In fifth grade art class, students will study narratives, or visual stories, throughout history. Our first unit begins with the cave paintings found in Lascaux, France. The paintings are some of the world's earliest art examples.
Each class brainstormed how the paintings were made, and what the purpose may have been for creating them. We discussed how some art is created to communicate a story. All of the units we will study in fifth grade focus on the concept of art and narrative.
Below is a video we watched to introduce the Caves of Lascaux.
After watching the video and describing images of the cave paintings, students were ready to create their own. They were instructed to choose an animal for a mixed-media artwork inspired by the cave paintings.
We began with a watercolor background. Students were encouraged to mix and blend colors. Next, students painted a separate sheet of paper in the main color of their animal using tempera paint. Once the paint was dry, students used a pencil to draw their animal on the painted page. They cut the animal out and glued the shape to their watercolor background.
Details were added to the animals using oil pastels. Some students added textures and additional details to the background.
Once the artwork was completed, students were asked to write a story about their animal. Throughout the year, fifth grade students will be asked to communicate a visual narrative with each project.
(Below are examples of student work from 2013)
The past two years I have join the sixth grade team on their Outdoor Education field trip. Each teacher facilitates a different learning activity to engage students with their environment.
Several groups of around twelve students rotated among the different activities for two days while visiting the camp. For my activity, I introduced each group to the land artist, Andy Goldsworthy. Prior to the field trip, we watched a video of Goldsworthy at work. We then looked at photographs of his finished work before attempting our own creations at the camp.
(Below is the video we watched of Andy Goldsworthy creating, as well as photographs of his finished works)
At the camp, we walked along a path to a large clearing surrounded by woods, prairie grass and a creek. I explained the importance of preserving the wonderful environment around us. Students were to find materials from the ground, but without pulling plants or trees apart. Although we used materials similar to Goldsworthy, students were not permitted to leave their finished structures. I asked groups to dismantle and return materials to their original locations.
(Below is an image of the awesome classroom we worked in during the field trip)
After the expectations were established, students were allowed to work individually or collaboratively. They collected materials, then built and arranged interesting structures in the style of Goldsworthy. Each of the students used a digital camera to document their creations.
(Below are images of student work from 2013)
(Below are images of student work from 2012)
I had such a wonderful experience on this trip last year. As a first year teacher, this was a great opportunity for me to get to know my students. I learned from each group and I believe the trip helped all of us have a more meaningful school year.
STAY TUNED NEXT WEEK FOR THIS YEAR'S CREATIONS!
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