Monday, July 8, 2013

Anyone can draw a bird.

Several years ago I worked with a very talented art teacher named Sharon Null.  I met her during my first year teaching art in elementary school and I learned so many important things from her. The most important lesson was about how essential sequential instruction is.  Anyone can learn to do practically anything if they take one step at a time.

Today was the first day of Summer Fun Camp at Fredericksburg Parks and Recreation.  I am teaching a class I titled “Colorful Creatures.” For 2 weeks I’ve created lessons inspired by things that fly, crawl, slither and climb.    My students range from Kindergarten - 4th grade so I had to come up with lessons that were easy, yet challenging enough to keep these kids engaged, and actually teach them something.  Our first project was about birds- I pulled an old Sharon lesson from the files.

How to draw a bird:

  1. Draw a dot
  2. Circle around the dot.
  3. Arrow pointing at the circle.
  4. Turn the arrow into a kite
  5. From the top of the kite draw an “S”
  6. From the bottom of the kite draw a “J”
  7. Add upside-down “Y’s” for feet.
  8. Add wings, and other details.

Today when they readied their markers I knew for certain that each of these children would leave my class with the ability to draw a bird. I knew that teaching them the sequential steps was all that it would take to get their imaginations flowing.  I didn’t have to worry about success.  It was practically guaranteed because I knew what steps to take.

I believe you can apply this approach to almost any challenge you’re faced with.  All you have to do is break the task, project or problem down to small, manageable steps.  Then tackle each step with the knowledge that you’re getting closer to your goal.

But today just practice this technique and go draw a bird.

“How do you eat an elephant?  One bite at a time.”  - - - Jim Bunch.


  1. Shall I assume the next class will be how to MAKE a bird out of any clay-like substance? :-)