Recently in My Lesson Plans Category

Lesson Plan (With Lab)

Here is a lesson plan I created based of a project done earlier this semester (Project 1 Digital Art Collage). This lesson plan assumes that the class will have a complete computer lab at their disposal. The project incorporates digital collage with self-portrait design and focuses on the topics of foreground and background.

Brent Erickson

Art 3814 

Collage Self Portrait/Silhouette 

Grade Level: 8th Grade

Time Needed: 4 45 minute class session

Focus: This lesson will work as an exercise allowing students to further understand the concept of space within an artwork.


a. - Analyze how the principles of media arts such

       as repetition, unity and contrast are used in the

       creation, presentation or response to media artworks.

b. - Demonstrate use of a variety of tools,

                   materials and techniques in media arts based on the characteristics of the                               hardware and software.

c.        Students will demonstrate and understanding of foreground and background

        through use of positive and negative space.

Motivational Resources: Slideshow on collage works (examples can include Robert Rauschenberg, Henri Matisse, Max Ernst, etc...), any text with examples of collage art works, pervious class work on similar or same subject, a digital folder of stock photography and images

Art Materials: Computer lab, Desktop Computer (Mac), Photoshop CS3 (or higher), sketchbook paper, pencil, stock images

Introduction to Lesson

Collage involves the use pre-existing materials, which are incorporated into a two-dimensional surface (Kachur). Through the use of mixed media, the artist is able to create a much more distorted world than possible with other media. This can be beneficial to an artist attempting to achieve an imprecise image in their work. With this, collage work seems most appropriate as being related to the 20th century's fast and sometimes confusing pace (Kachur). Pablo Picasso did the first purposeful use of collage in fine art in 1912 (Kachur). As the technique is somewhat young in the fine art world, it has also branched off into the digital realm.

Intentionally built in the 1940's as war machines (Binkley), computers have become much more useful to the individual and the artist. The computer itself has become an excepted tool within the art community today, but still draws in some critical response. Art can be created seamlessly in a manner that challenges our knowledge of "truth" within a work (Binkley). This can be used to an artist's advantage, creating works that were once confined to his/her imagination due to physical limitations. Since the computer is a machine, the current state of things within our technological society becomes an appropriate subject within all forms of digital art.

Instructional Procedure

Class 1: Begin class with hand out for assignment explaining details and requirements of project (this will consist of a explanation of foreground, background, negative and positive space, self portrait and silhouette). Follow with a spoken explanation having students follow along with the handout. A slideshow with examples of collage art should also be display during the explanation as a source of reference and inspiration for the students. Continue the rest of class with time for sketching and idea formation. Homework will consist of a readied idea for next class.

Class 2: Class will meet and go directly to the computer lab for a short demo on basic Photoshop tools that will be useful for the assignment. After the demo, show students where the stock images can be found on the computer desktop. Allow students to begin working. Students should start creating a space for their portrait to be in, followed by a self-portrait within said space. Answer any questions. Work time will be provided for the next class session.

Class 3: Continue day as workday. Answer any questions. Inform students that next class will be a critique of their works along with a project turn in.

Class 4: Class will meet in computer lab for critique. Students will print their works on lab printer (if no printer, display works on computer screen) and individual critiques will begin. Critiques will consist of constructive feedback (encourage students to point out what works within the image and things that could be improved). The students will then turn in their work at the end of class. The instructor, based of a pre-established rubric, will grade projects. Rubric criteria will consist of timely completion, demonstration of understanding of topics covered (foreground, background, negative and positive space, self-portrait), and participation in class critique. Grades will be given back to students along with works at next class


Student work will be evaluated both in class during a critique by classmates and afterwards by the instructor, based off of a rubric. Grades will be given in an A through F fashion and returned to students after project completion.

DBAE Checklist

Art Production - Students will create self-portraits based off of digital collage

Aesthetics - Students will design a space and self-portrait that echo each other, creating            harmony throughout the work

Art History - Students will learn about collage and digital collage art foundations as well            as artist within each field

Art Criticism - Students will participate in a in-class critique



Binkley, Timothy. "Computer Art." Encyclopedia of Aesthetics. Ed. Michael Kelly.            Oxford Art Online. 5 Dec. 2009            <>.

Kachur, Lewis. "Collage." Grove Art Online. Oxford Art Online. 5 Dec. 2009            <>.

Lesson Plan (No Lab)

Here is a lesson plan based around a classroom with no available computer lab, but rather only one or two computers. The plan is based around a class-wide project where students create a stop motion/claymation music video to a chosen song.

Brent Erickson

Art 3814

Class Claymation Music Video


Grade Level: Grade 5 

Time Needed: 6 30 minute class periods

Focus: The project will focus on the student's ability to artistically interpret a given verse from a musical piece in a small group and as a whole class.


a. - Describe how photo-, video-, and sound-editing are used to create           

      original products for expressive intent.

b. - Create original works of media art to express specific artistic ideas.

c.     Prove that media arts can be used on both a small scale (group) and large scale (class) to accomplish an assigned task with continuity.

Motivational Resources: Claymation videos found on the Internet used as examples


Art Materials: Magic Model Clay, Digital Camera, Tripod, Materials for background (cardboard, construction paper, markers, scissors, pencil, colored pencils, masking tape), miscellaneous materials for character design (plastic eyes, fabric)

Introduction to Lesson

Animation is a form of media art in which visual motion is created by using a series of frames. It is produced frame by frame, which allows the artist to animate inanimate objects, making them appear to move on their own ("Animation").  Claymation introduces clay as the manipulated material for the animation process. Will Vinton was the first person to coin and then trademark the term claymation in 1976 (Vinton). Vinton introduced animation that was 3D to a audience that was only used to 2D animation, thus opening the opportunity for more advancements in animation. From this new form of 3D animation came the 3D CG animation that is largely present in our current animation processes (Vinton).

Instructional Procedure

Class 1: Introduce class to lesson with quick over view of lesson accompanied by a handout further explaining the details and requirements of the project. Inform students through a presentation about the method of stop motion and that they will be choosing a song together as a class to make a claymation music video. The construction will occur in small groups, each being assigned a verse or segment of the song chosen. Songs should be split into at least 5 parts to create a sense of diversity, as should the class be split into an equal amount of small groups. The song will be selected by popular vote, based on 3-5 songs initially chosen by the instructor. After the song and groups are selected, the instructor will provide material such as YouTube videos for references and inspiration. The class will end with homework consisting of material gathering for the next meeting.

Class 2: Class will meet and character design will begin. The small groups will be and be assigned their verses from the song, which will then initiate brainstorming character and scenery design. Students will be asked to collaborate on paper and begin formulating ideas for their designs, which will then begin to be constructed during class. Clean up will be expected within the last 5 to 10 minutes of class.

Class 3: Class will meet and pick up where it left off. Character design and scenery set up with continue. A space in the room for filming will be determined and set up for any groups need reference for sizing. Any groups finishing design are encouraged to start filming. Assist any groups that seem behind. The goal for the day is for all design to be completed, ready for filming next class. Clean up within 10 minutes of class ending.

Class 4: Start class with filming of the animation. Encourage groups waiting to contribute any feedback about the current filming (although enforce the fact that each group has their own interpretation). Continue filming until end of class.

Class 5: Same as Class 4. Once filming is done, Instructor will do any editing outside of class.

Class 6: Class meets for a presentation of the final product. After viewing, each student will be given an evaluation based off a rubric, which entails his/her grade for the project. At a later time the video will be given to each student in a DVD disk format.


Evaluation will be based off of a rubric, constructed before the project is introduced. The criteria the rubric will cover will group participation, demonstration of understanding of assigned verse through animation, and completion in a timely manner. A grade will then be given after each area of the rubric is assessed.

DBAE Checklist

Art production - Students will create a claymation, stop motion animation

Aesthetics - Students will design characters and scenery based off of song interpretation

Art History - Students will explore animation and learn about its founding

Art Criticism - Students will be encourage to provide suggestions and praise for their            own and their classmates works during production



"Animation." Oxford Art Online. Web. 4 Dec. 2009.               <>.

Vinton, Will. "Will Vinton's History (and the History of Claymation and Computer             Animation)." Will Vinton. 2005. Web. 04 Dec. 2009. <>.

Storyboard animation lesson plan

Storyboarding has become a very important, if not key, part of any sort of visual experience. Anything that has a story can include a storyboard. The concept is simple. In pre-production, the story in its entirety is visualized through panels of stills from the story. This technique allows the creator to view the scene, but in a less costly way. This also opens up the chance to change anything before production starts, making any project more efficient. Disney is credited with first "coining" the storyboard idea in the 1930's (There is also debate that it occurred in the 1920's with the production of Steam Boat Willy). With this explanation, I have a video that can provide visual images to what I'm explaining for a better understanding. 


So now that the idea of a storyboard is understood, we can start to create a lesson plan to incorporate the storyboarding technique into an animation lesson. A general idea for a story is needed first, which can be one you create, one you create with your students, or a pre-existing story you'd like to use. After the story is chosen, break the plot of the story down, so you will can get a better picture of each scene. From here you will need

  • 3x5 notecards (preferably blank)
  • any writing utensil (pencils/pens/colored pencils or markers if you wish to add color)
  • a surface to tack or tape the storyboard cards to
From here, break the story up into sections, and then into scenes. The idea is to break the idea down to close to, but not quite, a frame by frame series of images. Once sections/scenes are assigned, all that remains is illustrating. With all the images complete, tack/tape the cards to the wall to create a linear model of the story. Here is where contemplation can be allowed to make any changes deemed worthy for the story.

The lesson is simple and provides a new insight towards the way one looks at visual narratives. It can be ideal for almost any age group, only image rendering skills are required for production. It is also a quick introduction to a larger production or project, offering a clearer image of what the students aim to create.