I teach a 9-week unit on multicultural art to my sixth graders. The
first day of class, I have them make "passports.' I show them a real
passport, and then take their pictures with one of those polaroid
cameras that prints the pictures instantly onto stickers, and they
make their own passports with a different page for each country. I
have a special stamp for each country and as they do projects
throughout the term, they get their passports stamped (only after the
student and I both agree that it is complete.) This is an easy way to
keep track of who has done what, and what still needs to be done.
Students love these!
My school is kind of weird in that the middle school art classes are
simply pass/fail, so this is how I grade them. They have to have 8/9
stamps to pass. I never have to fail anybody, though, because for
some reason, the kids really want to get those stamps!
My 7th/8th graders will be making cave art. My room is at the end of
a hallway the students call "the cave," so I covered the walls and
ceiling with crinkled kraft paper and they're going to make their own
Lascaux using colored chalk.
For high school, I am required to do the syllabus/rules/supply list
thing for the first two days of school, which are half-days. These
two days are like an open house, too, so parents will be there (the
few who are willing to take time off work) and kids will be buying
their books and whatnot. This is also the time schedules get changed
and everything's chaotic. After that, I plan to start my high school
classes out on symbolism in ancient art, and they will be making
symbolic, autobiographical pieces. The examples I will be showing
them are going to range from ancient art (pictographs, heiroglylphs,
petroglyphs) to more modern African/Aboriginal/Native American pieces
and then modern artists like Keith Haring and Peter Max. The idea is
to create a language of personal symbols and create a work of art
around those. We will be working with tempera paint on some huge
pieces of cardboard that I need to get out of my classroom space. :)