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In Brittany Harper’s 2ed/3rd grade class we chose to focus on the playground for our Unit Topic. Through different mediums students had the chance to explore and expand a topic that was already incredibly familiar. Playgrounds are an integral part of each child’s life experience and students were encouraged to translate and expand that experience visually. Students created art about playgrounds each lesson. Moving through the unit, students used various art-making materials and processes including drawing, color-mixing, painting, multimedia constructing, and clay-building. Each student was able to use the materials and the playground topic to inspire inventiveness and imagination.

Lesson 1:

Students learn to plan their playgrounds in sketchbooks, as compared to when DaVinci planned his invented machines. Students translate drawn plans to acrylic paintings using color-mixing techniques and full page compositions. Students also were required to include an environment for their painting, such as mountains or space or underwater. Students were able to create finished paintings showing this environment as well as describing and naming their inventive colors.

"Tall Tower" Acrylic painting
"Create your own Playground"

“Tall Tower”
Acrylic painting
“Create your own Playground”

Acrylic painting"Create your own Playground"

Acrylic painting
“Create your own Playground”

Acrylic painting"Create your own Playground"

Acrylic painting
“Create your own Playground”

Acrylic painting"Create your own Playground"

Acrylic painting
“Create your own Playground”

Acrylic painting"Create your own Playground"

Acrylic painting
“Create your own Playground”

Acrylic painting"Create your own Playground"

Acrylic painting
“Create your own Playground”

Acrylic painting"Create your own Playground"

Acrylic painting
“Create your own Playground”

 

Lesson 2:

Students realize their invented playgrounds as 3-D constructed models. Using various materials students invent their own “problems” to solve as they endeavor to construct models of their invented play equipment. We introduced the concept of armatures, or skeletons for buildings. We encouraged the students to use these to make their structures more stable. Materials like paper-tubes, wire, pipe-cleaners, cardboard, tape, hot glue, paper pulp and found items allow choice in problem solving. Students were able to create sculptures and learned how to make structures that were stable. Students also were able to discuss whether their

Ms. Teal teaching about the Documentation Station

Ms. Teal teaching about the Documentation Station

Mixed Media"Construct your own Playground"
This is an in-process swing

Mixed Media
“Construct your own Playground”
This is an in-process swing

Mixed Media"Construct your own Playground"

Mixed Media
“Construct your own Playground”

Mixed Media"Construct your own Playground"
This students uses many materials including paper-pulp

Mixed Media
“Construct your own Playground”
This students uses many materials including paper-pulp

Mixed Media"Construct your own Playground"
The environment in this playground is "rain"

Mixed Media
“Construct your own Playground”
The environment in this playground is “rain”

 

projects were real or imaginary.

Lesson 3:

Students learn about American artist Alexander Calder and his Circus in order to visualize people in their 3-D playground models. Using clay and clay-building tools students create who plays on their play-ground. Often this was the student’s family and friends but in some cases it was animals or creatures. We introduced the concepts of sculpture, working with clay, slip and score and planning clay with sketches. We introduced the extruder with the clay, explaining how it could be used to create hair as well as many other textures. Students learned that it is important that their playgrounds are safe and can show/explain who plays on their structure.

 

Animals are who play on this student's playground. Here is his collection

Animals are who play on this student’s playground. Here is his collection

This student called this figure a "worrier:" explaining that it worries a lot.

This student called this figure a “worrier:” explaining that it worries a lot.

this student created a clay snowman for her playground environment

this student created a clay snowman for her playground environment

This student shows her clay person on the playground

This student shows her clay person on the playground

21st century skills

Students learned and demonstrated skills that are essential in our modern and changing world. The 21st century skills that students learned were:

Creativity and Innovation:

  • Students use  a wide range of idea creation techniques including sketching, painting, and 3-D construction

Critical Thinking and problem solving:

  •  Students use systems thinking as they transfer one idea through several mediums
  • Students solve problems, and create new problems to solve in conventional and innovative ways as they construct 3-D models

Make Judgments and decisions:

  • Make choices about materials according to individual preference/idea development
  • Reflect critically on processes of creating, able to explain decisions on camera

Flexibility and Adaptability:

  • Students will adapt to the changing materials and problem-posing materials like clay, the extruder, tape, and glue, wire and mixed medias.
  • Student’s ideas will be flexible and demonstrate fluidity

Communication and Collaboration

  • Communicate Clearly: Articulate thoughts and artistic intentions effectively using art vocabulary at the Documentation Station
  • Interview peer students about their project and act as a reporter asking questions

Colorado Art Standards

Colorado Art Standards Lesson 1 Lesson 2 Lesson 3
1. Observe to Learn to Comprehend X X
2. Envision and Critique to Reflect X X
3. Invent and Discover to Create X X X
4. Relate and Connect to Transfer: X X X

Standard 1. (COMPREHEND)

  • Recognize, articulate, and debate that the visual arts are a means for expression
  • Critique personal work and the work of others with informed criteria

Standard 2. (REFLECT)

  • Explain, demonstrate, and interpret a range of purposes of art and design, recognizing that the making and study of art and design can be approached from a variety of view points, intelligences, and perspectives
  • Critique personal work and the work of others with informed criteria

Standard 3. (CREATE)

  • Create works of art that articulate more sophisticated ideas, feelings, emotions, and points of view about art and design through an expanded use of media and technologies.
  • Develop and build appropriate mastery in art-making skills using traditional and new technologies and an understanding of the characteristics and expressive features of art and design.

Standard 4. (TRANSFER)

  • Recognize, interpret, and validate that the creative process builds on the development of ideas through a process of inquiry, discovery, and research
  •  Critique personal work and the work of others with informed criteria

 

 

Finally, our semester ended beautifully with an amazing art show where all of the student’s playground art was displayed so that we could see all the finished work!

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