Our first lesson asks students to create their Ideal cities. We introduced the concept of “Idealism” and showed them that there was an infinite amount of possibility as to what their world could be like. Our goals for this lesson addressed reflect and transfer state standards for art. Students were asked to reflect about the word Ideal and how they could represent their ideas in their Ideal cities. After students created their cities, they transfer this knowledge to the idea of lifelong lessons and about being part of a community.
In the second lesson, the students had a more specific focus on making creatures that would go into their ideal world. They gave the creatures ideal features that they found appealing. The students used clay to make their creatures and made pinch pots and used the technique of slipping and scoring. Once their pieces had been fired, they used materials such as feathers, balloons, and sticks to add on to their creatures in an assemblage. This lesson focused on the state standard for creating by improving their technical skills in the medium of clay.
In the third lesson the students made plaster masks out of plaster strips and a face mold. In this lesson they got to pick their masks’ ideal superpower and illustrate characteristics of that power in the form of a mask. Iroquois masks and other cultures’ masks from Canada, Alaska, and Africa were studied as examples of masks in the past that had specific “powers”. This lesson gave an opportunity for the students to work in a media many were not familiar with. They also learned about color mixing and how to use it. Students were asked to comprehend the use of the visual art to express, communicate, and make meaning of their masks and the features they gave them.
They then created a story about their mask to further illustrate the power and how it would work. The students learned about the colored pencil techniques of hatching, cross hatching, stippling and color mixing to help relay their ideas. Many kids’ books that were familiar to them were shown as examples and to help relate it to them and give excitement about the idea of being an author and illustrator. The lesson covered the standard idea of Reflect. The students envisioned a story and used literacy to communicate a story through art and writing.
The fifth lesson, kept the topic close to the student as we had them create their ideal room using a fresco format. This lesson echoed back to the architectural idea of the ideal cities. The students studied Minoan and Italian fresco painting as an art history lesson and also had the challenge of working in a circular format. They also did many planning sketches of what they wanted to do and spent a lot of time brainstorming, which covered the reflect standards. The students connected with art history in this lesson through the exposure to frescoes from the Minoans to the Italian renaissance (transfer).
In the final lesson, the students made self-portraits by using collage. The topic of the lesson was “art as a language of expression.” The students expressed themselves through their material choices and described their “ideal selves.” This lesson rounded out our unit because the students focused on themselves as a small but important part of an entire community. This lesson focused on the transfer standard. This lesson helped students recognize, articulate, and validate the value of the visual arts to lifelong learning by showing them in order to become their ideal selves; all they have to do is create it.