Fifth Graders, as I mentioned here, are embarking on something new! They are making a legacy project – a piece of artwork that will permanently become part of Findley Elementary School. This is a fantastic experience because over the course of the first few days, it’s clear that they are completely in charge and own every last second of their curriculum for the remainder of the year.
Day 1: Using our sketchbooks, we brainstormed what our ultimate legacy would look like; letting the sky be the limit.
Day 2: We paired up, comparing our ideas and narrowing down realistic and powerful themes and concepts that we could use. This was a chance to bring literacy in the classroom because we had to find themes that we could understand and portray effectively using art.
Day 3: The ultimate concept was chosen to be an interactive structure that looked much liked a house and carried multiple themes that students associated with our school (more to come on this). Using higher-order thinking, we gained understanding of how to create a schedule and Timeline for our project – we had 30 class periods left in the year…can we do it? We assessed our goals and made a Materials List with a co st estimation and finally we tasked the groups out of what was necessary to work on…not the members of the group, but rather how we could separate the work in the most effective way. (The links are to the files I used.)
Day 4: From here, we divided into the chosen task groups to design and illustrate these themes – five groups for five sections of the project. Pillar One, Pillar Two, Pillar Three, Pillar Four, and the Pillar Four. Each group was chosen by me because I took extensive notes on what each student was prioritizing as they planned. Turns out, each student was thrilled to be decision makers for the group I put them in (score)! (The links, again, are to the files I created and used with the students.)
Note: The first few days are definitely problem solving packed. There’s not doubt about it. My principal asked, after observing, how do I assess standards – meet standards during these days. Of course, she wasn’t asking because she doubt me but rather wanted to see it how I saw it. I see 21st century skills and art standards – both from the core and nationally. They are becoming engineers by designing and measuring out this concept they’ve created; they are designers and architects…problem solving and collaborating with one another to meet a goal; and they are learning how to apply themes and ideas using multiple materials and elements/principles of art. What I felt was pretty much what she saw but it was nice to say it all out loud! I didn’t realize I was hitting so many valid points!
Day 5: Prep time! Using white primer, we discussed how every artwork and project we do in any situation requires a process and steps to make it happen – sometimes these steps are rewarding and intense, while others are “housekeeping” steps to make everything come together. Today was a house keeping day because we needed to prime our pillars (donated by my father-in-law) so that our paint would be brighter as we worked. Rather than choose the groups, I let students try choosing their own team. This can be hugely successful and I always cross my fingers that it will be but as usual, there were a few students I had to guide into a group. I always premise reminding them that working with their friends isn’t always the most productive. I also demonstrated how to prime the pillars without making [too] much of a mess, of course.
From here, well, it’s about what they’ve time-lined. Which means I will spend this weekend getting the means necessary for their roof, floor and frame so that they can spend the week priming it. From there, we will add the designs they came up with and talk about painting skills to make them happen. Stay tuned – I promise this journey will be amazing! 🙂