Who We Are
Central Idea: A person’s uniqueness is a result of many influences.
In this project we explore painting in depth. We learn how to prepare for working with paint, what tools we use, how to work with paint, and how to clean up when finished. We focus on portraiture. We look at why artists make portraits and discuss the difference between a portrait and a self-portrait. Each student mixes their own skin tone and creates a self-portrait.
How We Express Ourselves
Central Idea: Illustrations enhance and tell stories.
In this unit we explore the world of illustration. We read every day together and discover the connection between what is written and the images that go with it. We then create our very own picture book. We create a basic story together as a class. I then teach how to assemble a book. For each page we discuss what kind of picture could go with each sentence. We then use a different art medium--crayon, colored pencil, marker, watercolor, and collage--for each page. They then bind all of their pages together and make a front cover. I ask them to add a few blank pages to the end of the book. That way they can make a book with their family. Simply flip it upside down so the back cover is now the front cover and create!
Sharing the Planet
Central Idea: Characteristics determine animal classification.
In this unit we focus on a fundamental drawing technique: shape drawing. I teach the students how to break down complex forms into smaller, more simple shapes. We learn to see those complex forms broken down into shapes. We then focus the skill in drawing animals. Each day by picking an animal and drawing it shape by shape. We then learn about that animal's environment and draw it in the back ground. They start becoming more confident in their drawing skills which is so foundational to building artist confidence.
How the World Works
Central Idea: The universe consists of patterns and cycles.
In this unit we look at space. We talk about the idea of comparison--bigger vs. smaller, close vs. far, cold vs. hot. This ties into the artistic element of space and how artwork is organized. We create the planets, spaceships, astronauts, comets and asteroids and put them all together on a giant space mural.
How We Organize Ourselves
Central Idea: Products originate from many sources.
In this unit we focus on where stuff comes from. We take a "How It's Made" journey on a chosen item. I bring in a few objects like a candle, construction paper, yarn, etc. Students then pick an object they want to investigate. We then deep dive into where that object comes from and how it is made. We then go on to make that item from scratch. It allows them to see the work and resources go into making basic products. We talk about wasting and reusing. Students then start to appreciate what they have and the energy put into creating it.
Where We Are in Place and Time
In this unit we talk about how our environment changes in Minnesota. We do this through landscape design and Dakota art. We do not appropriate Native art but instead learn about stories and traditions of the Dakota people as the seasons change for them. We then compare the many student's traditions and stories attached the changing seasons in Minnesota. They then create landscapes for each season depicting the physical characteristics and a tradition they have in that season.