We enjoy incorporating art into our unit studies. There are many ways to accomplish this, but one of my favorites is to have my children do a lesson from Draw Write Now, a series of books containing beginning drawing lessons and handwriting practice for primary and elementary students. The author, Marie Hablitzel, developed this collection of lessons for her second-grade students after seeing that they were becoming frustrated with their drawing skills and bored with tedious handwriting drills. Starting with the idea that drawing and handwriting require many of the same skills, Mrs. Hablitzel began designing lessons that combined the two. She also integrated these lessons with other subject areas such as reading, history, geography, and science. The result was students who became enthusiastic about learning to draw and write.
The series consists of eight volumes which can be purchased separately or as a set:
Book 1 – Farm Life, Kids and Critters, Storybook Characters
Book 2 – Christopher Columbus, Autumn Harvest, The Weather
Book 3 – Native Americans, North America, The Pilgrims
Book 4 – The Polar Regions, The Arctic, The Antarctic
Book 5 – The United States, From Sea to Sea, Moving Forward
Book 6 – Animal Habitats: On Land, Pond and Rivers, Oceans
Book 7 – Animals of the World: Tropical Forests, Northern Forests, Forests Down Under
Book 8 – Animals of the World: Savanna Animals, Grassland Animals, Mountain and Desert Animals
You can see the wide variety of topics, which makes it easy to find a drawing lesson that relates to what your students are learning about.
Each volume contains approximately twenty-four lessons, laid out in a clear, straight-forward manner. Each lesson includes five parts:
1. Introduce the subject – Information and questions are scattered throughout the books that the teacher can use to spark the students’ interest in the subject they will be drawing. There are also suggestions for books related to the topics.
2. Draw the subject – This is my favorite part of each lesson because the author has simplified the drawing process by breaking it down into easy steps, which are pictured for the student. The teacher is encouraged to help students see the objects they are drawing as combinations of lines and simple shapes.
3. Draw the background – Students are encouraged to be creative and use their imaginations as they add details to their drawings.
4. Practice handwriting – Students copy text that relates to the subject of the drawing. I’ve found that my children are much more excited about handwriting practice when it relates to something they have drawn.
5. Color the drawing – Tips are included for the best ways to color certain shapes so as to enhance the child’s drawing and not detract from it.
Each book is rounded out with additional information that I have found very helpful:
- Teaching tips that give great insight and ideas for helping students to succeed at the five parts of each lesson.
- One lesson in each book is dedicated to helping the student draw something from their imagination, as they are encouraged to think about things like how people move, positioning of a horizon line, choosing the size of a subject and deciding upon its placement on the paper, and more.
- “Learn More” sections that contain supplemental information about the subjects being drawn.
We have thoroughly enjoyed the Draw, Write, Now series. After using these lessons, my reluctant artist has gained confidence in his drawing ability and even enjoys drawing now. And since I’ve never had an art lesson in my life, but have always wanted to learn to draw, it has been fun for me to do these lessons along with my children.
Written by Shannon, who enjoys learning to draw alongside her three children. She can be found blogging about her family’s homeschool adventures at Song of My Heart.