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This unit exposes students to the lives and creative works of American artists with cultural backgrounds both similar to and different from their own. It is divided into three sub-units that can be taught separately or in sequence. It includes a Black artist, Jacob Lawrence; a White artist, Andrew Wyeth; and Native American art of the Plains Indians. The sub-units were designed to be used in art classes by middle school students in grades five through eight. Each sub-unit contains a brief biographical/historical account on each artist/group, lesson plans, teaching strategies, and a detailed step-by-step description of art instruction for a particular lesson.
Four art concepts are explored in the lessons: “Composition”—the arrangement of objects on a page (stressing the relationship between parts to parts, and parts to the whole); “Space”—the relationship between figure/ground; “Balance”—symmetrical and asymmetrical balance; and “Meaning/Expression” in artwork—learning to look at and for the expressive qualities inherent in artwork (famous work and their own efforts).
I have worked with students using the approaches I have mentioned with a lot of success; however, the teacher is warned that in the Andrew Wyeth unit “drawing what you see” is very difficult for students, so a lot of encouragement has to be given.
(Recommended for General Art classes, grades 5-8)
Art American African and Native Drawing Art Instruction Composition and Inspiration