Thursday, April 5, 2012

LPHS Mixed Media: Personal Narrative Collage

We began the project by looking at the season one Art 21: Identity episode followed by a series of individual and group "Close Reads" of Outsider Collage artists such as Henry Darger, Tony Fitzpatrick, Holli Schorno, and Jose Felipe Consalvos to name a few. The students were then charged with developing their own collages based on the project guidelines and the artist(s) that inspired them.

I developed a project handout format for the Mixed Media art students to begin associating SHoM language with routine lesson procedures in the classroom as they develop their individual artistic processes and styles. I aligned the habits with various lesson procedures in the instructional handout so that the students can more easily associate their work processes with the habits while making, reflecting and self-evaluating. The project handout and the rubric have been uploaded to Google Docs. I have included an excerpt of each here:

Concept: (Express, Understand Art World: Domain & Communities) Choose a topic or theme that is of interest to you, and that is important or relevant to you in your life at this time. Your chosen theme/topic should say something about you and/or your personality and interests. Your theme could be related to any or all of the following categories: Personal, political, social, spiritual and everything in between!

from procedure section:

  • Begin planning your collage on large paper. (Observe, Stretch & Explore, Engage & Persist) You may alter the size/shape of the background paper, but your final collage may not be smaller than 9” x12” in size. It may be orientated either landscape or portrait.
  • When finished, choose 4 Studio Habits to reflect on including Understand Art World: Domain & Communities. Consider process, content and technique! (Reflect: Question & Explain and Evaluate)

Media Use & Technique:

Develop Craft

Engage & Persist

Stretch & Explore

*Little/no attempt to use mixed media processes (1 medium only) to create collage

*Composition not considered

*Applies at least 2 mixed media processes to create collage

*Composition needs improvements

*Adequately applies 3 mixed media materials, processes to collage

*Evaluates composition for improvements

*Successfully applies 3 or more mixed media materials, processes to collage

*Critically evaluates composition for improvements and makes adjustments


• My work looks polished and well crafted because

• When I ran into difficulty, the way I solved the problem was

• I tried something I had never done before when I

I was very pleased with the results. I have found it to be very difficult to teach "sophisticated" collage composition techniques to high school students. This group exceeded my expectations with both product and their thoughtful reflections on the process and connections between their ideas and contemporary artists and techniques. They all really loved this experience!


  1. The collages are beautiful and distinct. Their unique voices come through. Did ST facilitate a better collage and stronger reflections? How?

    This work will become your first year's data set that we will compare with year 2 and year 3's work. You've done an amazing job of assembling student voice, student work and your intentions for the assignment with ST language. Thanks for laying out the materials so beautifully and clearly.

  2. Beth, this was extremely helpful in understanding ways I can begin to incorporate studio habits into my Art One curriculum. I was faltering in finding a method to do this next year and I think what would be best is for me to create a sheet to distribute at the beginning of the lesson in which the studio habits are tied to the objectives of the assignments. I already began to create these sheets for next year's AP assignments and now I see how I can refine them. I tend to work in a more concrete fashion and things make sense to me when I see them worked out on paper. I also see how this set up can lead to more in-depth writing and planning in the beginning of the lesson in lieu of taking place during the end as a reflection. Great work! Thanks for sharing!

  3. The goal is to scaffold from Art I to Electives to AP/IB. We've come up with good initial plans for Art I and the Electives, but I'm struggling with how to do this for IB in the best way. It was a bit too late to do more than just introduce the language to the students this year as I already have a formula, so to speak, that aligns with their required IB curriculum. I was reviewing our AP/IB summer assignments last week, and I was trying to figure out the best way to introduce SHoM this summer for the start of next school year. I would love to see what you have created for the AP students because that is where I'm hitting a few snags.