Middle School Artists Learn Modes of Expression

Middle School Visual Arts Teacher Jayme Zimmer reported that her 5th grade art class is brimming with excitement about Middle School art! In particular, they are stoked to have their art supply packs, which contain all of the needed supplies for their first drawing unit of the school year.

Zimmer said, “The students are learning about the artistic ‘modes of expression’—realistic, expressive (or expressionistic, as I like to call it), and abstract. This lesson helps students categorize the artwork they see—whether it is their own masterpiece or someone else’s—into the various modes. Understanding the modes also allows them to make conscious choices as they create their own visual expressions.”

During the drawing unit, the 5th graders will spend most of their time in the “realistic” mode, practicing how to break down an image into simple shapes and use the relationships and proportions of the simple shapes to build the drawing. As they build the drawing, they use a three-layered approach. Layer one includes simple shapes, layer two includes detailed contours, and layer three is the surface detail. Students recently engaged in the first lesson on layer one: identifying and drawing basic shapes of an image.