Musings about the importance and impact of art and art education in the 21st century.

Musings about the importance of art and art education

1st Grade Faith Ringgold 'Tar Beach' Quilts

♠ Posted by ArtMuse in at 3:25 PM

I love love love the book 'Tar Beach' by Faith Ringgold, it's such a good story with serious and important messages woven very effectively into the story. My first graders absolutely loved it. We discussed imagination and dreams, we also discussed segregation and prejudice. For the art project I bought a book of patterned scrapbook papers and cut a few of them into 3x3" squares. I then used light blue paper off the jumbo roll I had for the background. Students worked in groups of 4-5 and were each responsible for creating a building and a person (themselves) that they would cut and paste onto the background. I reminded them that whatever building they were going to draw had to be something they wanted, similar to the way in the story that the character Cassie Louise Lightfoot would fly over and the buildings she wanted to own. They then worked as a team to draw a bridge which I then helped each group individually glitter. The lesson went really well, the only difficulties I had were the students not being able to effectively communicate with one another in their group and as a result some bickering and complaining ensued. I tried to model how to share and cooperatively use the materials as well as how to discuss who would do what parts of the image, but they have such a small amount of experience really working collaboratively that it was a real challenge. Also, I spent an entire period modeling, discussing, and brainstorming ideas with them on how to add 'detail' to their work so that the buildings would have sidewalks, grass, flowers, trees, etc. but I still didn't really get as much detail as I would have liked from them. It was funny because the day before I finished the project with them I was talking about drawing with one of our kindergarten teachers and she was saying how she really tries to push the students to include details and characteristics of the objects they are drawing, and that developmentally at those ages, its hard for them to do so. So by pushing for details in their artwork, your really trying to get them to improve and surpass their normal ability range, which is always a good thing. So next time, details, details, details!