The Lovely Language Of Art

PYP unit 1: How we express ourselves (Language)


Central Idea: Language is a tool for communication and self-expression.

Grade Level: 3rd Grade (8-9 year olds)

Media: painting, drawing/sketching, graphic design, collage

Elements of Art: line, shape, colour, space

Teaching the big concepts in art:

After making the transition from classroom teacher to specialist teacher, I realised quickly how vital it was to reinforce the big concepts students were learning about in their classrooms.

Reflection: You might have thought that this was one of the easiest concepts for children to understand…..for some it was but for others, especially those for whom English is an additional language it was not. We looked at a huge range of artworks. We talked about them and in groups we sorted them into three main groups- those which showed (literal) reflection, those which showed internal reflection (thinking, self reflection) and those with no reflection.

(add image here)

This helped students to see that the word and concept ‘reflection’ could be literal or introspective (to think about one’s own behaviour or art making/ to reflect upon your own art making).

Form: By connecting to activities already completed in their classes, grade 3 students were able to talk about what language was like, what is looked like? what is sounded like? Our school is set in an international context, so we also discussed the different languages spoken in our class and at home.

Activity:  Students completed a Graffiti Carousel activity to open up a discussion about whether or not art had it’s own language.See student’s responses below.

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*Perspective: During another lesson Students completed a picture sort activity to help them to understand that every single artwork could be made from a distinct perspective. Students were then asked to draw their own sketches in their art books to help remind them of the meaning of this concept and many students realised that the word perspective also had 2 meanings;



(add photos of student’s sketches here)

COLLAGE: Since the students were interested in experimenting with text and words and I knew that they needed to make art work that got them up on their feet moving, we found that collage was the perfect match.

Step 1: I asked the students to create a collage in a 1 hour lesson with little guidance from me other than their collage should depict language (see our examples below).

Students completed a self reflection verbally, talking about what they found easier and difficult.

Step 2: For our follow up lesson I lead the students in a 3 part collage making process, ensuring that they created a background, mid ground and top layer.Students were given a lot of freedom-see their artwork below.

We talked a lot afterwards and compared their first and second pieces of work.

Step 3: Students were asked to make a 3rd collage that showed some of the collage techniques they had learnt. They were asked to take on board feedback they had been given by their peers and teachers.

Some students were interested in using an Ipad to make a piece of collage so I led them in a very guided introduction to using the Art App, MOLDIV. Once students had the basics, they went outside taking photos of different textures and practiced using layers and text in the app to create a new collage of their choice.

We then compared and contrasted making collages with our hands and with an app.Here are some of their thoughtful reflections.

About Miss Frolchenko

Originally from Australia I am currently living and teaching at an international school in Rome, Italy.
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