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Tapping into Artistic Talent: Lessons for Gifted Students

written by: Linda M. Rhinehart Neas • edited by: Elizabeth Stannard Gromisch • updated: 1/4/2012

Enthusiasm is important when working with students, especially students learning above grade level. Art lesson plans for gifted students, therefore, must tap their passion. As Van Gogh once wrote, "...one must never let the fire go out in one's soul, but keep it burning."

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    The Challenge

    The objective to any lesson plans for exceptional students is to challenge them to learn, not only how to create a particular art form, but the history, techniques and people behind the art.

    Begin by assessing prior knowledge. Gifted students will inevitably know something about art, especially if this is where their passion lies. Finding out what they know ahead of time will keep the class from becoming boring. Start by making a mind-map. In the center, place the word or words for the unit. For instance, if you will be teaching Pop Art, place that phrase in the center. Have the students take turns adding what they know to the map. Letting them do the writing allows them to be active participants.

    Once you learn what they already know, you will be better able to fill-in the gaps so that they have a well-grounded understanding of the subject.

    When preparing the assignment, think outside the box. Give students a wide range of possibilities to complete the task. Encourage them to use their creativity, rather than copying the work of the other artist.

    Assessment for these art lessons should include how well the student grasped the concept, how well they were able to share what they learned with others and how creative they were in producing their interpretation of the art form.

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    Conrad Bo and the Superstroke Art Movement

    483px-SelbstPortrait VG2 

    Self-Portrait by Vincent Van Gogh

    441px-Giacometti-Bronzeplastiken-01-MJ 

    L’Homme qui marche (The Man Who Walks) Sculpture of Alberto Giacometti

    Prior Knowledge: Ask students if they recognize this artist's name or the movement. If they are completely unfamiliar with him, ask them what they know about Alberto Giacometti, Pablo Picasso and Vincent Van Gogh, all of whom influenced Bo in creating the Superstroke Movement. Students should be able to tell you that the bold and unconventional brush strokes, or the wild and irregular sculpture made these artists famous.

    Materials Needed:

    • notebook for reflective writing
    • paints, pastels, watercolors
    • canvas, art paper
    • sculpting medium
    • brushes and other implements necessary to create artwork

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    Task One – Research

    Have students research Conrad Bo and the Superstroke Art Movement. Who was he? Why is his work important? Who influenced him? What other works of art, other than those shown them, represent the Superstroke concept.

    In 2008, Bo wrote a Manifesto. What is an art manifesto? Why are they important?

    Have them find and list several of the ideas in Bo's Manifesto. They will use these as guidelines for their work.

    In addition, have the students keep a reflective journal throughout the process. They will use these thoughts later for a reflective paper.

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    Task Two – Create

    Once completing their research, students are ready to begin their own artwork. Explain that their artwork will be exhibited. Students need to be thinking of invitations/announcements for the exhibit. Ask which students wish to prepare the invitation/announcements for the exhibit.

    Each student picks the medium of their choice to create a visual art piece that demonstrates their understanding of the concept of the Superstroke Art Movement. This process should take several classes, as they will need to produce a draft before creating their final piece.

    Suggestion: since exhibiting their work is the end process, request that they keep their pieces relatively small; large pieces take longer to create.

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    Task Three – Exhibit

    Decide ahead of time where the students' work is to be exhibited. While the students finish their work, begin planning the exhibit (what will go where). Allow the students to assist in creating the space.

    Remind them that they not only will need to number and hang or place their work aesthetically, they will need to create a short — one paragraph — synopsis of their artwork to be printed out on small cards placed beside the work.

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    Task Four – Reflection

    Using the notes from their reflective journals, students write a reflection paper on the process of researching, creating and presenting their work. A reflection paper is about feelings. Instruct students that they are giving a first-hand account of how they, personally, felt about the assignment; what was difficult/easy; what changes they wish to see and how they feel they grew in the process. In addition, papers should display a well-rounded understanding of the Superstroke Movement.

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    Gifted and Talented

    Students with exceptional gifts and talents blossom when allowed to share their passion. Lessons that encourage their inquiry, fuel their passion and provide an outlet for their creativity also develop their skills of observation, research, expression and communication.

    Modify this example of art lesson plans for gifted students to cover any art movement. After all, the artists that came before influence the artists, now.

    References:

    Resources:

    • Conrad Bo Paintings in Superstroke: Papetti's profound influence on Conrad Bo, and Superstroke, 2011, Conrad Bo, http://conradbo.blogspot.com/2011/06/papettis-profound-influence-on-conrad.html
    • Conrad Bo: General Background of My Art, http://conradbo.yolasite.com/