With all the new technology creeping into classrooms, it is no wonder why boxes of crayons are hidden in the back of students' desks. The push to digitize has left supplies of colorful and scented markers to gather dust. It seems that going paperless has just about eliminated the option for using colored pencils. New technology is overshadowing the old supplies kids once used regularly to create their artwork. While the technological advancements are great, teachers should not keep crayons, markers, and colored pencils out of their lesson plans. These supplies help students' artistic abilities soar.
Drawbacks of Tech
Colored pencils, markers and crayons are intuitive: put them in front of students and they will need no instruction on how to transfer the colors onto the page. This is a major difference between the old and new ways of creating visual representations. Before students use a computer or other electronic device to create their artwork, they require instruction on how to access and use the app. Even though some students will catch on quickly, others may need additional help when learning how to manipulate the tools contained in the design program. This can take a lot of class time that cannot be spared. Often, this especially can be a problem in classes with many students. If your students have been using hi-tech tools to create their artwork, then you have probably noticed that while many kids catch on quickly, a handful of children struggle with using a keyboard, touchpad, or mouse to design a visual project. The result can be discouraging to those children who have a hard time. One unfortunate aspect of this is that many of these kids can put onto paper what they see in their mind's eye if they are using familiar media like crayons to bring their vision to reality.
Let Them Create
Kids have an amazing ability to surprise us. Even when an assignment requires coloring a reproducible, crayons, markers, and colored pencils can be used to add a personalized touch. Of course, kids may choose different colors for the objects printed on the page, but others may let their creative side shine. They can do this by adding simple or intricate patterns onto each object that appears already. For instance, the young artists may add stripes to a character's pants or flowers to one's dress. Other artists may add textures to their creations by placing a rough object underneath the page. Smooth, stable surfaces are usually what we expect to work atop, but what else is in the classroom that could simulate another kind of sensation if it were to be touched? Your students will surprise you with what they can find to do this. Likewise, both textures and patterns can be created by applying different degrees of pressure when the implement is pressed against a piece of paper. Plus, students will amaze each other when they add extra images to a reproducible that has been handed out by the teacher. Instead of seeing the same objects on everyone's page, students can add elements that make their work unique. The chances are that you have witnessed this before; kids often fill empty skies with clouds or birds, for example.
Benefits for All Ages
Yes, give a child a blank page along with colored pencils, markers, or crayons, and there is no telling what creative ideas will unfold. The ability to express oneself when using these materials is not restricted to elementary school either. Children young and old learn a lot with them. Young children quickly become aware of the spatial limitations such activities bring. Sometimes, coloring inside the lines is the sole objective. At other times, we just want our students to build their stamina so that their muscles strengthen. When fatigue is an issue, students can learn to overcome it by gripping the utensil differently or by using a utensil of another size. Young children have fun letting their imaginations run wild on the page all while working to fine-tune their motor skills. Even the oldest students have something to learn from using these simple art supplies. For example, advanced fine arts classes can use colored pencils to learn shading techniques. Even when they are using crayons and markers in other classes, older students can get creative. From self-portraits to scenes from history, students of all ages can construct brilliant pictures without the help of technology.
Tech is here to stay when it comes to creating visual projects, but so are the tools our grandparents used! There is no need to lock up colored pencils, crayons, and markers inside a cabinet. Keep them within students' reach when they need a creative outlet. Even when a device will be used for a project, students can discover how to plan for it appropriately if they draft their ideas by hand first. Colored utensils will always provide an experience that encourages students to explore their creativity.
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