Sixth grade students recently helped design the school yearbook cover. Rather than highlight just one individual, each student's artwork is featured on the cover.
I designed this project to not only complete the cover, but also add a learning experience to our existing curriculum. Our units of study are: Baroque, Impressionism, Post-Impressionism, Cubism, The Harlem Renaissance, Collage/Assemblage, and Pop Art. Last year's sixth grade students created a Pop Art-inspired cover (see Individuals Create Unity)
This year, I decided to design the lesson around artist, Jacob Lawrence. Students will learn more about Lawrence this spring when they research about the many different musicians, writers and visual artists of The Harlem Renaissance.
I recently discovered Events in the Life of Harold Washington, a mosaic Lawrence made in 1991 for the Harold Washington Library in Chicago. I visited the library to see the work in person this summer. Below are photographs of the mosaic in full, and also in closer detail. Like many of Lawrence's great paintings, the environment and figures have been abstracted into bold shapes of color.
This year, the sixth grade students created mosaics inspired by this style. Using a limited color palette of primary and neutral colors (similar to Lawrence), students designed their own unique mosaic using construction paper.
Each student personalized their design using pattern and symbols to reflect their own interests. I photographed and digitally assembled the artwork to complete the cover with text and our Oregon Hawk mascot.
The mosaics are works of art individually, but are even more successful as a collaborative design. Community is a prevalent theme in much of Lawrence's artwork. I hope this project is a strong metaphor for students to understand the value of working together.
Below are examples of student work:
Last week I was visiting friends in Chicago and decided to check out some of the city's public sculptures. I researched online where I could find sculptures by some of the world's most famous artists. I made a list, mapped out the addresses online and made plans to walk around the city Wednesday afternoon.
Originally, I was just going to take pictures to share in my classroom. I decided to instead pack my video camera and try to produce a virtual tour of the city.
Several years ago I went to college and earned a degree in broadcasting. Then I made the decision to follow my passion for art and become a teacher. I really enjoyed capturing these sculptures on video, and creating a new experience for my students.
First graders study sculpture in the spring, and we spend time talking about local sculptures in Oregon. Students look at pictures, visit a sculpture, and apply an artist's concept to create their own unique sculpture. We compare local sculptures with sculptures from around the world. I hope this video will tie in well with our sculpture unit.
Mr. DeWilde's Blog
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