In thinking about what kind of messages we give our students about
determination and motivation - I thought I'd share my recent find with you
all. Some of you undoubtedly have seen the movie, "Faith Ringgold, The Last
Story Quilt" -- I found it in my local public library. It has some great
information about her life and her art.
One of the stories she relates has a wonderful message about whether being
"born with talent" -- or not -- really makes a difference if you want to
succeed as an artist. She says that she believes that it doesn't matter if
you were born with talent or not...She says if you want it, you can get it,
but you have to want it -really want it!
I showed the 1st 15 minutes of the film to my students (1-5th), then when
Faith was talking about her African influences I stopped the movie (I had
already told them I would stop it at that point) and went into an African
It's a moving and well done movie and I learned something different every
time I watched it that day. She has inspired so many lesson plans for me.
Below is one I had done the week before I showed the movie. (I actually
hadn't planned to do anything else in class about Ringgold but finding the
movie tied so nicely into the African Masks that I had planned to do -I just
had to use it!)
Faith Ringgold - lesson plan.
We looked at the book Tar Beach, talked about Faith's life and her art, and
then (3rd - 5th ) talked about something they would love to "magically" get
away from (doing chores, homework, something annoying) or it could be a
magic place they would love to visit. Then they drew a small picture of
themselves flying (4x5). We glued their drawings onto the center of larger
paper that they had previously collaged (around the border like a frame)
with cut up dyed coffee filters and tissue paper. (they really enjoyed
dying the coffee filters the week before - we used markers to color them and
then dripped on water!)
For the younger grades (1st-2nd) they made the dyed coffee filters (in an
earlier class) and then when they were dry they cut them up to make outfits
for popsicle stick figures. We then glued these figures onto a paper scene
they had made (with glued on cut out mountains made from wrapping paper that
had quilt designs) They loved it and their art was stunning!
Goshen Friends School
West Chester, PA