Well, it’s Christmas time which means it’s time to get organized and get projects back to kids before we send them off for weeks. I just reorganized some 5th grade paintings and decided to snap a picture of one of the pieces that has gotten quite a bit of attention. Students study Wassily Kandinsky in 5th grade…they even revisit him when they take drawing in high school…in fact I feel confident saying that all the teachers in the district are very found of his work. He’s definitely a fun subject to teach – and the students love seeing an artist who is known for his multi-talents, his love for music, and his desire to keep thoughts very simple. You can find the overview of my Wassily Kandinsky unit here.
I think it’s incredibly valuable to teach students, any grade, about artists that we see throughout history and current day. I don’t mean getting out artwork and copying it – no, you should know by now how I feel about that…when it is done right, you can help students connect to the artist and they really begin to understand why it’s important to think about their own work. I try to include an major artist study or art movement in each grade level – and by major, I mean we spend an entire unit doing activities that enhance the understanding. Any time I do an artist spotlight, while we work in similar mediums or styles, it’s fun to let them have the control and see how each painting or project ends up being 100% different from each other. It’s rewarding to hear students discussing their ideas with one another and even more so when students start to sense when they’ve accomplished their goal.
I mean, who doesn’t enjoy sitting down at a canvas and painting away until that moment when it all falls together? That feeling of completion and purpose. The showcased student above did just that. She came to me knowing she was done and ready to explain why. She was worried I would think she wasn’t trying but her reasoning was sound; in fact she wanted to do another one – said that the feeling of getting something done the way she wanted it done, no one else, was great. And this was a 5th grader.