Observational drawing can be boring and frustrating for students, if approached the wrong way. Without an engaging subject, middle aged students (4-7th grade) can be unmotivated to sit and draw. So why do we throw very boring still-life subjects at them, expecting them to get all jazzed about it? Would you want to draw a vase or a flower if you were a 5th grader? Probably not. So, with the help of a colleague, I found something that was more engaging for students to draw- POP!
I use this quick lesson to introduce “Pop Art” to 5th grade, and to review the observational drawing skills that we started off the year with.. we LITERALLY make Pop Art (we drew pop!) the kids were really excited as I pulled out a huge box filed with empty pop cans. I was sure to tell them my horror story of “dumpster diving” to retrieve pop cans and bottles for them to draw out of the recycling bin in the teacher’s lounge. It made them smile.
The best thing about doing this project at the end of the year, is the modifications you can make as far as time constraints are concerned. With assemblies, field days and snow days to make up, the last month of school can be wild. One of my 5th grade groups had three class periods to work on this lesson, while the others only had one. What’s a teacher to do? Well, for the students with more time, I had them draw up one image, and I took it to the copy machine and made more copies (depending on how many days we had to work). Ideally, they would repeat the image 3 or 6 times.
I didn’t see the importance of making them draw it over and over once they’d done it once. Plus, the lettering was a great challenge for most of them, I was impressed with how they did. The copies drive home the importance of “repetition” that is so integral to Pop Art.
For the kids with one class period, it was a one and done. Draw one subject, Sharpie, Color, take home. Of course, if I wanted to promote wellness initiataves, we could have drawn apples… But that messes with the whole “draw pop for pop art thing”… maybe next year I’ll try Pop Corn. Now I’m thinking!
What are other fun objects that you recommend students draw from observation to keep them engaged?PS. I wanted to share that Erica has decided not to write for AOE anymore, and focus on other priorities, but of course, we’ll still be following her adventures on Art Project Girl and look forward to connecting, always! Thanks, Erica, for your contributions! You are a great teacher and person. Best of luck to you! Lots to share as the week goes on, in terms of writers. Stay tuned!