Thursday, May 6, 2010

Elements and Principles of Design

Elements and Principles of Design
Line, Shape, Form
Christy Hartman

To become fluent in any language one needs to learn the vocabulary. The same can be said for art vocabulary, a child needs to become familiar with the terms that their teacher will use throughout their art education. The Elements and Principles of Design are the components of any art form whether it is two dimensional or three dimensional. Color, value, line, shape, form, texture, balance and space. These principles are taught so that they spiral throughout the curriculum with concepts becoming increasingly more complex as we build on prior knowledge.

When a child learns something as a "hands on" lesson it has a better chance of becoming a part of their regular repertoire.

I teach Kindergarten through 5th Grade students, I introduce or reinforce these art principles throughout the year so that by the time my students have completed 5th Grade they are prepared for the Middle School curriculum and are well versed in all the vocabulary and skills. I always begin each year with a project that incorporates the use of line, shape, and form at each grade level. A large part of any quality curriculum is basing the lessons on a predetermined set of standards. A standards based curriculum ensures that each child acquires a similar set of skills and knowledge no matter where they live. The National Visual Art Standards define what students should know and accomplish at any level K-12.

Kindergarten begins the year becoming comfortable and familiar with the rules and procedures. Kindergarten students tend to be nervous and are certain they cannot complete the project until I reassure them that I will walk them through the project step by step thus giving them a safety net. I introduced them to a character from the book Splat the Cat by Rob Scotten. I often incorporate literature into my lessons for my primary students; it sets the stage for the project and allows the students to focus in on the job at hand. Splat the Cat is a charming tale about a young cat that goes to school for the first time and how he works through his fears. After reading the story we draw Splat the Cat using basic shapes and a variety of lines making sure that this project is age appropriate and fine motor skill appropriate. When designing lessons for each grade level I take into account the fine motor skills that each age level is capable of doing. Nothing is more frustrating for a child than to be expected to do something that they are not developmentally ready for. By the time that we have completed this project the children are comfortable in the art room and have begun their art journey.

Second Graders begin their review of line, shape, and form by drawing monsters. What child doesn’t love a monster? The wealth of literature that is available to be used with this project is incredible including Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak. After a quick review of the design elements we draw a charming monster’s face using basic shapes and a variety of lines. Because each child is different each monster will begin to develop its own personality as well. After the monsters are completed we add a series of line and shape patterns to the face and fringe of the monster. The children typically want these monsters to be brightly colored and because of that we use oil pastels to color the monster’s faces adding a color pattern to the line and shape patterns that have been incorporated into the design. This is a perfect opportunity to include a quick color review by encouraging the students to use complimentary colors somewhere in the design.

At the elementary level art production is an integral part of the process, during the production process the student develops fine motor skills, higher level thinking skills, and problem solving skills. This encourages individual creativity and self expression that they will use throughout their school career as well as in their lives. As teachers we need to teach the continuum of skills, expose our students to a variety of materials while still allowing for opportunities for self expression.

No comments:

Post a Comment