Tag: play

5th Grade – Play Props and Scenery

5th Grade – Play Props and Scenery

Description of the Unit – Students will conceptualize, design and build props and set pieces for their end-of-year performance. This unit can help anyone who has some kind of event or play to put on and is looking at how students can take full control of the process.

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8th Grade  – Playing with Pedro Linares’ Alebrije

8th Grade – Playing with Pedro Linares’ Alebrije

Description of the Unit –

Students learned about Mexican artist Pedro Linares López and his fantastical, wild Alebrijes, imaginative and colorful papier-mâché creatures that Linares originated. Students created their own Alebrijes out of clay, paint and various objects.

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7th Grade – The Art of Assemblage with Louise Nevelson

7th Grade – The Art of Assemblage with Louise Nevelson

Description of the Unit –  

Students will explore the monochromatic, rhythmic and balanced found-art assemblages of Louise Nevelson, and create their own assemblages both individually and in small groups.

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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
6th grade – Designs inspired by Joan Miró

6th grade – Designs inspired by Joan Miró

The Whimsical Art of Joan Miró

Description of the Unit –

Students discovered the work of Joan Miró (1893-1983), a modern artist who blended thoughtful, “high art” concepts with spontaneous, playful designs that captured the imagination and challenged then-current notions of what constituted “good” art. A Miró tableau employed a muted, sparsely colored background with childlike doodles, geometric shapes and blocks of mostly primary color as foreground.

Guided by a similar sense of play, whimsy and surprise, students reproduced similarly styled, playful designs of their own.

A painting titled La estrella matinal, by Joan Miró, 1940
La estrella matinal, Joan Miró, 1940
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2nd Grade – Emphasizing Line and Pattern with Dubuffet’s Hourloupe

2nd Grade – Emphasizing Line and Pattern with Dubuffet’s Hourloupe

Description of the Unit – Emphasizing line and pattern with Jean Dubuffet’s Hourloupe style

According to one of my favorite modern art history sites, the Art Story,Dubuffet’s L’Hourloupe series began in 1962 and would preoccupy the artist for many decades. The inspiration came from a doodle he created while on the telephone, in which the fluid movement of line combines with limited fields of color to create movement. He believed the style evoked the manner in which objects appear in the mind,” (https://www.theartstory.org/artist/dubuffet-jean/artworks/#pnt_5).

Jean Dubuffet, Banque des équivoques, 1964

Students love to learn about the origin of the Hourloupe series, being surprised at how much can be done with a seemingly simple doodle. They like the notion of trying to find hidden images within the doodle as well.

As students are shown ways to embellish a doodle with a variety of lines and patterns, we are given the opportunity to reinforce their understanding of repetition and pattern (having been introduced in kindergarten and practiced in 1st grade). To be able to identify and practice repetition and pattern is prescribed in most states’ standards for second grade visual arts.

2nd grade Jean Dubuffet-inspired design
2nd grade Jean Dubuffet-inspired design

As we observe Dubuffet’s Hourloupes, I call students’ attention to his minimal use of color, and have them comment on whether the colors are primary or secondary, and whether they are complementary. Later when making their own designs I have them also choose only a few colors, and have them think about whether they want the colors to be mostly warm or cool.

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