The Fourth-Grade child
Characteristics of Fourth Graders-
- Are developing a sense of humor; love comics and cartoon characters
- Can develop feelings of inferiority about their lack of ability todraw what they see
- Compare their work to that of peers
- Are open to viewing different art styles and do not yet judge if something is “good” or “bad”
What Fourth Graders Call Do with Materials-
Brushes:successfully mix paint; care (or watercolor sets; wash brushes and clean up
Clay: do ceramic coiling; make pinch pots or clay animals; create portrait and figure sculpture; apply glazes
Paint: mix colors to make tints and shades; apply watercolor wash. wet-en-wet, and resists
Pencil, marker, charcoal: make a value scale’; create light medium and dark values
Ink: create a brayer printing, a glue-line print, oil collagraph, or a monoprint on plastic sheet; draw with pen and ink
Paper: cut skillfully with scissors score, curl; fold origami shapes
Fiber Arts: weave with a simple loom (cardboard, straws, paper plate); make decorative stitchery
Sculpture materials: handle plaster-gauze well; do additive sculpture; use papier mache
Fourth Graders’ Understanding of Concepts-
- Comprehend color scheme based on color wheel: warm versus cool, contrast, mood, “grayed” colors
- Create the illusion of space through placement, size, and value
- Use facial proportions correctly; develop a. more realistically proportioned human figure; show movement
- By looking at art, become aware how artists depict animals and the human figure
- Identify different media, subject matter, and art forms such as sculpture, tempera, water color, prints, portraits, landscapes
- Comprehend that form follows function in design, and can point out or bring in specific examples
- Understand that many artists express themselves and their cultural identities through their artwork
- Recognize architecture from various climates and cultures of the world on the basis of the construction materials used, including their own regional architecture
- Can show various styles of art and discuss aesthetics issues: “Could something ugly be art?” “Should the artist care whether other people appreciate what he or she is doing? “Why might mountains look different depending on which culture paints them?” “Should art look real?” “What is beautiful?”
Suggestions for Teaching Fourth Graders-
- Use distortion, simplification, or exaggeration to create an-abstraction of an object, place, facial characteristics, a still life.
- Avoid having them copy, as many already lack confidence in their ability to draw. Remind them to avoid trite symbols such as “balloon” trees, happy faces, and rainbows. But talk about real symbols- things that are understood by most people, such as street signs.
- Introduce still life to foster the decision-making process, highlighting unity, variety, emphasis. Talk about positive and negative space, radial balance, center of interest, focal point, contrast.
- Introduce proportions of the face; have them do self-portraits: draw fellow students; discuss body proportions; learn to really look.
- Encourage exploration of color schemes through an open-endedlandscape assignment .
- Introduce sculpture in-the-round.
- Compare and contrast two artworks from two different cultures (time or place], on the basis of theme, media, subject, and elements and principles of art.
Fourth-Grade Content Connections-
Language Arts:research skills related to artists; bookmaking.
Tell students to imagine themselves inside the picture looking out at the viewer. Have them write a letter to a “pen pal” about how the world looks from that viewpoint (even if you are a flower or a bowl of fruit).
Mathematics: estimating fractions; shapes (trapezoids, parallelograms, pentagons, hexagons, octagons); use of money; measuring length; creating computer drawings; using calendars; using the metric system.
Have them design a new paper hill and coin for a country or state. It could be based on a political figure, or a profile of themselves as a king or a queen. They should make a design for each side.
Science: ecology; constellations; weather forecasting; space travel; light and color; body systems; machinery.
Have students draw a factory. They should think about how things might work to manufacture something they like (a toy, candy, t-shirts, television sets). They can use ballpoint pen or colored pencil to draw a factory where this might be manufactured.
Have them select a real constellation (perhaps from one that is visible in the month they were born) and draw an imaginary person or creature using the locations of the stars within that constellation.
Social Studies: state history (politicians and pioneers), regions of the world (tundra, rain forests, deserts); mapmaking; Native American cultures.
Have students do a painting about an event in the life of a well-known person from your state or region that made him or her famous.
Drama:drama from a variety of cultures and periods, improvisation.
Have students learn facts about a famous artist or other individual from your state. They can pretend they are the person, and even wear similar clothing. Have them tell facts about that individual as if they were a robot, once someone “presses their button.”