Storytelling, Stamps and Life Maps – An Outdoor Art Project

Submitted by: Anna Moreau
Grade level: middle-years,elementary,secondary,post-secondary
Core Competencies: communication,creative-thinking,critical-thinking,positive-personal-and-cultural-identity,social-responsibility
Subject Disciplines: fine-arts,outdoor-education,language-arts,english

Lesson: Mud Art:
Be an anywhere artist!

https://www.wildaboutvancouver.com/lesson/mud-art-be-an-anywhere-artist/

https://meganzeni.com/imaginative-play-anywhere-artist/

I would certainly use this lesson but
I would adapt it for use in a high school art class and I would do this by adding
in the element of portraiture.

When I taught with St. George’s Senior
School, our school grounds were conveniently situated next to Pacific Spirit
Park. I would often take my art classes out to Pacific Spirit Park and we would
bring our classroom materials with us, for example, taking a sketch
book/brushes and pencils/charcoal/paints. This adapted lesson would differ in
that, apart from water and sketchbooks, the students are encouraged to source
their art materials from the found and the more-than-human world around them.

This lesson could be the introductory
lesson for the Portraiture Unit, or it could wait until we had already covered
the basics of portraiture, having gone over types of human portraits, basic
proportions, as well as practiced with different mediums. In fact, this is a
lesson that could be repeated throughout the Portraiture Unit.

 

Introduction

1.
We are still working/starting on our
Portraiture Unit and today we are going to create portraits of each other,
using natural and found materials.

2.
Using materials found in Pacific
Spirit Park, water, and some limited art supplies (for example, sketch book),
students will create either a 2D or 3D portrait of their partner.

Make sure to have sketchbooks, and
containers of water for prepared for students. Bring aprons.

Design

  1. Student form self-selected pairs.
  2. Tell the group that they will have about 40
    minutes to create a portrait using water, the items provided, and what
    they find at the site.
  3. Encourage students to consider the using
    materials that reflect the personality of their partner.
  4. The final product can be either 2 or 3
    dimensional.

Emphasize collaborative discussion
and critical thinking.

Implementation

  1. Once they begin, circulate among the pair
    groups, and ask the students about their choice of material and
    dimension.
  2. Give suggestions when necessary but let them
    try ideas on their own and evaluate their success.
  3. After the allotted time gather everyone and
    start the “Parade of Portraits” gallery walk.

Give students a chance to explore
their environment and to develop strategies to overcome any shortcomings
(i.e. sculpture will not stay upright; I don’t have a paintbrush)

Assessment

  1. At the end, have a “Parade of Portraits”
    gallery walk where each pair group can show off their portrait and
    explain how and why it was constructed.  
  2. Ask students to explain their
    reasons for dimension, reasons for design, any elements they are worried
    about, and what they would add if they had more time. 
  3. Give feedback and suggestions
    where needed.

Encourage students to justify their
design decisions and to consider their intent behind their work.

Reflection

  1. Have students discuss their experiences creating
    the portrait (what went well, what was hard, how they made decisions,
    etc.)
  2. Opportunity for journal reflection.

Reflection questions:

·
What is one thing you learned?

·
What worked well?

·
What would you do differently next
time?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lesson: Storytelling, Stamps and Life
Maps – An Outdoor Art Project

Inspired by:

Emme, M. (2009). Lifemaps and Dreamtime. In
Blatherwick, M. (Ed.), What works: Innovative strategies for teaching art (111-114).
Freisens.

Big Ideas:

  • An artist’s intention transforms materials into art
  • Traditions, perspectives, worldviews are shared
    through aesthetic experiences
  • Visual arts offer unique ways of exploring our
    identity and sense of belonging

Core Competencies:

  • I can explore relationships between identity,
    place, culture, society, and belonging through arts activities and experiences.
  • I can reflect on works of art and creative processes
    to understand artists motivation and meaning.
  • I can communicate ideas through art making
  • I can explore First Peoples perspectives and
    knowledge, other ways of knowing, and local cultural knowledge through artistic
    works
  • I can interpret and communicate ideas using symbols
    and elements to express meaning through the arts

Location: Local Park and School Grounds
Grade: 8 (but can be adapted for Pre-K-12)
Subject: Arts Education

Introduction

1.
We have been looking at ways in
which Indigenous people from all over the world tell stories through the
images they create. Today, we will be listening to an Indigenous story of
origin. 

2.
If you have a guest speaker,
introduce them to your class and let them take over.

3.      If not, explain that Indigenous stories of origin form a strong bond
between present-day people, their ancestors, and creators who moved between
animal and human form and that we are going to listen to a version of the
creation story, Turtle Island.

Design

Location: Local Park or Schoolyard
Materials: Guest Speaker or electronic device and speaker; container/baggie
for each student to store their found items

Activity: Storytelling and Gathering Found Items

1.      Students sit in circle somewhere outdoors (Ideally, Pacific Spirit
Park. Otherwise, schoolyard, local or regional park can be substitutes) and
listen to an Indigenous artist telling their version of creation story,
Turtle Island (either in person, or an audio file with speaker).

2.
Class discussion, led by guest
speaker. If no guest speaker, you may use these prompting questions to guide
discussion:

a.
What was the story about?

b.
Describe the main characters (are
they human? Animals? Spirits?)

c.
What are the main events in the
story?

d.
What does the story teach about
humans?

e.
What does the story teach the
listeners about the more than human world, the landscape, plants, or animals?

f.
Is there a lesson to be learned in
this story? What do you think the moral of the story is?

3.
After the storytelling session and
proceeding discussion, pass around various images of Indigenous artworks from
around the world that tell a story. As you pass the images around, encourage
students to think about what story is being told and how the artist uses the
elements of art and design to tell that story.

4.
Discuss how images link place with
stories of origin and form a strong bond between present day people, their
ancestors, and creators who moved between animal and human form.

5.
Ask students to share what they see
and to describe what story they think is being told.

6.
Before returning to school, tell
students: “Your task is to gather a series of items that you could turn into individual
stamps. You can use found items and natural items you source in the park.
These items will represent either important places, or important people, so
choose your items carefully. Once you have collected your stamp items, we
will head back to the tables outside the art room and each of you will begin
making your very own life map with your newfound stamps.”

7.      Provide students with enough time to collect 10 different types of
stamp materials.

 

Implementation

Location:
Schoolyard, outside at tables

Materials: White
or coloured construction paper, tempera paint, test paper

Activity:
Life Map Stamps

 

1.
Invite students to think about
either important places or important people in their lives. Pick a stamp, a
colour, and a location on the paper for each important place or person.

2.
Choose a different colour for each
important place or person.

3.
Begin to stamp. You may wish to
outline each significant person or place

4.
When the design of one significant
person or place meets the design of the other, make a decision to determine
how these elements interact. Will they overlap? Will they remain separated?
Will your significant place or person have a border surrounding them?

5.
Continue to stamp until the terrain
of the page is covered or until you deem it to be complete.

6.
When the life-maps are complete,
put them in a place to dry and then hang them on the walls. You might want to
showcase the artwork in a high traffic area, such as a school hallway.

7.
Do a gallery walk, where each
student artist shares and discusses their personal life map with the class.

 

Assessment

1.
At the end, have a gallery walk where
each student can show off their life map and explain how and why it was
constructed.  

2.
Ask students to explain their reasons
for colour choices, reasons for design, any elements they are worried about,
and what they would add if they had more time.

3.
Give feedback and suggestions where
needed

Reflection

In their visual diaries, students will create a one-page reflection
that addresses the following:

  1. Have students discuss their experiences creating
    the portrait (what went well, what was hard, how they made decisions,
    etc.)

Opportunity
for journal reflection.

 

·
Inclusive learning opportunities:

    • Use the neighbourhood walk as an opportunity to talk about places
      that are important to us
    • Stay on school grounds and use the schoolyard to source items with
      which to make stamps
    • Pre-make stamps or use actual stamps and a stamp-pad
    • Students can communicate their preferences, even if in response to
      closed questions) to an SSA who can support the student in creating their
      life map
    • This activity can be transposed to a digital life map

·
Safety concerns

    • The group needs to stay together, especially if the parklands are quite
      large: it would be wise for another teacher or adult to accompany the
      group on this trip to Pacific Spirit Park, especially for younger
      students
    • Students need to have access to appropriate footwear and clothing
      to participate in outdoor learning
    • Safety plan should be in place, particularly for students with
      known medical conditions.
    • Bring a First Aid Kit, supplied by the school
    • The school should be aware that you will be offsite with your
      students

·
Modifications (for age
groups/abilities)

    • This lesson can be modified for learners of all ages and
      abilities.
    • Creation story, Turtle Island: There are many versions of this
      creation story. Your guest speaker may choose to tell a simpler version
      of the story for ELL and/or younger audiences and they may supplement the
      story with puppets, figurines, or images for diverse learners.
    • Life Map: students could create life maps at Pacific Spirit Park,
      using the forest floor as the canvas and using found loose parts to
      create patterns and to tell a story. Expectations can and should be
      modified for younger learners. Perhaps younger learners could use fruit
      and vegetable stamps, along with found items. 

·
Social contexts

    • Students explore First Peoples perspectives and knowledge, other
      ways of knowing, and local cultural knowledge through artistic works

·
Sustainability

    • This project promotes sustainability in the use of natural and
      found materials.

·
Indigenous approaches

    • This project is a response to Indigenous creation stories that are
      part of the First Nations tradition
    • If possible, it is recommended to partner with an Indigenous
      artist/storyteller for this project.
    • Students explore First Peoples perspectives and knowledge, other
      ways of knowing, and local cultural knowledge through artistic works

 

 

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