Tag Archives: Grade 8

Grade 8 Student

The Eighth-Grade student

Characteristics of Eighth Graders:

  • Are highly self-conscious and interested in personal appearance; are aware of how others see them
  • Have raging hormones; volatile personalities, trying various roles from week to week
  • Helpful; interested in service projects and environmental concerns
  • Inquisitive and interested in complex ideas; want to relate education to their lives
  • Interested in personal lives of entertainers, sports stars, TV personalities
  • Sensitive about artistic ability; take criticism of their artwork personally
  • Interested in working with others on a joint project

What Eighth Graders Can Do with Materials and Technology:

  • General: physically work  with most artistic materials, simply differing in degree of skill
  • Marker, ink, pencil or colored pencil: create continuous, even tones
  • Crafts: work skillfully with crafts such as jewelry, weaving, stitchery, and batik
  • Technology: apply elements and principles of design to photography, digital art, an d the use of a video camcorder
  • Clay: model sculpture; work with coil and slab building; make pinch pots
  • Fiber arts: make jewelry; knot; make paper; use batik; quilt ; use applique; understand book arts
  • Paint: mix paint to create tints and shades or a variety of colors; model; show depth; represent something realistically
  • Computer: combine lines and shapes to make effective designs

Eighth Graders’ Understanding of Concepts:

  • Want to know why things are taught and the application to real life
  • Can continue to learn about careers related to the visual arts
  • Can identify and use varied line quality, value differences, complementary colors, formal and informal balance, scale relationship, perspective, diminishing size, and color to show depth
  • Use materials and techniques to depict moods, ideas, feelings
  • Apply design elements to creating objects and materials for living
  • Identify artwork from different cultures and time periods by specific common characteristics
  • Think abstractly: Can grasp double meanings, morality, and symbolism in artwork
  • Can interpret the meaning of work and identify whether it demonstrates reality (imitationalism), expresses feelings {emotionalism], emphasizes the elements and principles of art (formalism), or is a useful object (functionalism)

Suggestions for Teaching Eighth Graders:

  • Help them improve skills in a variety of media, introducing new ways of using familiar materials.
  • Give them “real” assignments when possible: posters, designing, jewelry, fabrics, murals.
  • Assign open-ended topics that allow them to express moods such as happiness or sadness.
  • Assign a painting related to time or space (past, present, or future).
  • Help them develop aesthetic judgment and discuss how they apply it to daily life (as consumers and connoisseurs of art).
  • Continue to introduce and discuss historical artworks from a variety of cultures.
  • Personalize some projects, encouraging them to use their own faces, names, or initials as de sign elements.
  • Encourage them to work in groups on a large project such as a mural, or reports on artists, or even several working together as collaborative artists.

Eighth-Grade Content Connections:

  • Music and Drama: creating and painting scenery; painting to music; relating the music and visual arts of a specific time period.
  • Language Arts: American literary heritage; communication and research skills; illustrating a short story; using dictionary and encyclopedia; oral presentations; using the library.
    Encourage students to write about their own art through keeping a sketchbook or journal.
    Talk about popular or visual culture today. What are some of the images that are well known to contemporary society? Ask students, if you were to illustrate a short story (your own or one that you are reading), how could you illustrate it using a pop-culture image?
    Have students paint a “narrative painting” to illustrate a story in the manner of some great illustrators such as George Caleb Bingham, John Quidor, or K.C. Wyeth.
  • Mathematics: problem solving; American to metric conversions: perpendicular and parallel lines, area, volume, shape, and space; fractions: percentages.
    Have students make a Renaissance drawing using the golden rectangle and formal perspective.
  • On the computer they can make a drawing using a horizon line, single vanishing point, and perspective. This could be a room or a cityscape.
  • Science: astronomy; energy; weather; oceanography; land forms; volcanoes: earthquakes; geology; fossils; mapping; population.
    Ask students to design an Earth Day project that will affect their immediate environment. This could be stream clean-up, improving drainage on a school’s ground s, clearing a walking path in a nearby wooded area, or planting bulbs and plants in a cleared garden area.
  • Social Studies: American history to 1900; economic organization research skills; political organizations.
    Ask students to consider how differences in background (religion, immigrant group, gender, level of education, economic status, age, and attitude toward the environment) might affect the way art might look to different groups of people.
    Have them think about how symbols (political, religious, governmental, environmental) identify the beliefs of certain groups. Make a circular design for a political button to identify a political party (not necessarily a party that already exists).
    Relate the history of American art to their studies of American history and literature.

Art Skills

Grade Eight Art Skills


  • Creating form with a view to conveying 3 dimensional qualities – light and dark surfaces and variations in materials and texture (metal, wood, plastic) work from Moore/Hepworth
  • Mixed media work – Picasso
  • Measuring proportion (Figure) – Contoured drawing techniques
  • Inks/colored pencils on painted or colored paper grounds


  • An introduction to the techniques and processes to the surface after the medium has been applied.
  • Vocabulary of Color- A continuation to previous knowledge learnt with an emphasis on the aesthetic, emotive, and psychological relationships from various cultures.
  • Sponge– Soak the sponge in paint and dab the sponge onto the paper. It produces broken, unpredictable marks. Using more water in the sponge, the students will be able to sweep it over large areas of paper.
  • Palette Knife– The fine edge can produce thin, sharp lines of paint on the paper, and the flat side spreads paint.
  • Scratching and Scraping– Using the wooden end of a brush, scratch into a layer of wet paint, which has just been painted over a previous color that has been dried. Quick and vigorous movements are needed, once used, it can destroy the surface of the paper making it difficult to work on the section afterwards.
  • Razors– Paint applied to the paper with a one-sided razor blade can create interesting flat-edged shapes. Keep the blade flat so that it doesn’t dig in.
  • Sandpaper– A degenerative method that has interesting textural effects when rubbed onto a dried painted surface to reveal parts of the white paper.
  • Variegated Washes– (watercolor technique) Three colors used, dampen one section of the paper and paint a strip of color onto the damp paper and clean the brush. Take a second color and quickly lay a brush stroke next to the first. Repeat this process with a third color. The edges of the colors will blend into each other and by changing the intensity and direction of the colors, endless variations are created.

Textiles and creative embroidery:

  • The emphasis at all times should be on exploration, discovery and risk-taking. While the projects will be teacher-led, there will be an emphasis on the developmental approach of GCSE. Students at this level should be starting to understand the characteristics and the constraints of the media in use.
  • Alternative/irregular frame shapes. Stretching of fabric onto frames. Three dimensional shapes.
  • Use of different glues. What they do. Their effectiveness.
  • Sewing and stitching. The use of alternative materials, such as rope and wire.
  • Applique. Again, alternative materials such as plastic and metal sheeting.
  • Pulled thread and cut-work.
  • Combination of print and other learned methods.

Clay methods and techniques:

  • Reductive process, hollowing out of a large lump of clay.
  • Using large slabs to make a container or sculptural piece.
  • Making of large-scale containers using slabs. These can be on a fairly large scale. The key is to assemble the pots when the clay is leather hard to aid the successful construction. Start off with a specific topic so that they can do plenty of observation drawing before planning out their idea. In this way the piece becomes more meaningful and the decoration is more sensitive. Give demonstration as to how different forms can be assembled, making of lids etc.
  • Use of hump and impression moulds. This technique could be used to make bowl shapes using flat slabs of clay that are placed into the mould, coils arranged in an interesting way, strips of clay overlapped to fill in the area or left with gaps. Bases can be applied after the leather hard form is removed from the mould. In the case of a hump mould it can be applied before it is removed.
  • As above but 2 of the same shape can be made. The two shapes can then be joined together. This will make a hollow shape, which will probably not stand up. Cut off an area to create a flat surface where a base can be added. Then a hole or holes can be cut out at the top or even on the sides. Extra coils can then be added to alter the shape. Surface decoration needs to be considered, adding on coils, incising, painting on slip etc. Alternatively the design can be added when the clay is put into the mould.


  • Intaglio printing (Dry Point)
  • Silk screen printing
  • A good follow on from work involving the study of line, tone etc methods of creating tone using line cross hatching etc.
  • Students have a great deal of success working from photographic images placed directly under the Perspex. Interesting images could be achieved after completing a unit on Photoshop/ Surrealism. Also students could be encouraged to combine the photographic images with the printed images if you wanted to get really carried away!
  • For students who finish the initial printing early they too can spend time exploring ways to color their print.
  • One method is to work out an area on the print they want to color.
    They need to get some stencil paper and place this over the plate and mark on it the area or areas they need to color.
    Remove the paper and cut out the marked area.
    Ink up the plate and rub back. Put the plate on the table and put the stencil paper over it and tape in place. Prior to this the student will have selected a color (in oil paint, haven’t tried it in acrylic) and rolled this lightly on to a flat sheet of acrylic. Roll the selected color(s) over the stencil paper and onto the printing plate. Remove stencil and print. If the plate dries too quickly this way the student could try using a stencil over the finished print and rolling the colors directly on to the print. 


  • Students have experienced full Contextual writing in G7 are ready to become fluent in its usage.
  • Classroom discussions about Artists and themes/movements continue as in previous years.
  • Students write one contextual piece per term about either the Artist, theme or movement being studied.
  • One page will be the norm.
    a) Two images, related to the writing, will be on the page.
    b) One of these images will be drawn by the student.

Design and Collage

This lesson focuses on drawing and composition skill and is designed to help students appreciate and apply those principles.

First, the students drew trees, plants, people and found objects. To make their images, they applied the contour line method using light colored wax pencils on 9 x 12″ (23 x 31 cm) black paper. Then, they used an arbitrary sys­tem to determine where and how to apply tones and colors. Frequently, they applied the brightest and lightest tones on the edges of shapes and then gradually blended the tones until they reached the tone of the paper.

Using a tacking iron, the students applied dry mounting tissue to the back of their draw­ings. For a backing board, they used 16 x 20″ (41 x 51 cm) white illustration board. Then, they cut out their drawings with X-acto knives, saving the negative shapes and scraps.

Using two sheets of 16 x 20″ (41 x 51 cm) illustration board, the students moved the shapes around while considering a variety of arrangements. When the arrangement looked good, the students used a tacking iron to fix the shapes in place and then put their draw­ings in a dry mounting press for permanent bonding. They used low temperature tissue, which melts at 180°F (B2°C), to minimize any damage that might occur from the heat.

We discussed the many design factors the students should consider:

how to arrange shapes; clustering and density of shapes; orientation and structural axis of shapes; overlapping shapes; repetition of shapes; size variation; balance (symmetry and asymmetry); unity and variety; figure and ground relationships; colors and values; and linear variation and closure.

Then, the students evaluated their projects using this criteria:

1) drawing skills; 2) design and com­positional factors; and 3) craftsmanship.

Drawing: Expressive Line

Purpose:    To use line patterns and contour line shapes for expressive purposes. Emphasis is on use of ordinary objects for subject matter.

Materials: White drawing paper, Assorted colors of thin-line felt-tipped markers

Process:     Discuss use of line to create textural-pattern effects in drawings. Show how
master artists exploit these effects for expressive purposes—i.e., surprise, conflict, rhythm, harmony, excitement, power. Also stress how pattern-texture lines
add definition to drawing—i.e., small broken lines for sandpaper; narrow, consecutive lines for corduroy fabric; thin, curved lines for fish scales.

Have students experiment and create a variety of descriptive and expressive line patterns. After this exercise, show students illustrations/photographs of animals. Have them select one illustration for their subject and interpret it in a line texture-pattern drawing. After they draw basic form of their subject, encourage them to enhance it with line patterns and repeated shapes.

After animal form is completed, direct students to develop background line effects to either obscure or emphasize their drawing. Critique finished drawings. Are patterns expressive? How so? Are patterns appropriate tor animal forms? Do they work well in the background?

Drawing: Hands in Contour

Beginning art students are often leery of their first drawing. They fear that their lack of ability will be visible to all. This project is designed to improve their skills and build their confidence.

Using an overhead projector, I draw a contour of my hand using a pen on acetate. I keep up a continuous commentary to retain students’ attention: “I begin my drawing by placing my left hand in a relaxed pose. I decide on one point along the edge, or contour, of my hand for the starting point. I emphasize that the pencil point and the point the eyes focus on are the same because they should be thought of as being connected. When one moves, so does the other.

At this point, I interject that it is impossible to look at your hand once and draw a complete contour drawing of it—you can’t memorize every detail. You will be able to remember sections at a time. I look carefully, I draw; I look carefully, I draw I ask myself questions: How much does this line curve? Does it slant right or left? Is it closer to horizontal or vertical?

A contour drawing follows the outside, or silhouette, of your hand, as well as the interior. After demonstrating, I distribute white drawing paper and a pencil to each student. They are instructed to draw their hand in seven different positions: holding a pencil or paintbrush; holding a small seashell; and holding a pair of scissors; and four side views.

Students go over the lines with a black felt tip marker. Using scissors and X-acto knives for interior openings, the hands are cut out and arranged so that they overlap, using radial, symmetrical or asymmetrical balance. Next, the hands are attached to a construction paper background. The out­come is a unified composition—a lesson that encourages knowledge and skills, and builds confidence.

Metal Repousse: Medallions, Medals, and Coins

Medallions, medals or coins, small enough to hold in the hand and admire at close range, are sculpture in Sow relief. They are used to honor, to celebrate or to com­memorate an event or a life. During the classical period of ancient Greece, the is­land of Sicily reached a high point in the art of coin design.

Students can produce a relief sculpture that is impressive. Heavy duty aluminum foil can be stretched over an arrangement of cardboard shapes. Use a heavy piece of cardboard for the base and cut shapes from thinner board, varying the size. Glue the shapes in place. Cut the piece of foil gener­ously and large enough to wrap around to the back side. Place foil, shiny side up, on the cardboard and burnish with a finger­nail, slightly stretching the foil over the edges of the cardboard. Begin in the center and work toward the edges. Texture and patterns can be added with a very dull pen­cil. Repeated designs help to unify the com­position. A final, optional step is to cover the entire piece with black printing ink, di­luted with turpentine. Immediately wipe the surface with a soft rag leaving ink in the low areas. Shine some areas for an extra spar­kle. When dry, mount on a neutral back­ground for display. In order to wear around the neck, thread a ribbon through a hole or make a loop on the backside.

Design: The Mosaic Mural

Purpose: To encourage students to collaborate in creating a mural. Emphasis is on individ­ual contributions to the whole using nonobjective composition conventions.

Materials- Roll of Kraft or butcher paper (36″; 91 cm wide) □ Acrylic or tempera paint □ Pastels □ Felt-tipped markers □ Pencils,  Brushes □ Scissors □ Tape

Process- Cut or tape length of roll paper to fit area to be covered by mural. Look at and discuss nonobjective images, such as works by Joan Miro or Alexander Calder. Emphasize importance of color, line and shape to achieve spatial effects, coher­ency of composition, expressiveness/meaning, etc.

Have students scribble freely on one side of mural paper to achieve rhythmic patterning/composition. Develop mural theme if desired. When composition is finished, turn paper over and draw a mosaic-like grid on back—make note of relationship of grid shapes to each other. Cut out and distribute one to each student. Have students enhance design on front of their grid panels with color, line and texture.                                                        .

When finished, reassemble grids, tape together on back and critique. Are color schemes effective? expressive? consistent? Is spacial illusion evident? Is mosa­ic/mural well crafted?