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Metal Insets

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Two stands with a sloping back and a narrow cornice at bottom, surface painted blue. On each stand rest five dark pink metal frames [14 cm or 5 ½ “ square]. Into each frame fits a dark blue metal inset. In the center of each inset is a small knob for holding. The ten insets are: 

Square, rectangle, triangle, trapezoid, pentagon, circle, ellipse, oval, curvilinear, triangle, quatrefoil.  

Two of three sets of: small tray, pencil holder, and a 5 ½ “ x 5 ½ “ underlay.
A supply of colored pencils.
Supply of paper (exactly 5 ½ “ x 5 ½”) 


  1. Invite the child to the lesson. 
  2. Choose a shape with vertical sides, preferably the rectangle.  
  3. Place the frame of the shape in the tray on top of the two papers and the underlay.  
  4. Place the inset in the tray as well.  
  5. Choose a couple colored pencils and place them in the grooved pencil holder.  
  6. Ask the child to choose one color between a few presented options. 
  7. Ask the child to place the colored pencil in the grooved pencil holder. 
  8. Take the tray to the table.  
  9. Place the frame on the table and the inset within the frame.  
  10. Place the underlay on the table with the papers on top. 
  11. Set one paper to the side.  
  12. Square the paper on the underlay, making sure it is exact.  
  13. Place the frame on the paper.  
  14. Show the child how you hold the pencil. 
  15. Slowly trace the interior of the frame with a dark color. 
  16. Remove the frame. 
  17. Dramatically place the inset over the tracing, covering it up. 
  18. With the next darkest color, trace the inset.  
  19. Remove the inset. 
  20. Make a sinuous line with the lightest color.  
  21. Start from the lowest left corner. 
  22. Go bottom to top, left to right.  
  23. Ask the child to now perform the exercise on his paper.  
  24. Write your names on the back of the papers.  


Exercise 1, Bottom to top Sinuous Line, as presented.  

Exercise 2, Bottom to Top Clos Lines, show the child how to make the lines much closer together. The child may do progressively closer lining in, repeating this exercise many times. 

Exercise 3, Bottom to Top Solid Lines, show the child how to do lining by making the lines touch, forming a solid fill, leaving no white space. 

Exercise 4, Two Shapes Two Colors (Figure Ground), bring two insets and two colors. Place an inset in any way on the paper, trace it with the darkest color. Place the other inset on the paper overlapping the traced shape. Trace it with the lighter color. Shade in one of the shapes fully with its corresponding color. Shade in the remaining sections of the other shape.  

Exercise 5, Three Shapes Three Colors (Figure Ground), same as exercise 4, but with three shapes and three colors. 

Exercise 6, Shading, Alternate Dark & Light. Trace one shape and use one color, fill in with shades of dark and light by changing the pressure. Be sure that the end corresponds to the beginning by applying the same pressure at both ends.  

Exercise 7, Free Design. Trace any shapes, overlapping in any way, with lead pencil. Shade in any sections with any colors. 



Control of Error


Direct Purpose

Direct preparation for writing.
To master the use of the pencil.
Working with precision, keeping within limits, and lightness of touch. 
Preparation for art and design. 


3 1/2


At the beginning of the year, select a child for the metal inset lesion who is orderly and methodical. This will inspire other children to see metal insets as an opportunity for high levels of achievement at a child’s hand. 
How to hold and use a pencil is critically important.
This is where preliminary work pays off. 
Process oriented, not product oriented. 
This is the first time a paper product is generated.
Find which hand feels better for the child.
Be prepared to possibly represent this to the child based on his performance. 

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