Monday, August 18, 2014

Newsletter August 18th, 2014

Dear Parents and Guardians, 

I just wanted to touch base with you about the exciting things that your students are doing in the art room at Jefferson Middle School. They will be keeping their artwork at school in their portfolio. I display most of the work in the hallway. Please encourage your students to take pictures of their artwork (should they have a device) for you to see!!

Please see below per grade level: 

8th: These students, for the most part, have jumped right back into their old routine. They know the drill, know how to act, know how things work and where things are, and have simply started working from day one. They made their portfolios to keep their art work in, they worked a few days creating their sketchbooks (they looked at artist Teesha Moore), they started on their skull drawings (this is the beginning of a portrait unit), and they worked on their highlighted skull drawings on black paper (drawing the highlights in white colored pencil). They have been working a week on studying the human skull so that we can move into the portrait drawings this week. 

7th: They created their portfolios to keep their artwork in. They also looked at various collage artists and worked for a few days on personalizing their sketchbooks. The students reviewed (from 6th grade) their value scales, working on hatching, cross hatching, stippling, and scribbling techniques. They caught right on. They also started working on contour drawings, where they draw very slowly and look at the items line by line. They are learning to see like an artist sees (using the "right brain"). They drew sketches of their shoes. The results were more than impressive. They worked on these for days. They also learned about negative space in art and drew chairs. They water colored the background to fill in the negative space.

The sixth graders are new to the program and are just now trying to get used to the "freedom" that middle school allows. I have these students at 2:00 each day, and they haven't had a break in hours. They are having to learn how to come in, sit quietly, get out their materials, and listen for directions. Many students took a week or so to learn that they must listen in art, just like in their other classes. They are now getting the hang of it. I am seeing great improvement and want to thank all of the supportive parents. I have wonderful things planned for these students. They will work on drawings for a few weeks, and then will move into creating wonderful paper mache sculptures, working on paintings with acrylic and water color paints, will work with cardboard sculptures, and will also work on collage and printmaking. I know that the students will enjoy the class. I am excited about what they are already doing. We have been learning about the left and the right brain and how different sides work. I have studied the works of Betty Edwards and use her research in teaching drawing. The students made their portfolios, made their sketchbooks, worked on various shading techniques (stippling, hatching, cross hatching, etc.), and have now been working on their signature monsters. They had to write their name, mirror it, and then to add detail. They had great freedom in these and the results are fantastic. 

All parents, please see the blog I will be posting pictures up there regularly. My camera recently was stolen, but I have a new one and should be better about posting pictures. Please check out the left hand side of the blog and click on the topics to see what we have done in the past. The art program in Jefferson City Schools has a long standing tradition of great work and we will continue it with your students! 

Thank you to all who have donated supplies. They are much appreciate. If any of you are artists and would like to speak with the classes, please email me at

Thanks again, 
Dr. Shana Norton

Shana Market Norton, Ed.D.
Visual Arts Instructor

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