It seems possible that schools might close and teachers will be expected to keep teaching. It appears that most schools have already had meetings to train their teachers on VLE’s, Google Classroom and my school is using the App ‘SchoolWorks‘.
What about exam students?
I’m sure you’ve already had conversations with your exam students about making sure they take their sketchbook home at the end of the week and making sure they have a comprehensive tick list of tasks. I have discussed with my students how I would be happy for them to email me with photographs of their work so I can keep them progressing. There are of course Apps that could manage this exchange too. This relies on students having materials at home and I’m hoping exam boards would give us the time back when we returned to school as this would certainly disadvantage many students, but who knows what will happen.
The rest of this blog post has a list of tasks to set younger art students (KS3) if your school closes. Of course the ideal senario is that students can carry on with their current project but some of my students are in the middle or clay and printing projects, so I’m going to be setting them one-off tasks if necessary. All of these tasks assume that they have nothing more than internet access and very minimal materials. I’ve written tasks so you can cut and paste them into an email or as an instruction within a lesson plan.
Utilising the Internet
Gallery websites have a wealth of information on them and it would be great if our students felt comfortable finding their way around them. You could choose a particular website such as The Tate or MOMA and set your students the following task:
Go to The Tate website and spend 5-10 minutes looking at what exhibitions are on. Choose an exhibition that looks interesting to you. Preferably in the back of your sketchbook or on paper, write about the exhibition you have discovered. The title of your piece of writing can be the name of the exhibition. Explain if it features one or more artists. Write what sort of work the artist(s) creates and if the exhibition is about all of the artists life or has a special focus. Explain why you chose this exhibition in particular. Google the artists name to see more of their work which will give you a deeper insight into the artist. What else can you discover? If you have access to a printer at home you can add pictures too.
Colour Theory. Use the Colour Theory Pages on The Arty Teacher. There are two colour theory pages on The Arty Teacher, one for the UK and one also for the USA to allow for the different spellings and words we use. Why not direct your students to these pages and then ask them to make their own crossword puzzle on colour theory here. If you ask them to make a crossword using the information on the colour theory page, you need to tell them to enter their answers and questions and then scroll down and click ‘Make Crossword Puzzle’. They can then save or print their crossword using the options in the left-hand menu.
Google Arts & Culture
Google Arts & Culture is a brilliant resource but hard to plan to use because it’s constantly changing. However, there are some sections that seem to remain constant. Here are some possible tasks but take a good look at what is written in the sections that you plan to use as some of the language is challenging.
Go to the Google Arts & Culture website. Click on ‘Explore’ and then ‘Artists’. Spend 10 minutes exploring the different artists featured there. When you click on an artist you need to scroll down to see examples of their work. Choose an artist that you like the look of. Preferably in the back of your sketchbook or on paper, write about the artist you have chosen. Their name can be the title of your work. Describe what their work is like. (Is it a painting or sculpture or something else) Describe it in details and try to find out what media the artist uses e.g. oil paint or charcoal. Research further on the internet and see what you can find out.
Go to the Google Arts & Culture website. Click on ‘Explore’ and then ‘Art Movements’. Spend 10 minutes exploring the different art movements. An art movement is a specific style of art that was used by a group of artists for a period of time. When you click on an art movement you need to scroll down to see examples of artworks made by artists who belong to the art movement. Choose an art movement that you like the look of. Preferably in the back of your sketchbook or on paper, write about the art movement you have chosen. The name of the art movement can be the title of your work. Write a definition of what the movement is about. Describe the features of the work that belong to the movement. Name some artists that belong to the movement. Research further on the internet and see what you can find out.
In the ‘Explore’ section of Google Arts & Culture there is also a section on ‘Mediums’ where you could create similar task.
Microsculpture is a mindblowing website. Check it out and then set this simple task.
Go to this website: Microsculpture. Watch the video. Click on the word ‘Explore’ in the top left-hand corner. Click on an insect. Zoom in to see the amazing detail. Spend 10 minutes exploring the different insects. Preferably in the back of your sketchbook or on paper, draw an insect or close-up of an insect. If you have coloured pencils you can create your drawing in colour.
The best thing (and possibly the worst thing) about mobile phones is that nearly every child has a camera. Some schools even give their students iPads. Here are a few possible photography tasks, two of which include an optional drawing task.
(Feel free to use the image above as an example)
- Use your mobile phone or an iPad to take a selection of close-up photographs around your home or garden. Try getting very close to objects. Think about unusual angles and perspectives. What different viewpoints do you get if you crawl around the room? What great photographs could you take if you look inside objects, or lights or drawers? How can you make every-day objects look different or unusual by taking close-up photographs or cropping photographs? Take at least 30 photographs and then select your best 9. Either use an App such as PicCollage which allows you to put your photographs in a grid, or print them and present them in the back of your sketchbook or on paper.
- Draw your favourite 3 close-up photographs in the back of your sketchbook.
- Use your mobile phone or an iPad to take a selection of photographs around your home or garden that have texture. Often when you get up close to wood, wicker, bark, carpet, clothing or other objects you can see the texture of their surface. Take at least 30 photographs and then select your 9 best photographs that have an amazing texture. Either use an App such as PicCollage which allows you to put your photographs in a grid, or print them and present them in the back of your sketchbook or on paper.
- Draw your favourite 3 textural photographs in the back of your sketchbook.
- Your art lesson today is going to be spread throughout the day as your task is to create a photographic diary. You can use a phone, iPad or camera to do this, but please think carefully about how you will present this. This diary will have no words because, as the saying goes ‘A picture speaks a thousand words’. You might want to focus on the environment around you. (Buildings, interiors, landscapes) Or your photographic diary might be all about the people in your day. Be as creative as you like. Either use an App such as PicCollage which allows you to put your photographs in a grid or present them on a page, or print them, cut them out and present them in the back of your sketchbook or on paper.
You could ask your students to draw almost anything, but here are some good ideas that you can cut and paste into an email or insert into a lesson plan.
Go to this link: What Can I Draw – 100 Object to Draw and choose 3 items from the list that you can find in your home. Over the next three lessons draw each item. Place the object in front of you and draw from direct observation. Make sure each drawing is detailed and includes a range of tones/values.
Draw the contents of a pencil case is a classic task and provides a wonderful challenge. The inspiring drawing above is by Victoria on Deviant Art.
Open your pencil case and let the contents spill out. Arrange items if necessary so that they look good to draw. Create a realistic observational drawing of what you can see. Make sure you include lots of details and a full range of tones/values.
Tasks to set art students if your school closes doesn’t just have to be drawing or the internet. How about these ideas below.
Painting With Coffee
Hopefully some of your students will have access to instant coffee and a spoon!
Look at the artwork of Giulia Bernardelli. She paints pictures with coffee. Mix up some strong instant coffee so that it is really dark. Using a spoon or tooth pic or a variety of tools you can find in the kitchen, paint a picture with coffee. Bernardelli lets the coffee spill onto the page and then sees what it reminds her of. You can take this approach or you can find an image on the internet to work from. If you are struggling to think of what to draw this list will inspire you: What Can I Draw?
If you are confident that your students will have access to newspapers, magazines or junk mail, you could ask them to make some sort of collage. They would need glue, so perhaps this would be too difficult. Or could you let them know a day in advance that this was the planned lesson so they had a chance to gather the materials? My students have been looking at Jasper Johns, so an idea like the one above would be a great idea. If so, you can cut and paste this idea:
Today you are going to make a lettering collage. Gather magazines, newspapers and junk mail. Cut out all the letters and numbers that you can find that are roughly 2cm’s in size or larger. Draw a square in your sketchbook that is 10cm square. Fill the square with the letters making sure it is completely full. Choose brightly coloured letters and numbers if you can.
Find this collage activity as a full page here: Collage Art Lesson
Look at the sculptures by the artist Andy Goldsworthy. He makes sculptures in nature out of things that he finds. This might be leaves, twigs or even ice. Using found objects in your home, such as cutlery, lego or make-up create an Andy Goldsworthy inspired sculpture.
Drawing Food Activity Pack
The ‘Drawing Food’ pack below includes 3 worksheets and is an ideal pack to send your students home with. Click on the image to learn more.
If you’ve found ‘Tasks to Set Art Students if your School Closes’ useful, please share it on social media so other teachers can find it.