Tag: collage

2nd Grade: Henri Matisse & Rex Ray: Cut-outs & Collage

2nd Grade: Henri Matisse & Rex Ray: Cut-outs & Collage

Description of the Unit – Students will explore the famous cut-outs that Henri Matisse innovated in the 1940’s, as well as Rex Ray’s inventive contemporary collages. Throughout their exploration students will note the use of color, line, shape, texture and positive and negative space in the creation of a dynamic yet balanced composition.

2nd grade student example of Matisse-Ray "style" Cut-out Collage with painted paper, books, magazines and other diverse stationary.
2nd grade student example of a Matisse-Ray “style” Cut-out Collage
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2nd Grade – Symbolism through a personal collage

2nd Grade – Symbolism through a personal collage

Description of the Unit –

Students will explore the concept of symbolism in art, and how they can use symbols—images—to represent aspects of themselves. Using magazines, books and other random two-dimensional found objects (such as playing cards or ticket stubs), students will carefully arrange symbolic imagery into a collage within a silhouette of their own profile.

2nd grade silhouette collages
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1st Grade – Pattern Collages

1st Grade – Pattern Collages

Description of the Unit –

Students will reinforce their understanding of patterns in art by creating collage patterns both individually and then in trios for a triptych of patterns.

Activity statement –

Pattern is one of the elements of the visual arts. It is represented as repetition, be it of a color, line, shape, symbol or combination of some or all of these. The repetition can serve to communicate a sense of balance, rhythm, harmony, movement and contrast in the artwork.

1st grade individual pattern collage
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Kindergarten – Ecosystem collages inspired by Eric Carle

Kindergarten – Ecosystem collages inspired by Eric Carle

Description of the Unit –

Integrated with a science unit on ecosystems, students will create an Eric Carle-inspired collage of an ecosystem.

Kindergarten art - Eric Carle-style ecosystem collage
Ocean ecosystem by kindergarten student: for this she used a dolphin stencil to help her

Activity statement –

In kindergarten science students explore an entire unit devoted to ecosystems. They learn about earth’s many ecosystems: climate, flora, fauna and so forth. Each student is assigned a specific ecosystem to research and present to the class. This collage will be one of the visual elements used in their reports.

To inspire the collage-making process, we will look at different Eric Carle books and notice his painted paper collages. Using his techniques as a guide, we will focus on color and texture as students first paint large pieces of paper in single colors and then add texture with the brushes, combs, forks, rollers and other tools provided. These pieces of paper will be used communally among the students for their collages, therefore no one piece belongs to one student.

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8th Grade – Mixed Media Collage

8th Grade – Mixed Media Collage

Description of the Unit –

Students will learn about a variety of mixed media collage artists and create their own mixed media collage from thoughtfully compiled items.

(FYI: I have a little video tutorial that I made for my students during the Covid-19 shelter-in-place period that takes this assignment one step further by making it a “secret” collage. Check it out to see what I mean:)

Activity statement –

The term “collage” comes from the French word coller, or “to glue.” Originated by the Cubists, the collages were mixed media assemblages of newsprint, photographs, magazines and books, as well as wood, painted paper and sometimes even three-dimensional objects. For this lesson students will observe and discuss the work of three well-known collage artists, Hannah Hoch, Eileen Agar & Kurt Schwitters, and use their collages as inspiration for their own mixed media collage. However, students will be considering very personal objects and text to include in his or her own collage as each collage will also feature a stylized self-portrait photo.

Eileen Agar, Fish Circus, 1939
Kurt Schwitters, Mz601, 1923
Hannah Höch, Flight, 1931
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7th grade – Silhouette Collage

7th grade – Silhouette Collage

Description of the Unit –

Students will carefully choose imagery that symbolizes or represents aspects of themselves to arrange in collage form within a silhouette of their own profile.

7th grade silhouette collage

Activity statement –

If images and symbols from the everyday world could be used to represent who you are, what images and symbols would you choose? Students will explore this idea, in the process discussing the ways in which we sometimes consciously and unconsciously choose to align ourselves with certain images and symbols through the clothes we wear, the way we might decorate our rooms, how we select products to consume, etc.

This unit was one my students already explored in second grade, when I first introduce them to the concept of symbolism. https://anitasagastegui.com/2020/04/29/2nd-grade-symbolism-through-a-personal-collage/. I like to re-introduce this unit in seventh grade now that they are adolescents and perhaps would choose completely different kinds of images to represent them in their collage. If possible, I like to have them compare their two collages, so I try to keep the second grade pieces to share with them in seventh grade. Students will carefully look through and choose images and symbols that in some way represent them. They will then consider size and placement of these images in order to create a compelling composition within a real-life silhouette of their profiles, making sure to leave no empty spaces between images. They will share and discuss their choices with the rest of the class.

7th grade silhouette collage

Goals –

Students should…


  • The concept of symbolism
  • Ways in which to use imagery to communicate aspects of one’s self
  • How the arrangement of the images affects composition and focal point


  • The terms: symbolism, composition, focal point

Be able to:

  • Articulate their choices to their peers
7th grade silhouette collage

Objectives –

Students will:

  • Create a collage with images of personal importance
  • Make deliberate choices about the arrangement of these images within the collage
  • Describe their choices and process to their peers
7th grade silhouette collage

Resources and materials –

  • Exemplars of previous silhouette collages demonstrating strong and weak compositions
  • As many, and varied sources for collage material including books and magazines for students to select images and text from
  • White Bristol paper, about 14 x 26
  • Black Bristol paper, also about 14 x 26
  • Scissors
  • Glue sticks
  • A lamp that can be used to project a student’s silhouette (as a shadow) onto a blank wall that a classmate can then trace onto the white Bristol paper
  • Tape to affix the white paper to a wall while a classmate traces one’s silhouette
7th grade silhouette collage

Questions –

  • What is a symbol?
  • What does it mean for one thing to symbolize another?
  • What kinds of images would you choose to represent you? Why?
  • What is the focal point of your collage?
  • How will you arrange the remaining images around the focal point?
  • Tell us about the choices you made in selecting these images.
  • Tell us about why you decided to arrange these images this way.

Evaluation –

Did students:

Understand how to choose appropriate symbols to represent themselves?

Did students use their understanding of composition and focal point to create a compelling arrangement of images?

Did students clearly articulate their choices?


  • Group discussions
  • Oral and written responses to essential questions
  • Peer collaboration
7th grade silhouette collage
7th grade silhouette collage