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Lesson Plans

Cornell Jars

[ Thread ][ Subject ][ Author ][ Date ]
Mon, 15 Mar 1999 17:10:51 -0500

One of the most satisfying lessons I did last year was based on the idea of
Cornell Jars. With the younger children, Cornell is used as one of the
examples of categories of art (assemblage, collage) and we don't go into
too much detail. With 3-5 we discuss his work in a bit more detail and use
it for comparison with other artists. This much already existed in my
curriculum. Then last spring I was poking around in some art sites and
found the idea of having children draw a jar and fill it. It tied in so
beautifully with the Cornell. I showed them how to draw a mayonnaise shape
jar (start with an oval at the top of the paper). Everyone was given 9x12
white drawing paper and asked to make the jar as big as the paper (in spite
of this, there were many sizes and even a few unusual shapes, which added
to the beauty of the project). We briefly discussed what might be in the
jar, just to make sure they weren't limiting themselves. They were
encouraged to use whichever media (markers, colored pencils, crayons)
seemed best for their images, including multimedia. We soon discovered
that Prismacolor "cloud blue" is a perfect glass tint, and the gold
Prismacolors looked good on the lid, outlined with black marker. This also
gave a bit of unity to the project when it was displayed.

I asked them to outline the jar with a medium or fine black marker and cut
OUTSIDE of that black line. I drew paper shelves (light blue paper) that
looked 3-D and used four large bulletin boards in the school. Our school
mascot is Avery the Tiger, so we had "Avery's Pantry", "Avery's Closet",
"Avery's Cupboard" and "Avery's Shelves". I put the shelves up and filled
them a bit at a time, as the jars came in. It was spectacular. We had
traditional things like jars of candy, goldfish or pennies. But there were
also some very imaginative selections, like the ant farm, rowboat in a
bottle, and theme bottles where all images related to one theme. I did it
as an "extra time" project toward the end of the year when I was busy
collecting and matting all the things I'd saved through the year for the
district wide art show. Except for the introduction and tie-in with art
history, there was little for me to do but staple them up and make a
nametag. Kids and faculty alike enjoyed studying the bottles. Next time,
I'll see if I can get faculty to participate.

Cathy Gobeille