This no-prep, Alexander Calder-inspired art lesson introduces students to blind contour drawing, a warm-up technique in which the artist avoids looking at the paper while drawing with a continous line. The lesson is introduced with an observation and discussion of one of Alexander Calder’s wire sculptures, which is then used as inspiration for blind contour face drawings.
This simple yet challenging lesson needs no special materials, just white copy paper and colored markers. It’s perfect for any time when students need a little breather, as an introduction to a drawing unit, or as an emergency lesson plan for a substitute. This interesting, quick activity can help students think and draw with more creativity, especially those who are often blocked by perfectionist tendencies.
Extend the lesson by reading and writing about Alexander Calder and by having students assess their own art work using an art reflection worksheet.
One-Minute Faces is bundled with two other lessons in Fun With Abstract Faces
This lesson includes the following:
- national visual arts standards information
- a list of art concepts and skills addressed
- a list of materials needed
- targeted art vocabulary and related vocabulary
- suggestions for looking at and discussing art work by Alexander Calder
- a suggestion for related read-aloud
- detailed steps for introducing the lesson
- step-by-step directions for art-making
- ideas for extending or varying the lesson
- directions and suggestions for looking at and discussing student art
- photographs of student work for reference
Also included in this resource:
• About Alexander Calder - informational text artist biography
• Thinking about Alexander Calder - a “draw and write” response worksheet
• About My Art - an art reflection worksheet for students to write about their own art work
This art lesson is designed to teach art appreciation, artist behavior, and art analysis, and to foster authentic art-making and art education.
National Core Visual Arts Standards are listed at the beginning of the lesson.
Because I teach in California, this lesson also includes a list of the California Visual Arts Standards addressed for suggested grade levels. Please note that listed grade levels are suggestions only; any of these lessons can be simplified or made more complex to work for any elementary grade.
Related art lessons and resources:
Art With Faces
Abstract Art For Kids
Artist Biographies for Kids Volume One
and Volume Two
More art-making ideas and suggestions:
Integrating Art Across the Curriculum Sampler Bundle
- a collection of five integrated Art lessons
Making Time For Art
-- a free download
Art Task Cards
-- for early finishers or art centers
Need art lessons to last an entire school year?
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I am a retired elementary classroom teacher, a former art teacher, an artist and a writer. I have a Multiple Subjects credential, a Single Subject credential for Art and English, LDS/ESL certification, a Master’s Degree in Elementary Education with a Mathematics focus, and Montessori certification. I have worked with all elementary grades, and with special groups including ELL, GATE, and At-Risk students. Creating Art With Kids
lessons and resources are designed to foster student creativity, choice, and independence, and to encourage authentic art-making. Consideration is given to developmental appropriateness, differentiation possibilities, and teacher individuality. For this reason, directions are general, expectations are open-ended, and clip art on student pages is kept to a minimum.
Ways to connect with me:
Blog: Creating Art With Kids
Facebook: Creating Art With Kids
Pinterest: Renee Goularte
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