Last year the fifth grade class studied Greek and Roman pottery. We read famous stories from mythology and identified characters painted on the surface of plates and vases.
Our first project was to create a two-dimensional vase using black construction paper. Students chose the size and shape of their vase. Once the vase was constructed, students were asked to add an additional colored band of construction paper. Each student then drew a visual story on the band of color.
We completed the assignment with a study of the columns used in Greek and Roman architecture, ionic, doric and corinthian. Each student applied one of these shapes to create their own unique column and glued their vase to set on top.
After studying the pottery for weeks, students were ready to make their own. Each student created a small clay plate using slab construction, and a coil method to make the plate's foot. On the face of the plate, students carved original narrative scenes. Once the plates had been fired in the kiln, students began painting their designs. The finished plates were sealed with a clear gloss and displayed at Fine Arts Night.
While creating the sixth grade art curriculum, I noticed a strong representation of narratives throughout art history. Although creating this theme was not my intention, the narrative has been a great way for students to make connections to different cultures throughout history.
Students have developed their own narratives with almost every project. We discussed the term, visual narrative, as opposed to a written story. With a few projects, students were asked to write a narrative to accompany their artwork. However, most of the projects have focused on creating a story with images or symbols alone.
Recently, students have identified different purposes for creating a visual narrative. At the beginning of the year we studied cave paintings, and talked about art as documentation of daily life. Students described hunting scenes found in the Caves of Lascaux, and decided this may have been a representation of life during that period in history.
From the cave paintings, we transitioned to studying artworks found in the Egyptian pyramids. Students again identified scenes from daily life, but also the inclusion of hieroglyphics. Some students described the hieroglyphics as an early form of written language. The hieroglyphics were often placed alongside paintings of figures. Each student created a portrait painting in the style of Egyptian artwork, with the inclusion of hieroglyphics. Next they created large collars using a radial design inspired by Egyptian artifacts.
The students' discussion about hieroglyphics gave me an idea to further explore the relationship between text and image. Students were introduced to the photography of Rachelle Lee Smith. Each student was given different portraits photographed by Smith, depicting a single teenager. Each portrait also contained text from the teenager photographed. Students were asked to describe what the picture looked like visually. Next they were instructed to interpret the text, and then analyze how the photographer and subject collaborated to communicate meaning. Students shared their opinions in small groups, and then as part of a larger class discussion.
From this activity, we began an altered photography project. Students collaborated to create an Egyptian-inspired narrative using a digital camera and colored pencils. Each student photographed a classmate, or group of classmates, in the profile view of Egyptian figures while wearing the collars they had previously painted. Students then received a black and white copy of their photograph to alter using text or symbols. The finished projects depicted great scenes of battles, royalty and friendship.
After concluding our unit on Egypt, we recently began studying the pottery of Greece and Rome. Students identified these narratives as entertainment or fiction, rather than a description of reality. Many of the students had a previous knowledge of Greek and Roman mythology. I encouraged those students to share with the class, and we read a few short myths aloud.
Our first project for the Greece and Rome unit was to create a two-dimensional vase using construction paper. Students chose the size, shape and colors of their vase. Once their vase was constructed, students were asked to draw and color a visual narrative on their vase. Once the vase was completed, we studied the different columns used in Greek and Roman architecture, ionic, doric and corinthian. Each student then made a unique columns to attach their narrative vases to.
After studying the pottery for weeks, students were ready to make their own. Each student created a small clay plate using slab construction. On the face of the plate, students carved original narrative scenes. Now that the plates have been fired in the kiln, students have begun painting their designs. I am very excited to display the finished plates at this year's Fine Arts Night at Oregon Elementary School on Friday, May 3rd!
Mr. DeWilde's Blog
I post information about projects and learning experiences from my curriculum.
All 21st Century Skills 30 Americans Alejandro Garcia Nelo Alejandro Romero Altered Photography Andy Goldsworthy Andy Warhol Art Art Club Art Ed Art Ed Art Education Art Education Art Institute Artist Talk Arts Education Ayumi Horie Baltimore Love Project Banksy Baroque Basquiat Calder Carlos Cortez Cave Painting Ceramic Ceramics Cesar Augusto Martinez Chicago Chicago Black Renaissance China Chinese New Year Clay Cloud Gate Collaboration Collage Common Core Community Composition Contemporary Creativity Critical Thinking Crown Fountain Curate David Avalos Day Of The Dead Derain Dia De Los Muertos Egypt Elephants Elnar And Jamex De La Torre Exhibition Fathi Hassan Frank Stella Frank Ybarra Gallery Garth Erasmus Gees Bend Graffiti Graphic Design Greek Gwendolyn Bennett Gyotkau Hamsa Hands Harlem Renaissance Hero Ice Age Identity Illustration Imagery Immigration India Individuals Intc Islamic Jackson Pollock Jacob Lawrence Japan Jelly Roll Morton Josefina Aguilar Alcantara Kehinde Wiley Keith Haring Landscape Langston Hughes Lesson Plan Lois Mailou Jones Manuel Scott Marsha Dewilde Medieval Mexican Art Mexico Michael Owen Migration Milwaukee Art Museum Modern Morocco Multicultural Mural Museum Narrative Nature Oldenburg Oliver Herring Outdoor Education Papel Picado Paper Mache Pedro Meyer Perception Philanthropy Photography Picasso Pop Art Portrait Printmaking Proactive Classroom Proportion Public Art Rachelle Lee Smith Radial Design Robert Rauschenberg Roman Romare Bearden Roy Lichtenstein Sculpture Self-portrait Social Justice Socratic Seminar Stirling Heads Student Growth Sugar Skulls Tamayo Task Technology The Bean Value Video Yearbook