Preschool students should be encouraged to engage in process art, free drawing, painting at the easel, and sensory play. As they become more confident with their fine motor skills (pencil grasp, hand-eye coordination), their drawings will begin to resemble more recognizable objects. When this happens, it’s a great time for teachers to offer a directed drawing lesson!
The idea is a simple one: teach children to draw simple shapes that work together to make a picture. Children learn by following along – babies mimic sounds and facial expressions, toddlers learn to walk by watching others walk around them, and students learn to write by following examples. Drawing is a skill that students can learn by following along!
An Example of a Directed Drawing Lesson
- Sturdy paper
- Markers or tempera sticks
- Watercolor paints
To begin teaching students to draw a pig, start with the pig’s circular nose, head, mouth, and eyes. Next, guide the students to add ears, a plump pink body, a curly tail, and a mud puddle. Demonstrate this on chart paper or a large piece of paper taped to the wall at the front of the room. Students should follow along step by step at their seats or at the circle rug – whichever works best for the class setup.
The teacher should demonstrate writing some words on the paper as well. Keep it simple! Writing “My Pig” or some other easy phrase is best for early lessons! After students complete their drawing, they can use the watercolors to add personal touches, backgrounds, and other details to make each picture genuinely unique and eye-catching!
Why Farm Animals?
Most students know how farm animals look. They are familiar, friendly, and colorful too! As a bonus, most farm animals can be drawn recognizably with only a few simple shapes. Putting a theme with it also helps students find similarities – can the same shapes be used to make a pig’s head and a duck’s head? How is a cow’s tail different from a horse or a pig? Using a farm theme, students will want to create the entire barnyard and get loads of practice to do so!
Make Directed Drawing a Special Occasion!
A directed drawing lesson doesn’t have to take place in their daily journal. Doing it as a stand-alone lesson where students can then paint or color their creations incentivizes them to focus and enjoy the process. As an added bonus, they can take their creation home, or the teacher can use it as a fantastic classroom display!
The results from a directed drawing lesson are astounding! Students will incorporate this skill into their other work and create journal entries, drawings, and paintings that are more detailed and sophisticated.
Some Notes About Directed Drawing
What Directed Drawing IS:
- An exercise in following directions and listening skills
- A shape review
- Practice paying attention to details
- A way to build self-confidence in reluctant artists
- A lesson in assembling parts to make a whole
- A transferable skill that is learned and then applied to independent drawings
- Another chance to practice the lines used to form letters
What Directed Drawing IS NOT:
- A “cookie-cutter” craft
- Restrictive to the artist
- Limiting creativity
Students will likely be amazed at their own artwork. They will carry the lessons that they have learned during directed drawing to other art that they create at the art easel and in their journals.
Use these directed drawing activities during your unit of study all about the farm. Get 10 days of detailed daily lesson plans, plus math and literacy centers HERE: