While there is no teacher's manual, the books are easily adapted to a classroom or group setting. Here's how I use the Grades 4-12 books in the classes I teach. – Brenda Ellis, author

Grades 4-12 using ARTistic Pursuits Books One or Two

Teachers most often want to do one art lesson per week so I will address that format. Each book has 68 assignments; however you can do one entire unit per week and choose only one of the four assignments to finish in class, as described below. You can schedule drawing one year (Book One) and color the next (Book Two) or you can schedule the beginning half of each book for drawing and color instruction within the same year. Focus on the second half of each book the following year. This adds a greater variety of media being covered within a single year.

Media needed are listed under Materials on the project pages.

Preparation includes gathering art supplies, tools, and any props needed for the drawing or painting assignment. You may want to display artwork for further exploration and comparison while doing the art appreciation portion of the lesson. Art prints can be collected from the National Gallery of Art and within books.

Presentation of the idea is accomplished by reading the top half of the first page. This fulfills Content Standard #2: Using knowledge of structures and functions and Content Standard #3: Choosing and evaluating a range of subject matter, symbols, and ideas.

Presentation of the artwork fulfills Content Standard #2 or #3 as students see the idea applied in a work of art. Reading about the artist and historical context of the art fulfills Content Standard #4: Understanding the visual arts in relation to history and cultures.

Process: Students work with Content Standard #1 or #2 as they engage in learning the techniques associated with art on the Techniques page.

Process: Students work with the process of making art in the Project, fulfilling Content Standard #1: Understanding and applying media, techniques, and processes.

(Content Standard #6: Making connections between visual arts and other disciplines can be inserted into the lesson in whatever way the teacher prefers.)

ARTistic Pursuits fulfills Content Standards 1-5 of the National Standards for Visual Arts Education.

A Typical Plan for a 75 Minute Class

Warm Up Activity: Stand to exercise our "drawing muscles". Hold thumbs in the air and move them in a circular motion for about 10 seconds. Move to the pointer finger and do the same. Pressing thumb and pointer finger together, move all the other fingers. Move the wrists around in one direction, then the other. Move the elbows and finally the shoulders in the same way, 10 seconds in each direction. All should participate together. This two-three minute exercise creates a way for students to focus attention on their bodies and disengage from conversations with others.

10-15 minute Vocabulary Exercise. This is another focused time. Sometimes the exercise will involve other students and other times require each student to work alone. The purpose of these activities is two-fold. (1) To teach real drawing skills in a fun way involving the whole class while encouraging creative thought, visual awareness, and some social interaction. (2) To reinforce the vocabulary of art which is being taught in regular lessons within the ARTistic Pursuits books. To see the Vocabulary Exercises click this link.

Present a lesson from ARTistic Pursuits in the following way. Read the top of the first page of the unit. See the idea applied in the work of art on the second page. Read and discuss the second page. Read about the artist and history on the third page. Choose to demonstrate the techniques shown on the fourth page. Have students apply their knowledge by making art from the fourth or fifth page (technique or final project page). Some lessons may extend to the following class period to allow enough time for students to complete paintings or drawings.

Everyone is expected to clean up their own work space and specific classroom areas as needed.

Typical Plan for a 55 Minute Class

Same as above, but skip the Warm-up and Vocabulary Exercises and keep presentation of the lesson to 10 minutes only, while allowing children to have at least 40 minutes to make art. Some lessons may extend to the following class period to allow enough time for students to complete paintings or drawings.

Other Great Learning Experiences for the Classroom : Assign the creativity assignment at the bottom of the first page of each unit for homework. These are assignments designed for the home environment. Have students bring in their pictures the next week and hang them up together. Much learning can take place when seeing how other students interpreted the assignment. A great way to open the discussion is to choose a student and have him say something he likes about one of the pictures. Add your knowledge to the discussion. Then have the student who did the picture choose another work and say something she likes about that work. Do not feel the need to go through all the pictures. Covering 4-5 drawings allows plenty of observation and learning to occur. Students learn how to look at art and how to talk about art.

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