Submitted by: Breanne Soviero, Long Island Unit: Physical Education and Art Lesson: Movement and Rhythm in Modern Art Grades: Elementary K2 (adaptable to other grades)
In K2 physical education, children are just learning and becoming aware of their body‚s movements and abilities. Many primary Phys. Ed. Programs regularly include movement and dance as a regular part of their curriculum. This activity integrates Modern Art and Physical Education by having students act out the movements and emotions depicted within the paintings, The Starry Night, by Vincent Van Gogh, The Scream, by Edvard Munch, and Number 1 (Lavender Mist) by Jackson Pollock.¬ Students will be asked to "become" the shapes, the colors, or the paintbrush, and to explore the possibilities within the selected canvases.
Students should have been introduced to movements of different rhythms (walk, skip) and fast and slow speed/tempos (walk, jog) before doing this activity.¬ Knowledge of and ability to use their body to make different body shapes of wide, narrow, curved, etc. would also be helpful in conducting this lesson.¬ Having some experience in talking about art would be helpful, although this lesson could be used for the introduction of such an experience.
Goals / New York State Standards:
Students will use visual art as the inspiration in developing their creating their own body rhythms and exploring different ways to "act out" shapes and emotions within the paintings.
This activity will further students understanding of their body‚s movements and abilities.
This activity will make the connections between the visual art and movement skills inspiring the students to think creatively and connect the arts to other areas of endeavor.
New York State Learning Standards for Physical Education
Standard 1: Personal Health and Fitness
Students will have the necessary knowledge and skills to establish and maintain physical fitness, participate in physical activity, and maintain personal health.
Standard 2: A Safe and Healthy Environment
Students will acquire the knowledge and ability necessary to create and maintain a safe and healthy environment.
Standard 3: Resource Management
Students will understand and be able to manage their personal and community resources.
New York State Learning Standards for the Arts
Standard 1: Creating, Performing, and Participating in the Arts
Students will actively engage in the processes that constitute creation and performance in the arts (dance, music, theatre, and visual arts) and participate in various roles in the arts.
Standard 2: Knowing and Using Arts Materials and Resources
Students will be knowledgeable about and make use of the materials and resources available for participation in the arts in various roles.
Standard 3: Responding to and Analyzing Works of Art
Students will respond critically to a variety of works in the arts, connecting the individual work to other works and to other aspects of human endeavor and thought.
Standard 4: Understanding the Cultural Contributions of the Arts
Students will develop an understanding of the personal and cultural forces that shape artistic communication and how the arts in turn shape the diverse cultures of past and present society.
Looking at Art: Students will gather around the three selected paintings. The teacher will guide the students in looking at different elements of the paintings and talking about the movement, emotions and expressive qualities of the images. Some suggested questions and introductory activities:
Describe the artist's use of color in each. How many colors have been used? How do those colors make you feel when you look at the painting?
Describe the lines in the paintings. Use your finger to trace over the lines in each painting. If you had to make those lines with your body, what could you do? Would you move fast or slow?
What kinds of shapes do you see? Trace some of the shapes with your finger. What shapes do they make? Using your arms, try to make the shape of the cypress tree in Starry Night.
Is your eye drawn to any particular area of the painting? Why?
Does the work make you think of movement? How does the artist show movement?
Where might the artist have been while painting this picture? Imagine for a moment that you were the artist, were you sitting or standing when you painted this picture? How do you think Jackson Pollock painted Lavendar Mist?
What kind of mood or feeling do you get from looking at the paintings?
If you could imagine yourself within each painting, how would you feel? What do you think the man in The Scream is so frightened about?
What sounds would you hear if you were in one of the paintings?
What do you like or dislike about the paintings?
2. Guided Narrative Activity: In the gym, or another large open space, students will spread out and find their own personal space in the room. At this point, there will be no interaction between the children; each will independently create their own interpretation of the paintings. The teacher will guide the students in exploring the elements within the paintings. Directions such as, "Pretend your body is a paintbrush, full of paint. Are you heavy or light? Try to paint a straight line. If you were one of the drip lines in Jackson Pollock‚s painting, how would your paintbrush body move over the canvas? Your body is now one of the stars in Van Gogh‚s Starry Night. Show me what they would look like. Now, pretend you are a paintbrush making the lines and movements in the sky of The Scream. Show me with your body, the shape of one of the cypress trees in Starry Night. Pretend you are the tree growing from a seed..."
Each student will interpret and express the emotions and movement within the paintings and concentrate on really "experiencing" the painting with these guided directions.
3. Sharing their experience: After the students are finished "painting" with their bodies, ask them to share their experience with the class. Some possible questions:
How did "painting" with your body feel? Describe it.
How did you feel when you painted Van Gogh‚s stars?
What movements did you make for the sky in The Scream?
Do you think the artist felt like you feel now, while they were painting the paintings? Why? Why not?
Extensions / Other Lesson Ideas:
Jackson Pollock Painting: Take children outdoors, and have them create a drip painting in the style of Pollock, by rotating around their paper.
Vincent Van Gogh textured painting:
Mix nontoxic joint compound or modeling compound with
Tempera Paint to create a thick paint.
Students will paint using Popsicle sticks to create a textured painting.
Mood Painting: Students will use the elements of line and color to create an image that creates a mood or feeling.
Suggestions from Melissa Woodland:
In a graduate class I took with Marilyn Stewart a few years ago we had a dance instructor come in and provide some feedback on making connections. I will share what I remember...
To get students to think about line you could have your students form a line and follow the leader. As they are walking, call out different kinds of lines and watch them adjust (ex: wavy, zig zag, dotted). Part two was to have students walk by leading with different body parts which she also called out. You can also extend this out by showing an artwork and asking students to respond with action or movement.
To focus on positive and negative space, she pairs students and has one be the sculptor and one be the clay. The clay can only move into the position a sculptor choose. Another for space, was to have a student pose creating negative space. Another student enters the "sculpture" and must fill the negative space somehow. You can build and keep adding, or rotate the kids out.¬ For older kids, she sets it to music and you must move in and out during an 8count. For a twist you could have students choose a word from a jar to "sculpt" as students are sometimes paralyzed when given free reign.
I have tried all of the above with K4 and they eat it up. Not sure with the older ones.
For our finale we went to "Grounds for
Sculpture" while a Chihuly exhibit was inside and we had to respond to his work with an interpretive dance. We started with more formal critiques and then as a group had to interpret the work, and using a piece of music set our response to a series of 8counts.