Monday, September 12, 2011

Utilize Great Resources

If you want some great already assembled stable furniture that can be used as is or connected to other pieces to create an appealing and effective room design you go to a well-known furniture store.  If you want already to teach unit plans based on big ideas with cross curricular correlations you go to web site like SFMOMA Art Think.  This site takes some of the struggle out of creating a unit of instruction based on an enduring idea that has cross curricular aspects.  Here is one such unit based on the big idea of personal and historical roots.

Self and Society; Tracing Identity

The particular lesson that I am reviewing here is the one titled Personal Symbols, Personal Mythology.  Its essential questions are: “What role do symbols play in defining a person’s identity?” and “Can symbols have multiple meanings?”    I like that this lesson presents more than one artist (4 in fact).  This allows students to get more than one point of view of symbols and identity.  It also allows students to see how symbols can be used and presented in various media.  This lesson incorporates directed inquiry so that students can construct their own learning and take control over what they learn.  This lesson presents students with the opportunity to learn about US history, literature and current events that impact artists.  Through their investigation of the 4 artists students learn about the history, heritage and societies from within their own country.  Students can explore the artists in their own order if they all have computer access or the teacher can project the information for class review and discussion.  The lesson overview provides a succinct synopsis of the goals, activities and assessments.  The activities section is broken down into sections allowing students to do the following:
  • ·         Research and discuss what symbols are and what they may mean in a variety of societies (research skills)
  • ·         Develop their perceptual skills. (looking and discussing different artworks)
  • ·         Expand on first impressions. (Brainstorming)
  • ·         Create personal artwork.
  • ·         Develop their communications skills through presenting their artwork to the class.
  • ·         Further develop their reasoning, and writing skills through written self reflection.
What I like about the units presented on this website is that they present learning opportunities that can be utilized in English, History and Art classes.  The lessons can be expanded on or simplified depending on the classroom time or structure. 

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