Freedom From Want
to Jackson Pollock’s
and Aaron Douglas’s
in regards to representational vs non-representational. This lesson should focus on looking for concrete observations within the compositions and then making inferences. The connection to culture will follow in Lesson 2.
Start with the hook! With the objectives of the unit being created to teach students to have deeper understanding of modern art, asking a relevant question that provokes a common reaction amongst teenagers would work very well. “Do you ever get really angry about something and have a hard time expressing it?” or “In your sketchbooks, write down some things that make you
mad.” Call on two or three students to share their answers with the class. Now, ask them to write down what they do to resolve it.
Meanwhile, project Rockwell’s
Freedom From Want
and ask students to make a list of observations that they can actually see within each work of art on a piece of paper. Ask a couple of students to volunteer their answers with the class. Next, divide students into groups of 3-4 large to collaborate on further analysis. Counting off works well but if class dynamic is too challenging for randomness, figure out groups before lesson and direct students into them. Definitely consider grouping students who need modifications with students who don’t as students learn so much from one another! Tell students that each person has a job assignment to maintain in addition to participating in the analysis. Job roles are Manager, Recorder and Presenter, if there is a fourth, Time Keeper but if just three than Manager is also Time Keeper. Having jobs helps to include everyone and keep each student active and accountable.
Start the student-directed learning by having group members share their answers they observed and create a solid list with each others input. Next, give each group handouts with two or three guided questions to begin making inferences. By collaborating together, students can share their own ideas out loud and get the perspective of the other group members. All students will be asked to contribute a sound inference. All answers to guided questions are acceptable as long as they support with evidence taken from the visual. Recorder will write down answers to present. Develop guided questions that look more deeply for concrete answers and require students to look at the art through a wide scope as well as focusing in on details. Suggested guided questions to include could be: “Where can you find one or more elements of design displayed in the composition?” This kind of question presents formal and technical inquiry. Also, questions that get them to identify the main subject and look at the supports of the background like, “Identify the main subject and explain how that stands out” and “In what ways is the subject painted by the artist?” “What looks to be the background of the painting and how does the background connect to the main subject?” Also, create a guided question pertaining to the audience. This engages students to think about the artist, their intentions for the work and the influences they were under. Give students time to inquire and record and then have a quick presentation so there is time to move onto Aaron Douglas’s
. Follow the same format for observing and making inferences. Finally, end with groups presenting and make sure to tell presenters to not duplicate inquiries that have already been shared from other groups.
Before leaving class, ask students to select an art example from the three that were explored and write two new discoveries they made during class and one thing they haven’t figured out but are still curious to learn more and then collect to read over.