MAKING LARGE GROUP DEMONSTRATIONS TURN OUT UNIQUE CREATIONS
I tend to teach drawing lessons by starting with echo drawings. You know, teacher demonstrates step by step on the board and students copy at their desk. I find this to be the quickest and easiest method to teach a large group how to draw using their knowledge of basic shapes and lines. Though, if I'm not careful the drawings tend to turn out very similar. I've gotten better over the years at using a couple of key ideas to get more unique, personal, and better drawings out of students.
I found that encouraging students to draw lightly in pencil makes them more apt to make changes later. For one, I think it reinforces the idea that the original drawing is not permanent and easy to erase. Without those leftover heavy pencil lines, kiddos are happier to make changes on their drawings and take a leap of faith to try out an idea.
I spend more time before we even draw showing lots of examples from many sources; photographs, videos, books, and a wide variety of visuals help ease students into a topic. Students get really excited when I use contemporary symbols of what we are drawing. For example, in our Blue Dog lesson pictured we spent time before listing famous dogs and describing the lines, shapes, and colors that an artist would use to illustrate them.
After we get to a certain point in our echo drawing I stop the class and demonstrate how their drawing could change. I show 3-6 examples of different directions their drawing could go - I find a chalkboard or dry erase board very helpful in this step. This seems to excite the crowd and get students revved up to take their drawing in their own direction.
I also find it extremely helpful to provide even more examples of whatever we are drawing at this point. For example when were drawing our dogs I provided each table with 10-12 drawings of dog breeds by doing a google image search for "coloring" and the dog type. This provided me with drawings that were easy for the kids to look at and spot our "famous" shapes and lines to draw from.
I was really pleased with how this batch of blue dog drawings are coming along. I think these second graders did a fantastic job of creating unique drawings that hold a personal connection.