♠ Posted by ArtMuse in 5th Grade Lessons at 1:05 PM
I love the artwork of Romare Bearden. I also firmly believe that no one artist or type of art is too 'hard' or complicated to teach elementary school aged children. In my opinion its all a matter of being selective in the works you chose to show and the range of information you chose to focus on. The majority of my students are minority, inner city children, so its important for me to expose them to not only styles and artists from different periods and various places around the world to show them artists inspirations are derived from experiences/ideas similar to theirs. To me, Romare Bearden is a great example of this. His inspirations are pulled from New York urban life, the African American diaspora, jazz, country life, spirituality, and personal views. In studying his work we examined 'The Dove' and 'My Block' and I had the students create a rendering of their block from this. They used oil pastels to color and add texture, then collaged in elements over their drawings. Lastly, the collaged in a title to represent the spirit/theme/idea/message of the block they live on. While working we listened to the jazz music of the Harlem Renaissance and discussed the idea of improvisation in music and in art. I told them, "don't look for the collage elements that you want in your artwork, you'll go crazy trying to find that 'just right' piece. Instead, improvise, think of ways you can incorporate those found pieces into your work instead." It was a very challenging lesson for them, but I think it was a great lesson to start the year off with and they really loved Bearden's work.