough time in the day for these things; however, I found that I can use directed drawing in other subject areas! In Language Arts, after we draw our picture together I have students write about the image, and they love it. I find they are so much more engaged when they have something to write about and they can visually look at the image and describe it.

Very pretty, but not quite what the seed looks like! 
 In Science we talk about drawing things from our imagination versus OBSERVATIONAL drawing. Let me tell you, this is difficult. You would not believe how many flowers I get in pictures (in our Needs of Plants and Animals unit) that are observations of their growing seeds, and there is not a flower to be found in real life!!! So I help the students by doing a directed draw together of what they SEE in front of them, and it works wonders.

Y'all know how I love centers and games in my classroom and directed drawing is a great little game to play when practicing other skills. In math, I write addition facts on the back of directed draw pictures and students find the cards that have the same sum, and then draw their picture. So much fun!

 Do you want to try directed drawing in your class and need some inspiration? I have Directed Drawing clip art of all different animals to help you to teach your students to draw!