From Theresa: I envision it as a self-portrait, but one intended to encourage students to celebrate their cultural heritage, and in turn, the cultural heritage of their peers.
Brief Description of Lesson
Students discuss the meaning of identity, explore traditional, cultural, and invented symbols, study portraits which use visual symbols, create a portrait which includes symbols to express their identity, and write a short artist's statement describing their work.
How can an artist show aspects of identity besides physical appearance in a work of art?
Artists can use cultural and invented symbols to represent their own or others' identities.
Arts EALRs* Addressed:
1.1 Concepts and vocabulary
1.2 Skills and techniques (drawing, collage)
2.1 Applies creative process
2.3 Applies a responding process
3. Communicates through the arts
4.4 Understands that the arts shape and reflect culture and history
Photo from Katie Eshelman's artroom at Galatia Jr. High School
Writing EALRS Addressed:
1 Writes clearly and effectively
2.2 Writes for different purposes
2.3 Writes in a variety of forms
Just Like Me: Stories and Self-Portraits by Fourteen Artists by Harriet Rohmer- This remarkable collection highlights the art and inspirational paths of 14 outstanding artists who, over the course of 20 years, have shared their art and lives with children. Each spread comprises a self-portrait, as well as the artist's personal story and reflections on what their art means to them.
Images of various common symbols
Symbols of Native America - Over 1000 illustrations show the fascinating origins and meanings of 300 symbols and signs used by North American tribes.
The Dyer's Art: Ikat, batik, plangi - This volume is the first to focus exclusively on resist dyeing as an art form. It brings together examples from cultures on every continent, and includes the work of many contemporary artist-craftsmen.
Compares and contrasts visual symbols used to communicate ideas in various cultures.
Creates a self-portrait to communicate their identity using cultural and/or invented symbols.
Writes an artist's statement describing their portrait.
Explores their own identity through discussion and research.
Recognizes symbols as concrete signs or images that represent some other, more abstract thing or ideas.
Creates a self-portrait that employs cultural and/or invented symbols to express identity.
Writes an artist's statement that describes their identity-portrait
INSTRUCTIONAL STRATEGIES (What the Teacher Does)
Introduce portrait which shows physical characteristics of individual, begins a discussion about other aspects of identity
Introduce portraits which use various adopted and/or invented symbols to convey information about the individual's identity
Read sample artist's statement
Create "identity map" on white board using students' suggestions
Have students use the rest of class time to break into groups for brainstorming symbols for identity portraits (each group could be assigned one identity trait to focus on)
Collect identity symbol ideas from groups for use next class.
Ask students to think about their own identities for homework and have at least five symbol ideas to begin their identity portraits next class.
Ask a representative from each group to share one or two brainstormed ideas on symbols for identity traits
Ask for volunteers to share a personal identity symbol
Discuss procedure for beginning production of identity portraits (Here specific materials can be discussed, or students can be offered a choice of materials and techniques depending on material availability, their experience, and the physical constraints of the classroom
Circulate amongst tables to assist, offer suggestions, encouragement
As production period draws to a close, makes a verbal check of students' progress, has students place work in storage area, oversees clean-up
Begin class by sharing an identity portrait and accompanying artist's statement and leads discussion on writing artist's statements
Oversee students' return to art production and writing activities, circulates
As production period draws to a close, check on progress, encourage completion, clean-up
CREATIVE PROCESS (What the Student Does)
Participate in discussion of portrait
Observe portrait examples and identifies types of symbols used
Contribute to discussion on artist's statement
Contribute to "identity map"
Brainstorm symbols for identity portraits as part of group discussion
Homework: Thinks about identity, planning at least five symbols to include in identity portrait.
Group representatives share brainstormed identity symbols from previous class
Share personal identity symbol
Listen to instructions, asks any questions that come up
Gather art materials and begin art production.
Place work-in-progress in storage area, clean up work area
Observe identity portrait, listens to artist's statement, participates in discussion on writing artist's statements
Continue art production and/or begins artist's statement
Wrap-up art production, writing, clean-up
Evidence of Student Learning
Student artworks include images of themselves, symbols representing aspects of their identities (physical characteristics, cultural background, interests, beliefs, etc.)