Saturday, September 7, 2013

What the year is going to look like....6 grades, 6 themes

Planting the seeds in an art curriculum
 I love Chicago.  I really do.   
Aside from the city's incredible history, the contemporary art scene is something to be proud of.  Art lesson inspirations can be found on city neighborhood blocks or down the magnificent mile.  NOW, the question do I teach my students EVERYTHING?  

 For many years, now, I have been designing the art curriculum for the year based on themes.  In the process, this strategy has proven for providing my students better avenues for connecting their knowledge throughout the year, on a linear scale....they are able to connect the dots.  
 What does that mean??
Well, throughout the year information is presented to my students in a consistent fashion, providing them structure, routine and familiarity.  These elements are important as students begin to think through a broader lens and build on skills throughout the year.  As the teacher, this strategy offers me continuity through structure and flexibility to grow my ideas :)  Fortunately, ideas come very quickly.  Unfortunately, ideas come very quickly. 
Also, as skills are repeated you see more growth.  Aside from art elements and principles, students need to develop their universal skills of study, observation, analysis and evaluation towards building an art literacy base that translates to other areas of study.


First graders goal is to find the toilet.  Following Anna's adventure in an art museum, my students meet some of the great artists of our time with one pressing issue....finding the toilet. 
Because, when you gotta gotta go. 
This wonderful book as been an inspiration for my first graders with a unified goal.  As Anna and my students meet the new artists, we stop and learn a little bit more about them. 
Although this is a repeated theme, each year the projects change depending on the educational needs of  my students. 


It's all about connecting in 2nd grade and understanding their personal relationship to bigger concepts.  In this thematic sequence, student learning targets 7 categories that connect my second graders' experiences.  Starting with "me" and extending to "country", these projects will reflect how each category is connected to the one previous.

 It's amazing what a little storytelling (and magic) can inspire in young children.  Last year, I introduced my 3rd grade students to two friends who travel around the world, sending back artifacts in suitcases.  Yianna and Helios became part of our classroom and offered my students a connection, something to grasp, while learning about our magnificent world through art.  This year the adventure continues with a group of new 3rd grade students.  Follow as Yianna and Helios guides them in exploration of 7 continents and 7 magical places.


The mysteries of art are always intriguing.  My 4th grade students enter the investigative world, observing, analyzing and evaluating artists who have run a muck in the art world, forge signatures and produce fake masterpieces!  Follow my students as they investigate, explore, create and assess the processes of art and possibly solve a crime or two.
Obviously we needed identification badges....;-)

I was trying to come up with one word that describes what we do in 5th grade art.  The foundation for the year's theme is connecting the past to the present.  As I have been creating and evolving the ideas for the year, I realized the connection is grounded in the human experience with art.  So, I came up with ARToLOGY.  The combination of ART and ANTHROPOLOGY creates: the study of human expression, creative skills and imagination that connects past with present.  My 5th grade student will explore the influential aspects of our history on our lives in the present across time (art time-that is)

Have you ever noticed the posture of most 6th grade students?  It's absolutely dreadful but a great way to dive into a year about who they are.  Targeting the awkwardness of their age and stage in life, my students will focus on exploring the concept of identity through various projects that encourage them to reflect on their character, personality and their place in this big world.

Phew....I think this is enough.
Follow along as my students take on EVERYTHING.
Now, if only I can figure out why my fonts change spontaneously on this blog.....
xoxo, SMocK you.