Saturday, April 20, 2013

Sweet Home Chicago...2nd grade art theme

Exploring the greatest 
city in the world....
sweet home Chicago

In second grade, we continue to make our connection to a bigger place, a grander world and wider an awfully fun way!  This year, I really focused on exposing these young, vibrant, enthusiastic students to their world beyond their neighborhood, connecting them to history, culture and art passed the boundaries of Palatine.  So, we took a trip (literally and metaphorically) to Chicago!  

I thought to myself, how are these students going to make even the smallest connection to this amazing city and remember something...anything.  We looked at photographs, we read a book about Larry the dog, we listened to music, we watched videos, we visited the Chicago History Museum....
and we studied the Chicago flag.

We Chicagoans take a certain pride in our city, standing shoulder to shoulder for all that is the great city by the lake.  Its history, its culture, art, architecture, food, music, neighborhoods...the list goes on.  The one unifying symbol is the flag.  
But what does it all mean?
 This was my students' focus
 We began with a song and a video

(side note: This was about a 4 week lesson, with a culminating activity of visiting the Chicago History Museum.  Within the 4 weeks, we did a lot!  One very important element that encouraged my students to really embrace this lesson was music, based on Chicago.  From Frank Sinatra to the Blues Brothers to Muddy Waters, the students had a multi-sensory experience.  All that was missing....the hot dogs!----next year, I guess.)  

We discovered that each component to the flag was a representation of the city and the city's history.  We observed how even if we changed the red stars to a different picture, it somehow still connected with the city.  As we explored different representations of the flag of Chicago, we also noticed that the format remained the same.

(side note: at this point in the lesson, the students were not told what each star symbolized.  Their discovery of these symbols was reserved for their exploration in the Chicago History Museum) 

We began to discuss what symbols we would use to connect us to the city as second grade students.
Using the same format as the Chicago Flag, we created our own interpretations, representing our unique characteristics and qualities.


Each student flag expressed their likes, their strengths and their favorite things....
 As they were painting, they were singing along to this....

This project helped us prepare for visiting the 
It created an exciting buzz, that exploded in astonishing cheers along the way.  As we were taking the long drive to the city, 80 students on the bus saw it.....waving and flapping in the wind....
The Chicago Flag.  The bus erupted with, "The Chicago Flag.  Mrs. Angelopoulos, the FLAG!!!"  It was one of those moments when, as a teacher, you sensed gratification, joy and slight ear pain.  The students' goal was to find the answers to a few simple questions, one being 

 The Chicago adventure would not have been complete without a dog getting lost  in the city because he wanted a hot dog Larry Gets Lost in Chicago is wonderful book captures all the great sites and sounds of Chicago, through the adventure of a dog.  (I have recently come to find out, Larry gets lost in a lot of places!  What a lucky dog. 

Our focus was recapturing what we saw, even if it was through a bus window....
We referred to black and white photographs of Chicago and the covers of Larry's book to create quick value studies of a great city.


 Using monochromatic paper, black construction paper, scissors and glue, the students created their own skylines, by either referencing pictures of Chicago or just what they remembered.While working on this project, we recaptured our museum experience by listening to a Chicago legend that was featured in the museum's 
"Jazz Club".....

The lesson, sadly, ended.....but the results were and are amazing.Now, nearly a month later, these second grade students continue to recall their art adventure by making pictures for me, telling me their own experiences in the city and calling "The Bean"....Cloud Gate.
Love them.

Thanks for dropping by the 

xoxo, SMocK you.