I’m currently co-teaching a 4th grade art integration class with their classroom teacher. The class read the book “Running Out of Time”, which deals with the main character learning that her world is not at all what it seems, and being betrayed by someone she trusts deeply. The main themes for the unit are Surprise and Deceit, and we started the unit by trying some new centers (I teach TAB/choice, so the students are used to having various centers available):
- India Ink straw blowing, and then finding pictures in the patterns
- Optical illusions - b/w checker drawings, and drawings with parallel lines that curve over a shape
- “Creature Collages” - photomontage with the goal of making an animal or figure
Students also answered a short questionnaire to help generate ideas for their final work:
1. A time in your life when something happened unexpectedly:
2. A situation that turned out differently than you expected:
3. A friend or family member surprised you, or did something surprising:
4. Have you ever been afraid to find something out? What was it?
After they filled out the questionnaire, they talked in pairs about the answer they found the most interesting or liked the most. They also spent class time making sketches about the situation, and we emphasized not having to make realistic images of the story they were portraying.
We spent half of another class talking about various artworks that were either abstract or non-representational, or had lots of layering and details. The idea was to look at artwork that held a surprise, or that you had to look at closely to notice small details.
Students have been working on their artwork for one class period. The had a choice of any 2D medium available in the room, though they need to combine two of the available options before they finish.. Choices are: India ink, chalk pastel, all drawing materials, and collage materials/magazines. We will spend part of a future class having students pair up and do a simple feedback and sharing exercise. I’m very excited about what they’re doing, and especially that students are creating more abstract work from some very concrete ideas (their life experiences). Their classroom teacher is planning on having the students write extended artist statements/reflections on their finished work as well.
Photos of work in progress. Some students decided to start with india ink straw blowing as the beginning of their work.
Looks of surprise:
This student has a story about his family being fooled by someone, and his drawing is depicting how he wished the place it happened at had been destroyed:
Memories of a dark night (the right is the light of a streetlamp she remembers):
Story of a dog (on the right) eating something it wasn't supposed to.
She found the image of the dog after doing India ink straw blowing: