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Lesson Plans


Inquiry art education

[ Thread ][ Subject ][ Author ][ Date ]
Rebecca Russow (Russ5)
Fri, 04 Apr 1997 19:10:11 -0600


I've been enjoying reading the messages you all have been sending -
especially the ones about questioning and inquiry art. I've been
using this strategy with elementary students now for about twelve
years and did my masters research paper on the benefits of aesthetic
scanning with young children. I am always excited and amazed when new
responces come from the students. I "do a project" with my fourth
grade students that begins with a careful look at Chagall's I and the
Village. We talk about what we see and try to learn something about
the artist just by the images, shapes and colors he has in his
painting. Every class brings new insight - one student who had just
completed an "artist report" for the fourth grade teacher, knew
Chagall loved his wife dearly and said the large circle could
represent the circle of love that continues even after death! Another
picked out the smaller circle of half white and magenta and thought
that looked kinda like a ying-yang and then someone else thought the
upside down figure of the woman and the man also could be
ying-yang-like. My "rules" for aesthetic scanning are that whatever
you think must be supported by what you see in the artist's work or
what you know about the artist from reading - in other words, the guy
is not green because he has food poisoning or was bit by a
rattlesnake. We take about forty minutes talking about the artwork
without ever asking the question of "do you like it". I've found that
that question closes minds and kids can learn to appreciate works of
art that they may not like especially IF they talk about them before
asking judgement questions.

We do a production project based on ourself and self-reflection.
Beginning with a list of "things about me" we decide on organizational
shapes for our composition, then details to include, colors to use to
represent moods, etc. These collages get better and better each year
and don't even come close to looking like "student-of-the-week"
posters! If anyone wants more details, I'd be glad to share, but
don't want to go on and on - which can be my tendancy when I'm excited
about a project!

Becky - LaGrange, Illinois