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Lesson Plans

art in the classroom

[ Thread ][ Subject ][ Author ][ Date ]
Sat, 13 Apr 1996 10:02:17 -0500 (CDT)

For Rachel Morgan and others:
I hope it's not too late to offer some suggestions about using art to=
enhance other subjects. In Indianapolis, there is going to be a citywide=
"Calderfest". From summer through December or January, there will be a huge=
show of works by Alexander Calder at the Indianapolis Children's Museum,=
the first time an artist has been exhibited at this type of venue. There=
will also be works exhibited at the Art Center and in parks, etc. About a=
dozen art teachers from the surrounding area were asked to form teams at=
their schools to create interdisciplinary ideas which might be used in=
conjunction with a field trip to the show, etc. These ideas will be=
published by the museum in=20co-operation with Young Audiences of Indiana,=
a group which sends visual and performing artists to schools. We have just=
turned in these ideas, and I don't think they will be published until May,=
but there were many terrific suggestions for using Calder's work in math,=
physics, literature, English, etc. You might try contacting Helen Ferulli=
c/o Young Audiences of Indiana, 3050 North Meridian, Indianapolis, IN,=
46208. (317)925-4043. Sycamore's team was comprised of second and third=
grade teachers and myself, so if a primary focus would help you, just=
contact me and I can mail you our preliminary results.=20
Also, in a unit I do on aesthetics and criticism, we use artworks to=
generate poetry. (We do this in eighth grade, but it could be done in some=
form at almost any age.) I put up a slide and before there is ANY=
information given on the work or any class discussion, we generate a word=
list. Students simply offer any word or phrase which the work inspires. =
We generate 50-60 terms per picture. We then describe and analize the work=
at length, still without knowing anything specific about the artist, time.=
etc. In other words, we use only intrinsic information to understand the=
piece. At the end of class, I give the kids a packet about the artist -=
biographical and artistic info - and ask them to read it before the next=
class. Then we discuss the work again in light of this extrinsic info and=
I show other works by the same artist. We repeat this process twice. The=
final assignment is to create poetry based upon either one of the specific=
pieces or the body of work (the word list helps less "poetic" kids). The=
peices I focus on are "Into The World Came A Soul Called Ida" by Ivan=
Albright and "Departure" by Max Beckmann, but there is no end to the way=
this could be adapted. (I am going to have my younger students write Haiku=
during our study of Chinese and Japanese art.) You could use portraits to=
generate imaginary biographies or landscapes=20to use as a setting for a=
short story. Genre scenes could offer countless possibilities. (My third=
graders had a field day with Edward Hopper's "Nighthawks".) Of course,=
there is the historical approach as well - for instance, contrasting and=
comparing a Romantic artwork with a Realist or Neo-Classical work and using=
this to illuminate the era, or bringing it forward in time by comparing the=
Regionalists response to the Depression with that of the Social Realists. =
In the area of geometry, of course, there are the works of Escher and=
Islamic tile tessalations, etc. The possibilities are virtually endless. =
Rachel, I hope you will share your final lesson plan with us. Good luck!