Redwood Valley School District
Middle School Art
Hi fellow art makers! My name is Amanda Harms and I have been teaching Middle School Art (grades 5-8) for 8 years! My philosophy is to educate students about art using history as our guide. We study famous artworks by the masters, practice different techniques and experiment with various mediums of art. My curriculum focuses on the Elements of Art and the Principles of Design. Students will learn how art is made, why it can be important historically, and why we must respect and appreciate all works of art!


Van Gogh's Bedroom at Arles!!!
For my fellow art PLCer's! Here are a few, easy directions to add your files and youtube videos to you page!

To add a file to your page:
*Click Edit on the top of your page.
*Go to File.
*Click Upload File.
*Click on the file you would like to add. This will automatically be uploaded and then you click on this upload and it will be on your page!
*Helpful Hint: Make sure you have your cursor where you want this file to be placed.*

To add a youtube video to your page:
*Click Edit on the top of your page.
*Go to Widget.
*Click on Video.(Left Side)
*Click on Youtube.
*This will give you a list of directions to copy and paste the embedded code for the video of your choice.
*Once you save this, it will be on your page!
*Helpful Hint: Make sure you have your cursor where you want this file to be placed.*

Who, What, When, and Where?
Students are bombarded with so much information daily, so what I have found works well is to simplify! What do you want your students to learn from the lesson or unit you are teaching? This is the strategy I often use:

Who: Who are we studying?
What: What type of art work are we learning about?
When: What year did this movement/technique start?
Where: Where did this movement/technique take place?

Here is an example of the 4 W's in action!
Who: Leonardo da Vinci
What: Mona Lisa and the Renaissance
Where: Italy
When: Early 1500's


One thing I love to do with my students is get them talking about art! Here are a bunch of short bellwork topics I use in class. Each grade level keeps a sketchbook and we may start or end class using these visuals as guides!

Another focus in our classroom is studying art styles. Here are some visuals to give the students some ideas of the characteristics of each style. Once again, for middle school, I have simplified our study down to six art styles. I really love using the SMARTBOARD...I usually erase our notes for the day and see if the students can fill things in the next day for review. Or you could save your class notes if you so choose!

Here are some pictures (from a slide show I have put together) of myself visiting the MOMA in NYC. It is a great way to give the kids an idea of what an art museum looks like and how big the paintings are in real life! *Still trying to figure out how to get the whole slideshow on here!*
Waterlilies by Claude Monet
Starry Night by Vincent van Gogh


Persistence of Memory by Salvador Dali
Intro to the Elements of Art

Another resource I like to use when introducing art to my 5th graders!

A fun guessing game that shows students how ridiculously priced famous art work can be! Have them guess first, then go through it again! It's a great way to get them talking about art!

My students always love to see what each famous artist looks like! Here is a slideshow with both a picture of the artist and one of their famous masterpieces!

See the World!!!
I have been fortunate enough to travel the world and because of this, my curriculum has become much stronger. Here is a lesson I do with my 5th grade students about aboriginal art!

Art Critiquing Made Simple!

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My collegue Jamie Steffl and myself feel being able to talk and write about art is so very important to our students. Here are the 4 steps we are using to help our students with this process!Descibe, Analyze, Interpret, and Evaluate!

Use this handout for any artwork you wish to critique in class! It is a great way to incorporate writing into your cirriculum!

These are the required drawings I have the 8th graders complete as a final project. They receive the entire quarter to complete them. This is a great tool for those students who finish early and need something to do!

I make my 7th grade art students sign a clay contract before we do the clay unit. By doing so everyone's expectations are clear...and so are the consequences!

I really love Impressionism. I use this resource to show the students some examples of masters! We also talk about the characteristics of this art style.

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Students seem to love Pollock's work. They love to use his art style because to them, it looks easy...and messy! But in this lesson, we look a bit more closely at his purpose and technique.
M.C. Escher was an intriguing artist. Many students enjoy examining his work, but not reproducing it. In this lesson we study how math, patterns, and value are the key components to the success of Escher's works! We also learn a new vocabulary word: TESSELLATION!

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8th grade Propaganda Posters

What a great way to incorporate history into your art classroom!

8th Grade "Turning a Phrase" Project with Robert Deyber

This is such a fun concept for the kids to see! I show this slideshow first and allow the students to guess what each picture's title is. After awhile, you will see that your students get better at guessing! This project also lends itself to teaching the techniques and styles of Surrealism. This project is really fun to display in your school's hallways!

Eyrie by Dave Wolter

This short movie was created by my college art colleague, Dave, during his education at Cal Arts. This video was given rave reviews by many animation critics and won Dave his current employment with Dreamworks Animation Studios! I use this video to show my students how far hard work and great art can take you! Enjoy!