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. It is so much more than basic art lessons.
Based around the theme of various historical movements in art, artists throughout history and the work they created, this course is a weekly hands-on virtual art studio. Students discover how historical, political, geographical, social, and religious events shape each culture’s art and influence and inspire artists. Throughout the course of the year, students learn to think like artists and create in the style of numerous master artists and the art movements they are associated with, gaining insight into the ways artists are inspired and the reasons they choose specific media to realize their artistic ideas. Through both exploring a chronological/historical approach to art and creating their own masterpieces 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, as well as engages students in creative problem-solving through a variety of contemporary and traditional art-making processes in a very non-traditional studio experience. While each live class time provides step-by-step project instruction, there is still plenty of room for innovative creative thinking, self-expression, problem solving, and experimenting with different techniques and media within their creative work. Other than a weekly sketchbook challenge, no project homework will be given for outside of our live class session. Some projects may take several weeks to complete, and students are asked to submit photos of their completed work for personalized feedback and to share with the class in a virtual gallery.
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 begins with a brief community-building warm-up based on a visual prompt or art history activity/game. We then celebrate our past week’s work in a gallery format where students share their work and discuss what they enjoyed/learned about the project as well as any struggles with techniques, media, or concepts, thus growing together as artists. We review previous learning through interactive discussion of comparing/contrasting art movements, techniques, artists and their work (as well as how artists utilize art elements, various media, and techniques throughout art history). New learning may involve discussion of art movements, stories of famous artists and their artwork, and class experimentations with various techniques and media.
The second half of class revolves around the weekly project and various stages of it, including planning and brainstorming ideas, sketching thumbnails, testing media and techniques, and working together as a class step-by-step on the final design. Students are encouraged to ask questions, suggest ideas or options, and participate actively in the process. An optional recorded demonstration of each week’s project will be posted each Tuesday where students can follow along with the instructor on the weekly project where they can pause or speed up the process as needed.
This course seeks to achieve the following goals through a study of artists and their art throughout history through weekly hands-on 2-D and 3-D art projects.
- We will identify, describe, and apply the elements of art and principles of design used by artists.
- 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 for each project, art supply 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, compare, and contrast works of art regarding theme, genre, style, idea, and differences in media, time periods, and cultures.
- 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 the style of various artists.
- 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 meetings via Zoom will occur every week on Monday at 3:00 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 and in writing 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. Other than minor sketchbook assignments to improve artistic skills and inspire creative problem-solving, this class will not have outside homework requirements, though there will be some written exercises in class, and students who want to grow further in their skills will have optional art prompts for personal growth. Students will submit their completed projects for a grade (based on the concepts covered and shared rubric) and receive individualized feedback for personal artistic guidance and growth.
Weekly assignments may include:
- A weekly 60-minute live meeting with learning and direct instruction studio time
- Reading/viewing assignments from our text, handouts, or various sources
- Art journal/sketchbook prompts
- In-class art projects in a variety of styles, techniques, and media
- Presentations and sharing of artwork
Who should enroll?
Students in 6th-8th grade should enroll in this class. All artistic skill levels and abilities welcome. Basic beginner drawing skills are highly suggested but not required.
- 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 student artwork will be submitted and formally reviewed through our website on Canvas. I provide encouraging feedback on all artwork, focusing on understanding and demonstration of the concept/theme versus artistic skill, as well as any special or optional 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.