This live, online visual arts course is suited for middle school students of all art backgrounds and abilities, and incorporates only family friendly materials. A complete blend of art appreciation and fine art lessons, this course is designed around the National Visual Arts standards (part of the National Core Arts Standards), building a solid foundation for further advanced art courses in the Visual Arts.
So much more than basic art lessons, this course focuses on helping students learn to think like artists and develop basic understanding of the Elements of Art (line, shape, color, value, form, texture, and space) and the Principles of Design (rhythm, balance, proportion, variety, emphasis, harmony, and unity), and how artists use both in their work. Through both studying the foundational elements of art and creating their own works of art using a variety of media and techniques, students develop their creative and expressive abilities, knowledge of art history movements, capabilities to make aesthetic judgments, and an ability to make visual connections across subject areas.
This one-of-a-kind class features weekly live explorations in aesthetics, production, art criticism, and art history. It also engages students in creative problem solving through a variety of contemporary and traditional art-making processes in a very non-traditional studio experience. Students are continually involved in innovative creative thinking, self-expression, problem solving, and experimenting with different techniques and media within their creative work. Their weekly project will require approximately an hour of work outside of class. Each semester will wrap up with a virtual art exhibit to share with family and friends, as well as with the Aim Academy community.
Our virtual class time will involve interactive discussion of concepts, artworks, artists, and art history, demonstration and class experimentation with various techniques and media with a weekly visual prompt, and conclude with critique, project planning, and fun art/art history games and activities. An optional recorded demonstration of each week’s project will be posted each Thursday where students can follow along with the Instructor on the weekly project where they can pause or speed up the process as needed, or they can use their own creative approaches. Once a month, students bring all project supplies to class for a live studio session during a live class time dedicated solely to creating art together.
This course seeks to achieve the following goals through a study of art and design foundations, examining how artists use those in their art. We’ll also do weekly hands-on projects.
- We will identify, describe, and apply the elements of art and principles of design.
- We will experience studio practices that include a variety of traditional media, techniques, and processes in two and three dimensions. (*While supply lists are given and encouraged, media substitutions are provided and always allowed, with a focus on mastering the concepts versus mastering the media.)
- We will develop basic visual art literacy and vocabulary at the middle school level.
- We will discuss works of art regarding theme, genre, style, idea, and differences in media.
- We will describe how artists can show the same theme by using different media and styles as we study significant artists, styles, and movements in art history.
- We will develop and refine observational drawing skills to depict a variety of subject matter.
- We will create increasingly complex original works of art reflecting personal choices and increased technical skill, selecting specific media and processes to express moods, feelings, themes, or ideas.
- We will experience opportunities to begin understanding the constructs of art criticism.
- We will be introduced to careers in and related to visual art.
- We will generate portfolios as assessment tools and artistic presentation.
- We will develop basic creative problem-solving skills and refine craftsmanship.
- We will explore visual avenues to communicate self-expression.
My teaching style is lighthearted, relational, and tailored to each group of students in my class. I keep my class atmosphere positive and encouraging – a place where all feel welcome and valued, with a focus on the joy and wonder of creating and creation, and where all artworks discussed will be kept rated PG and family-friendly.
Feedback to all students will be done in positivity, kindness, and encouragement with a focus on the art concepts being studied over talent or skill level.
Live course meeting time: Live meetings via Zoom will occur every week on Tuesday at 1:30 PM EST. All course meetings are optional, though highly encouraged for class community and opportunities to engage in the lessons and ask questions. They will be recorded for scheduling convenience. This course emphasizes that art is for everyone and values the heart of homeschooling where flexibility is a top priority.
Over the course of the school year, students will engage in interactive lectures and weekly discussions, reflect and respond orally to famous artworks in numerous styles and art movements. Students can also expect to keep a visual journal/sketchbook, where they will wrestle with and work through artistic problems. They will also have hands-on art projects to work on each week, some taking several weeks for completion. This class will require weekly homework (1-2 hrs.) of creative, hands-on, and reflective projects to submit for a grade and individualized feedback.
Weekly assignments may include:
- A weekly 50-minute live meeting
- Reading/viewing assignments from our text, handouts, or various sources
- Art journal/sketchbook prompts
- Art projects in a variety of styles, techniques, and media
- Research, critiques, and compare/contrast papers (only 1 paper/presentation max per semester)
Who should enroll?
Students in 6th-8th grade should enroll in this class. All artistic skill levels welcome. This class provides general visual art education and is planned to develop essential basic skills of expression and understanding in art.
- High speed, broadband Internet
- Sound card and working microphone (for live sessions)
- Streaming video capabilities to watch recorded lectures
- Digital camera (can be phone with camera), or other means to photograph, scan, and upload student artwork
Evaluation and Feedback
All homework will be submitted and formally critiqued through our website on Canvas. I provide detailed critiques on all artwork, focusing on understanding and demonstration of the concept/theme versus artistic skill, as well as on special projects/papers. My goal is to provide detailed artwork critiques within one week of the assignment’s due date (expect two weeks for larger projects). Students receive all critiques well before the next art project is due so that they may steadily develop and grow in their artistic abilities while improving their work and developing their own artistic style with each assignment.
I will confirm registration with parents and provide a welcome email with clear details and video instructions on how to navigate this course. All parents are welcome to join us in Canvas as observers, and I will respond within 24 hours to all parents’ and student questions via email or Canvas message. I prefer communication through Canvas on our course website.