Have fun drawing without being able to draw!

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Drawing Ideas for Kids EPIC Art BATTLE

I don't know of too many teachers who use art quite the way I do, as a way to get kids working together and solving problems.  If you are a teacher looking for drawing ideas for kids, this post might interest you.  This is a great way to using art and drawing in school.

For years, I have been developing something I can best describe as noncompetitive battle art.  Where kids work together in large groups to use problem solving skills and creativity to accomplish a mission.  This mission might be something as simple as each member of the group taking ownership of one part of a group drawing to a giant group battle art project where students actually use their creativity to learn serious content via the art project.

When I get the chance, I plan on writing out more detailed instructions for a few of the successful art battles that I have used in the classroom.  I have done a few that turned out amazing and I thought that some other teachers might be interested in trying some of these ideas to help teach the common core in a more creative way.  I have used it to teach things from electricity to the Revolutionary War.  If anyone is interested, I plan to describe more on my site Cool Things to Draw at some point.

Students in my school love it.  I am trained in something called Project Adventure.  This amazing program is mainly used in PE classes across the country.  It involves trust and group problem solving.  For me, a cartoonist and teacher, I immediately started using it in the classroom to help teach content in new and interesting ways.

Recently, I held a group battle art session after school.  I put a huge grid of white paper on the chalkboard in my classroom.  This was the art zone.  Only two players could be in the "battle zone" at one time.  After about a minute, team members had to switch spots.  No one could be in the same spot after a switch was called.  Each group had a mission that gave them limitations and objectives.

Usually, the grid is required because students are battling for control of certain sections of the art board.  On this day, I was planning for a small group of 12, but more than 25 students came to the event.  Also, I was limited in time.  A typical art battle will last about 2 hours.  I only had about 1 hour for this one including a warm up game, explaining directions and clean up, so I had to make the objectives a lot simpler for the third, fourth and fifth graders I was working with.

In the end, it turned out great and the students had a great time working together to create some art.  This is a great art activity for school.  I didn't really need the grid for this activity.  The drawing grid helps more when students are planning.

The objective of this battle game started with a scenario:
Your team is a group of mad scientists and you are trying bring a creature to life.  Each member of your group is in charge of a section of your creature (head, arms, legs, bodies, etc.).  When you connect all of your parts your creature comes to life.

Each group had limitations and objectives:
The Cools: This group could only use cool colors.  Blues, purples, etc.
The Warms:  This group had to use reds, yellows and oranges.
The Furry Creature:  This group was supposed to create hairy creatures in anyway they could.
The Green Creature:  Plant-like.  Must use greens.

Note:  This would have worked much better as an art project, if I had only allowed players who had a specific job into a certain section of the battle zone.  I was originally going to give each player a chance to sketch their ideas on the battle, but because of the time limitations I knew that I had to get them creating as soon as possible.  Students were actually loving my warm up activity which, if I had it to do over again, I would have kept as the activity for the whole time, but I had billed the activity as group battle art, so I adjusted my game.

It still turned out well.  I will going back to this battle art game because kids didn't think about the art they were creating and they were having a blast working together.  I have an amazing quick version of this game, that kids love.  Any teacher can use it.  It is a great transition activity but it can also can be used in the art classroom to get all students to be more creative and working together.