Arts integration is one of my favorite topics to talk about when it comes to Art Education. I love lesson planning, art making, mixing paint and clay making. However, I also love the challenge of incorporating classroom standards into my lessons.
When it comes to arts integration, Social Studies is always the easier topic to stick with, but this year I wanted to venture into new worlds with education. My fourth graders just finished an art project that I was very hesitant to begin. It challenged their critical thinking skills, creativity, imagination, and writing skills. It all began with a visit from N D Wilson, an author who wrote about personal experiences in his lifetime, but incorporated the fantasy genre within his stories. The fourth graders loved him! I personally haven’t seen students so excited about books! They were literally jumping off the floor while listening to the inspiration behind his stories. That is where I found the inspiration for a new art lesson that would become my favorite.
The Art Itself!
We focused on the artist Stefan G. Bucher; an American graphic designer and illustrator. Bucher is the creator of the popular online animation series Daily Monster. For 100 days, he filmed himself placing ink droplets on paper, spraying ink into different directions, and using the ink blots to create an original character; not two of his works are the same! The students enjoyed the messy, yet exciting process that Bucher uses as well. They used sharpies to fill in white space and to add extra details to their monsters such as horns, spikes, teeth, arms, and more. Once the creative process was over it was time to begin brainstorming for the fun part, the fantasy stories!
Once Upon a Time…
Collaborating with teachers has benefited me tremendously in the art room. I was sharing my excitement about the lesson with a fourth grade teacher and she began telling me about a narrative technique she uses in her classroom, the I.C.E.E. method. If you haven’t heard of this acronym before, this is what it stands for…I- Introduce the characters and setting; C- create a problem for the story; E- Events that happened that worked towards a solution; and E- the ending event. The students used this technique while brainstorming ideas for fantasy stories and when writing their final narrative. I supplied them with a list of adjectives they could use to describe their monster, example stories, and transition words that they could use to assist any students who may have writer’s block.
Overall, I believe the students mastered every objective for this lesson. They enjoyed learning about both an artist and an author that had something in common. I loved seeing their expressions when they realized, yet again, art can connect everything and can make academics so much more enjoyable.