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WANTED: Art Teachers Willing to Share!


Art teacher Pete Sotelo is looking to add to his "collection" of lesson plans by collaborating with other art teachers online. Here, he offers three of his best activities. Do you have an idea to share with him? Included: Take a look at Web pages created by a handful of other art teachers!

Pete Sotelo, an art teacher at Wilson Middle School in Yakima, Washington, attempted to contact other art teachers with a post to Middle-L, a listserv to which he belongs. Although the Internet has made it easier for educators to communicate, Sotelo has found that it isn't always as simple as one might think to get in contact with peers.

"I work in an area of Washington that has many strong art programs," said Sotelo. "All the art teachers meet at least once a year at the Central Washington State Fair. The fair board gives us a huge area to showcase our art programs. We meet for the day to hang an art show and spend part of that time meeting new art teachers and sharing ideas and projects we have had success with in the previous school year. There are about 30 of us from at least 20 different school districts in Yakima County. We have been passing around the same ideas for years and years."


Sotelo desired a means of communicating with art teachers outside the county's circle, so he looked to the Internet. "Many of the teachers here in our building subscribe to the Middle-L list and have passed on information to me about other art teachers who have posted something or other on the list. I subscribed to the Middle-L list and ended up communicating with a lot of other exploratory teachers," he said.

"I wanted to communicate with other art teachers and exchange ideas just like we do when we meet here in Yakima," Sotelo told Education World. "I posted a message specifically looking for art teachers who wanted to share ideas. I know there are not a lot of art teachers listed with Middle-L, so I asked people who were listed to please make copies of my request and pass them on to the art teachers in their buildings. I was waiting in great anticipation for replies. I had visions of sharing ideas with this huge network of art teachers all across the country -- maybe even the world!"

The Yakima School District has been progressive in incorporating the Internet into its classrooms. Sotelo has computers in his room and has access to a computer lab, digital cameras, scanners, and other equipment. He was eager to put this technology to use in communicating with other art teachers!

The first responses Sotelo received were from classroom teachers who were seeking his help in finding art projects to go with units they were teaching. "What a huge let down -- not a single art teacher!" said Sotelo of his initial messages. "Three weeks later, I received a reply from an art teacher on the East Coast who said my message had been passed on to her by a colleague. I have been in communication with that art teacher and found out [she does] not have the computer facilities I have access to and sharing will take awhile. It is something we are working on."

Undaunted, Sotelo is still looking for teachers who are on-line and would like to collaborate. If you are an art teacher who would like to share ideas, you may reach him by e-mail at [email protected].


Sotelo has several art lessons that he enjoys giving to other educators to use with their students. He explains three of them here. This generous art teacher invites you to try one of these activities with your students and share your impressions with him!


Cartoon Work SheetPumpkin Cartoon

I spend one class period going over the work sheet and have the students copy what I am drawing on the chalkboard into their sketchbooks. Once I have covered everything on the work sheet, I tell them that they have all the tools needed to create their own cartoons. The lesson is to take inanimate objects and turn them into cartoons. Example: If you planted a garden and everything in it came to life and had a party, what would it look like? Other ideas I use are things in a refrigerator, things in a toolbox, and things found in the kitchen. The cartoon must use all of the emotions and ideas presented on the work sheet. Students must draw a minimum of five things. Fun project!


Portrait Drawing I use this drawing assignment with my seventh- and eighth-grade students as an introduction to portrait drawing. It is important that students find success the first time they attempt this type of drawing, so I choose to use the grid drawing method. Students have previously worked with shading and a simple practice grid exercise to ready themselves for this assignment. Each student uses a photograph of himself or herself or a family member. I photocopy the picture, and we draw 1-inch grids on the copy. We cut drawing paper twice the size of the grid picture we are using. If the picture is 7 inches by 8 inches, the finished drawing is done with a 2-inch grid and will be 14 inches by 16 inches. The drawings are done with pencil and color pencils. Students like this assignment.


Tempra Painting

This is a three-part lesson that my eighth graders do. Each student does an 8-inch by 11-inch color wheel and tint and tone sheet before starting this painting. (See samples below.) Once students have a basic understanding of mixing colors, we do a painting. I like for them to use pictures of foods because of the many different color choices. The students search old magazines for photographs of foods, and we use an opaque projector to put a pencil outline of the various shapes on to a sheet of 15-inch by 22-inch watercolor paper. The students then mix and paint in the colors. This assignment makes students very aware of all the different colors needed to accomplish a realistic painting.

Color Wheel
Sotelo recommends that teachers check out Share 105, a program put together by the educational service district in central Washington. "It has more than 1,000 different projects put together by students using Hyperstudio," reported Sotelo. "A lot of art material is shared on this site."

Keeping up with his Home Page is a continuous task for Sotelo. He changes it daily and hopes to complete it soon. He invites everyone to see what students are doing in his classroom through this page.


  • Madrid-Waddington Central School Art Department Students and teachers will enjoy a visit to this high school art page. There are links to art resources and descriptions of the art classes offered at the school. Also see a virtual image of the school in the four seasons!

  • Abilene Middle School Art Class Check out Alicia Holaday's art class from Abilene (Kansas) Middle School. This site is still under construction, but it provides a useful set of links to art museums and other art resources on-line.

  • East Alton-Wood River Community High School Art Department Find out about art classes offered at this high school and meet the faculty. In addition, you can view student work in the "art gallery." A great list of art links is also provided.

Article by Cara Bafile
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Updated 3/1/2002