Ever have a lesson plan you back into that ends up being awesome? Yeah. This one is kind of like that.
I wanted my students to have more opportunities to work on their drawing skills; specifically, their realism drawing skills. I knew completing a contour line assignment would be a great project to build these skills, but I feared my students would get bored. I’ve talked -extensively now- about how I have a few students who are hard to engage. I also have a lot of students who have a hard time sticking with a project once it becomes “hard” or “too real.”
I knew if I wanted them to do some contour line drawing, I’d have to create some kind of really great “carrot.”
Shoes are a major part of my students’ self representation. They wear uniforms to school, but are allowed freedom of footwear. Additionally, shoes seem to be important in the community in which I work. So, while many may not come from wealthy backgrounds, they do have quite nice shoes. They brag about shoes, compare/contrast shoes, talk about prices etc. all the time.
I figured we could draw our shoes. But then, I got a little bit concerned. My students enjoy aggressively teasing one another and love using smells (farts, chemical odors, cooking scents) to make noise and derail the class. I didn’t want to give them an opportunity to attempt to take control of the class. And, well, I got worried that some of them may not have clean socks OR that some students may not have nice shoes and this may isolate them.
Eventually, I decided to take the students to the computer lab and let them use the Nike ID, MI Adidas, Vans, and the Converse websites to customize their own shoes. I asked them about this first because I was concerned they wouldn’t like customizing shoes that they couldn’t buy (or maybe couldn’t afford), but was reassured by their enthusiastic response.
Y’all, I’ve never seen them so well behaved as the days we went to the computer lab. They LOVED tinkering with the different websites to create cool shoes. I used this as an opportunity to do a presentation about how desire drives design.
They had directions to follow and had to print out at least 2 different shoes. The next few days we focused on contour line drawing. The students had to complete 2 different contour line drawings of their shoes. They had to color the shoes in either colored pencil or marker and then create a black and white (or colored with permission from me) background of doodles. I then laminated the final versions.
My students loved every part of this project. They really enjoyed drawing their shoes and I had virtually no complaining during the difficult drawing process. And, when I asked the new crew of students what they wanted to do during this 9 weeks of Art, I had many reply “I want to draw shoes.”