My path into teaching has been somewhat untraditional so it wasn't until well into my 20s that I took on the role of full time classroom teacher. There was a point when I thought I'd stick with museum education and might not ever explore the classroom setting, but I am so glad things went the way they did.
My school was extremely supportive of classroom autonomy, so much so that I was intimidated and terrified when I began the school year. I spent so many years asking my employer for permission to pee that I didn't know what to do with this amount of freedom. This guy I hang out with sometimes (this is a running joke that he hates... it's not that casual... more on that later) took me to a comedy show the weekend before I started in an attempt to distract me from my feelings of impending doom. It was that bad, but with some breathing exercises and lots of hugs I made it through my first week and didn't look back.
When designing my Intro to Graphic Design curriculum, I wanted to focus on basic skill building with some historical components. After an introductory lesson on "old school" tools (T-squares, compasses, light boxes, etc.) and logo design, we jumped into Photoshop. This first lesson focused on Photoshop's drawing tools and celluloid animation. Here's how I approached the topic:
After a basic overview of the drawing and shapes tools, I had my students watch this humorously(?) antiquated explanation of the celluloid animation process (notice the male employees titled writers, artists, and engineers while the women are "pretty girls"... heavy eye roll). We then explored the history of the process including it's first application, first feature length film, and final feature length film. I also used this as an opportunity to introduce the concept of working in Photoshop layers since the processes have that in common.
Each student was responsible for using Photoshop's drawing and shapes tools to design a character for their own animated cel. They were randomly assigned a background (the default landscape wallpapers provided by Mac OS X) and picked characteristics from a hat to incorporate into their design. If they had time at the end, I showed them how to animate their character using Photoshop's timeline function. It's always amazing (or at least amusing) to see what happens to your ideas when a classroom full of kids gets to interpret them, below you can see some of the awesome creations they came up with...
Happy Back to School! I'm rooting for you!