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Brainstorming for a Grade 2 Class

I've been asked to give a speech/presentation in the new year to a group of Grade 2 children explaining "What is Graphic Design?"

With 7 year olds, I would like to have them coming away having learned something (obviously), but I'd also like to make it fun and interactive for them; perhaps leaving with some sort of design keepsake.

If you feel like it, please leave any quick thoughts you have on this project as I am currently working on it. So far, my artillery will include:

My laptop and aircard

Thanks for your participation!
3dog

Paddle faster, I hear banjos.

240 pencils

Pictures and bright colours,

Keep the info to short bursts, 7 year olds have the shortest attention span.

Humour might help,

Treats for correct answers are always good (chocolate etc.)

Creating the schools logo using potato prints or hand painting is always good

and just remember that some kids are alot smarter than us adults.

16 billion colours and you choose the one i cant create !??!

Leaky Penny's picture
1348 pencils

If you can get a projector, that would be cool, maybe show them some examples of childrens books illustrators, or animators. Kids are ADD so you need to keep them hooked somehow. When all else fails, throw some candy at them!

Leaky Penny
www.leakypenny.com

We artists are indestructible, even in a prison cell or concentration camp I would be almighty in my own world of art. Even if I had to paint my pictures with my wet tongue on the dusty floor of my cell. - Pablo Picasso

monkey1979's picture
144 pencils

Print out logos nice and big and in colour, see how many they recognise. This could be a good opener to explain the very basics for design in a way that will keep them occupied. They could then brand their class. Maybe by making flags. By asking questions they could make a rough breif (Happy / School / Pet Hamster ect), then let them throw paints around and have fun.

gwells's picture
1435 pencils

kinda hard to get the concept across at that age, but see what you can find about design explorers, a program AIGA developed to teach 5th/6th graders about what graphic design is. i worked with beth singer on a presentation team with an elementary school for it a few years ago (2002?). even with a little bit older kids, it's a tough concept.

Here are a couple of links about it to give you the general idea.

http://books.google.com/books?id=nlYRK7tlmbQC&pg=PA60&lpg=PA60&dq=%22design+explorers%22+aiga&source=bl&ots=Hn99CU9jNW&sig=XLfQmzIjaI1b2sS7ZxiNf2wCDpQ&hl=en&ei=jy8US5f3EoG4NdiYiTM&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=11&ved=0CCoQ6AEwCg#v=onepage&q=%22design%20explorers%22%20aiga&f=false

http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qa5326/is_200209/ai_n21317338/

Art D. Rector's picture
570 pencils

Discuss the Bauhaus movement.

Seriously - who came up with the idea of explaining graphic design to 7 yr-olds? My parents still aren't 100% positive as to what exactly it is I do for a living. I have clients who ask what I do. My guess is you're going to need to keep this as basic as possible - you draw stuff for companies. Then show them some logos they might recognize - Playskool, Toys R Us, Sesame Street - whatever. Maybe bring a couple products that belong to those companies. Maybe also some of those dress up cut-out things or cling-on books the kids play with - they have drawings of clothes, etc... Then from there maybe you can show them some magazine ads and talk about television commercials, etc... in a very abstract way. I'd keep it all in the realm of ideas they've actually been exposed to - no "corporate identity" kind of discussion.

But definitely touch on the Bauhaus movement - they need to learn that asap if they're ever going to get anywhere in life. :-)

Mintsauce's picture
919 pencils

1 - Try starting with type. They've just learned to write, correct? They'll be studying cursive next year. (If US schools follow the same path as schools in South Africa.) Show them different A's (or any other letter - I find "a" and "g" the most interesting). Get them to come up with their own form for the letter.

2 - Or show the difference between art and design. A picture vs. a poster. Show engaging awareness (propaganda ;) ) posters. Get them to create a poster of their own that has a message, combining words with images. Something like "Strangers have stranger sweets."

3 - Or use signs. Toilet men/women, stop signs, warning signs. These are things they've all picked up on. Get them to create their own signs for things like "Beware, Monster Crossing."

If you keep your ears open, you'll see better.

Leaky Penny's picture
1348 pencils

"...and this kids, is a poster Joseph Goebbels used to show that not everybody was *quite* equal..." :P

Seriously though the idea of having them create their own posters and signs is very good, they can then see if they get their message across to other students and if everybody can understand them, like the Beware Monsters crossing" maybe even have them come up with drawings and then have an in class critique, hey! Maybe even post up some of the stuff here and we can all critique it! :P

http://www.thebestpageintheuniverse.net/c.cgi?u=irule

Then you can teach them how to smoke and drink their problems away because the client will never understand you and never pay you on time...and maybe explain to them that no matter how good they become they will NEVER be good enough for their parents because they always wanted them to become doctors but instead wasted they money on art school in the hopes of becoming famous doing what they love and now they spend their days doodling on Macdonalds' napkins because they could never find a job in their field and they are a crack pipe away from selling their bodies to greasy hairy men in some Mexican border town in some dirty barrio on the Mexican-US border wishing their mothers would finally just tell them that they love them and give them a hug and tell me everything will be alright and that I can come back home and that daddy has forgiven me for accidentally poisoning the dog and that all my friends are just waiting at home for me....

Hey, or maybe fingerpaints! Everybody loves fingerpaints! Everybody!

*sobs*

Leaky Penny
www.leakypenny.com

We artists are indestructible, even in a prison cell or concentration camp I would be almighty in my own world of art. Even if I had to paint my pictures with my wet tongue on the dusty floor of my cell. - Pablo Picasso

240 pencils

soooooooo how is that slump going leaky?

16 billion colours and you choose the one i cant create !??!

Leaky Penny's picture
1348 pencils

Haha, actually that PS tennis kickstarted a little something in me. I was casually sketchign yesterday and I'm kinda pursuing other, personal endeavours. The kind that will make me a sammich when I ask!

Leaky Penny
www.leakypenny.com

We artists are indestructible, even in a prison cell or concentration camp I would be almighty in my own world of art. Even if I had to paint my pictures with my wet tongue on the dusty floor of my cell. - Pablo Picasso

240 pencils

sweet,
glad your getting it together again.

16 billion colours and you choose the one i cant create !??!

www.jackmancer.com's picture
169 pencils

We had a lot of logodesigns lately which where just utter crap. Can't you invite those to your class? They might learn a thing or two ^^

240 pencils

+1000

16 billion colours and you choose the one i cant create !??!

gwells's picture
1435 pencils

what i learned from talking to 5th/6th graders about "what is design" was to be very basic with it. what you have to start out with is helping them understand that everything is "designed." the door is designed, the desk is designed, the pencil is designed, their shoes are designed, their school books are designed, their TVs are designed, their cereal boxes are designed. talk about the difference between similar products. why are student 1's shoes different from student 2's. what makes the chair you're sitting in better or worse than the teacher's chair. why would they look at coloring book A instead of coloring book B in the store. what made them choose their favorite jacket. then talk about how someone had to think about those things when they designed those products.

while it's a very simple concept, even most adults don't think about things from that perspective. you won't be able to truly drill down into design concepts, but you can explain to them how someone had to come up with the logo on their shoes, someone chose the colors of their jackets or the color of the paint on their door (or whether it had a window or panels).

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