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Middle [6th-8th] Lesson Plan

Middle School Painting Basics

Created on January 21, 2015 by Fralick

This painting lesson is for beginning painters. It allows them to build off of previous skills like graphing drawing, value identification, composition and many others. I spend weeks focusing on foundational skills before introducing this to my students. If you lay the groundwork, this can be an incredible and versatile lesson.

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The student will have the ability to create a self portrait painting that focuses on Contrast, Value, & Graph Drawing.

*There is also a PhotoShop Element that could be used as a Learning goal

Poster board
Water soluble Pencils
Acrylic Paint
Paint Brushes
Plastic Wrap

Need these materials? Visit Blick!

1. Discuss and demonstrate how to take a self portrait. Keep in mind that most middle school student have no idea what good self portrait looks like. You will have to give a lecture and specific objectives to get the results that you require.

2. Have students take a self portrait and upload to their computer.

3. Demonstrate the photo manipulation techniques.
*See the attached handout for directions.

4. Allow students to manipulate their image. Use the handout that I have attached for guidance for you and your students.

1. Explain and demonstrate how to Gesso the poster board.
- Paint an X on one side (this will prevent the poster board from buckling.
- Paint the rest of the surface. Allow to dry.
-It never hurts to talk about proper usage.

1. Discuss the concept of Value. What is it? How it can be created? Why it is necessary?
2. Demonstrate how to create a tint and shading scale using an Monochromatic Color Scheme (Black, White and color). Focus on mixing and painting techniques
-Always mix your dark colors into light colors.
-For quality, don't overload your brush.
-Take your time
3. Students should then create their own Tint & Shade (Value) Scale.

I usually teach the Graphing Technique in previous lessons, but it is always a great idea to review.

1. Instruct the students to graph their drawing using a water soluble pencils (Aqua Sketch, or Watercolor Pencils). I use these pencils because they can be hidden easily.

2. Demonstrate painting once a majority of students are ready. I always begin with my darks first.
Focus on
-Identifying Tints & Shade
-Mixing tints and shades
-Not overloading your Brush

3. Allow students to work.

4. Demonstrate clean up procedure so that you're not stuck with dried acrylic paint in your pallets.

See attachment

The success of this assignment depends on chunking the material. This is especially true for younger learners. Take time, give feedback, and review often.

This lesson is also versatile! The last two artwork images are adaptations of this assignment. One with construction paper (hot and cool colors) the other is a painting that uses high contrast and unusual surface.


Visual Arts Standard 1:
Understanding and applying media, techniques, and processes

[5-8] Students intentionally take advantage of the qualities and characteristics of art media, techniques, and processes to enhance communication of their experiences and ideas
[5-8] Students select media, techniques, and processes; analyze what makes them effective or not effective in communicating ideas; and reflect upon the effectiveness of their choices

Visual Arts Standard 3:
Choosing and evaluating a range of subject matter, symbols, and ideas

[5-8] Students integrate visual, spatial, and temporal concepts with content to communicate intended meaning in their artworks

Shape, Contrast, Color/Value



  • Fralick 01/21/2015 at 08:40am
    January Blick Contest