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You're my Hero

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Keywords: Figure Drawing Supersized, Positive Character Qualities, Superhero
Subject(s): English/Language Arts, Biology, Information Skills, Reading, Animation, Writing, Special Needs, Technology, Social Skills, Art, Drama, Speech and Language, Physics, History
Grades 3 through 12
NETS-S Standard:
  • Creativity and Innovation
  • Communication and Collaboration
  • Research and Information Fluency
  • Critical Thinking, Problem Solving, and Decision Making
  • Digital Citizenship
  • Technology Operations and Concepts
View Full Text of Standards
School: Oliver Middle School, Nashville, TN
Planned By: Cyndy Bradfield
Original Author: Cyndy Bradfield, Nashville
With 5th and 6th grade I begin teaching figure drawing using a superhero theme. We use an example sheet with a hero example and a lined off space for their hero. I have changed the lesson over 15 years from the original Art Therapy Lesson I formulated in college. If you have Art books you can use the 7and a half head adolescent figure drawing examples that has been in every drawing book since I started teaching 17 years ago. You can fold the paper(81/2 by 11) into sections and draw one section at a time. Our book fair sells Manga Books so we look at those for reference as the kids love them. Students are first asked to create a Legend using at least 3 powers and write a bio of how this person became a hero. They are not allowed to use heroes that already exist . The idea must be original. Only historical weapons may be used no guns. Since many children play video games,we talk about some to generate an ideabank . I make up an example on the board and focus on the positive qualities that could benefit mankind. I later allowed a seperate assignment for a villain,so our original hero could be an uplifting example,clean-cut and wholesome.Students were encouraged to flesh out their character before drawing even took place. We then booked a computer day in the library as I have only my school computer in my room. I looked up the Marvel Comics website and found they had a create your own hero site. We took a day to create heroes on their website. The children could create their own hero and mail it to their home email. The website allows you to save 5 heroes for editing later and reconfiguring. For children who have no home computer I have two accounts and save their hero on my account. The Marvelcomics.com website also has hero and villain bios, we view these before we write our own, on my classroom computer screen. We have the video projector linked to our computers at my school. The students really get into this assignment. I even allow them to earn time on my computer when they complete their assignments, if others are still working on their drawing. This lesson alows children who often feel powerless to focus on strengths, real or imagined. In the world where to have a dream and be able to see it is the first step to realizing your potential as a human being. I also include a historical lesson about superman and the reason for his creation during World War 2. I focus on the figure being an action figure, they should be moving. After the practice sheet and computer day we draw a heroic figure on 12 by 18 paper, I prefer color pencil drawings for value quality and then you can overlay with bright markers and outline with sharpies to get the "Comic Book look". You can use Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein visuals for a Pop Art link. Don't forget to give your hero a catchy name,costumes should be school appropriate.
This assignment can be altered to make it your own. We are an increasingly visually oriented society. If we do not learn to meet the children where they are they will continue to lose interest. Technology is outpacing education, we need to catch up.
Cross-Curriculum Ideas
The oppurtunity for writing and illustrating your own story exists. Studying the human figure,anatomy, History of animation. Walt Disney as a visionary. History World War 2 exploration of the country's need for a hero DC comics Superman. Nationalism.
Collage on movement. Medieval times (Knights of the Round Table) Heroes with Code of Honor ,Introduction to Chivalry, Show Quest for Camelot, Gesture Drawing Immortality(Clay figure using a cone as armature of a person worthy of remembering think Favorite sports figure or Hometown Hero Soldiers in Iraq Pat Tillman someone who made a contribution to humanity.
Links: Link to Marvel Comics
Materials: Cause and Effect, Animation, Printers, Projector Screens
Other Items: 2 Reams 12 by 18 drawing Paper White, $10.99 each, total of $21.98
8 12 color pencils, $5.99 each, total of $47.92
8 12 color markers 1 pack per table, $3.99 each, total of $31.92
15 Black sharpie Markers, $1.59 each, total of $23.85