Middle School Art

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Jr. high is a time in life where students are questioning their identity and their relationship to others and their world. The majority of my projects are based on self-identity and community. Many projects explore symbolism to help students relay their feelings through art and I have found this helpful in preparing them for high school “Big-Idea” based art making.

In juggling six different preps a semester I decided to create a 7/8th grade art program that has an A and a B year. With this I can teach the same curriculum to 7th and 8th graders on the same year. I have found this to be extremely helpful in eliminating an extra prep. The art program journeys through art history with the A year – prehistoric to Medieval Art and B year- Renaissance to Contemporary Art. We do not copy master artwork but rather view famous art and discuss the motivational factors that caused the artist to work in that manner. We use this understanding for a springboard into our own contemporary pieces.

7th and 8th grade  Art Curriculum

 TLW consider, create and critique works of art that explore questions of self-identity while shaping their identity in view of God’s redemption story.

TLW pursue creative exploration through a biblical reformed perspective: God is a God of creativity and being made in his image all people have been endowed with this ability.

TLW memorize and apply the principles and elements of creating and critiquing works of art.

TLW have an awareness of compositional methods, including the elements and principles of art, for the sake of creating, critiquing and enjoying the fine and applied arts.

TLW work individually and also in teams and respect each other’s strengths and giftedness.

TLW use symbols, color, line and textures to communicate thoughts and emotions.

A -year

1)    Prehistoric  – 4 weeks

  1. Aerial painting of home and surroundings based on symbols  i.     Watercolor, markers

2)    Ancient -5 weeks

  1. Mummy hand  i.     Plastic, found objects

3)    Primitive – 3 weeks

  1. Conceptual family tree    i.     Rope, ribbon, yarn

4)    Byzantine – 3 weeks

  1. Hands United drawing    i.     Pencil, marker
  2. Altered book-diptych   i.     Found objects, book, paints, transparency

5) At-home project

1. Art Museum – must contain the artworks we studied in class, decorated exterior and interior to have museum features. May be highly creative – ex. floating museum, space art museum etc. Looking for home-made museum, not all store bought items.

Each unit will be summarized with a reflection sheet, encouraging students to consider what they learned from the project, what they enjoyed most/least and what biblical principles applied to the activity and life learning.


1)    Renaissance -4 weeks

  1. Group mural for school wall i.     Grid system measurements, latex paint
  2. Perspective Drawing – boxes and ellipses with image of their choice going through

2)    Realism – 4 weeks

  1.  “My locker” vanitas drawing   i.     Mechanical pencil, colored pencil
  2. Still life and shading     i.     Pencil, charcoal, pastel, wall paper mixed media
  3. Bad hair day – ink drawing with value scale created from personalized designs

3)    Impressionism, Surrealism, Expressionism –  5 weeks

  1. Etching of a photo of themselves within a collaged dream-like world of their interests      i.     Collage, etching plate/needle, colored pencils

4)    Op Art, Pop Art -2 weeks

  1. Bi fold accordion 3-D piece related to opposites in their life  i.     Magazines, glue, folding

5) At-home Project

1. Living Art Gallery: A live art museum with students “within”  a famous work of art coming to life may be a summary project. Similar to a WAX MUSEUM, but more interactive.

Each unit will be summarized with a reflection sheet, encouraging students to consider what they learned from the project, what they enjoyed most/least and what biblical principles applied to the activity and life learning.

I have found 7th and 8th graders very excited about talking about works of art. When viewing art history I take my students through these steps for viewing and discussing art. It has worked wonderfully through the years.

DESCRIBE: What do you see- don’t make assumptions and don’t tell a story, just tangible objects and colors.

ANALYZE: Where is the focal point? What is the basic compositional set-up? How does our eye move through the piece- how did the artist achieve this? How has the artist balanced color, shapes, textures etc

INTERPRET: Through information you have just gathered and reading the title or artist statement given what do you think the story might be? What do you think the artist might be trying to say? (no right or wrong, but can certainly direct their ideas). I withhold the artist statement (if there is one) until after they share.

JUDGE: Do you think that the artist did a good job of creating a work that is successful in skill, meaning, originality?


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