Bringing Meaning to Art

Some parents ask, “How do you teachers see and know where learning happens?” and our answer is, “Children learn through play, and learning happens in the moment and during reflection”. The way we teachers organize ourselves, and are able to report on these important revelations these little people are making is through mapping out educational plans, and using PYP standards.

In this blog, I hope to outline the process of planning J&C’s learning outcomes. By placing provocations around the room, and observing where the kids went with this specific activity, we can assess the Art Standard: Students realize that artwork has meaning.

The provocation we placed in a corner of the classroom was an easel, paints, mosaic materials, glue, and an observing teacher. Once a child had completed their art work, we would ask them what it was and quote their response on their piece of art.

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Next step was to apply what they said about their work, and find a real/imaginative image that they could choose to represent their work using the computer.

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Over the past 3 weeks art and selected colour prints started popping up around the room and an interesting thing started happening: the J&C class started giving observations/critiques about work they were seeing. Some comments were: “that’s not the same monster that is painted, it’s not blue”. And a person’s reply to that comment, “but is is the same because it has eyes”. Or, “that is rain because the lines are falling down”.

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We allowed for this space to grow, and the J&C students began to tell us more and more about their art, and want to search the internet for images that best fit their own ideas. As this specific assessment was being wrapped up, we introduced the book The Dot. The Dot is a story about a little girl who believes that she isn’t an artist, and goes on to explore the significance in just a single dot placed on a sheet of paper.

Our class loved this book, as their own art seemed very similar to the art in the book. After reading the story a couple of times, the class had the opportunity to create their own collaborative piece of work, by placing only a single stroke on a paper. We then reflected on this collaborative piece, and shared ideas as to what they could see in the design. Just some of the things they saw were: trains, dots, water, string. And drawing from their recent experiences, and knowledge, they asked to compare their thoughts to what could be found on google images.

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Ultimately, the class was allowed the freedom explore, reflect, and be the authorities on their own art. They also learned how to be critical, and decisive. But most importantly, they did all of these things through play, and learning within a community.

Please post any art your child is doing at home, we would love to see what materials and mediums are being used.

Also, if you would like to learn more techniques to scaffold critical thinking, please press on the image to visit this amazing page:

Austin's Butterfly

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