"Students learn what they care about...," Stanford Ericksen has said, but Goethe knew something else: "In all things we learn only from those we love." Add to that Emerson's declaration: "the secret of education lies in respecting the pupil." and we have a formula something like this: "Students learn what they care about, from people they care about and who, they know, care about them..." 
~Barbara Harrell Carson, 1996, Thirty Years of Stories

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http://www.beckyfellows.com/the-rumney-marsh-academy-mural-project.html

Symbolic Self Portraits
Grades: 6, 7, 8

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Diorama, Pop Art, and Perspective

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Grade 8


Greek Pottery Designs

This is a 6th grade project.  The students study the history of Ancient Greek pottery and look at styles including Early Geometric, Geometric, Corinthian, Black Figure, and Red Figure. They also examine and create complex patterns, which we refer to as "art patterns" and they draft a design for their vessel.  The vessel must have a shape based on the function and be decorated with a mythical creature of the students' own design. 

Egyptian God Myth Murals

For this project, my 6th grade classes worked in groups of 2 or three students.  They researched Ancient Egyptian art history, studing tomb paintings, social hierarchys, steles, hieroglyphics, and the Egyptian god myths.  After a week, it seemed that they were more knowledgeable than I was.  They then chose an Egyptian god myth to illustrate, broke it into the three most important parts and each drew one part of the story.  They summarized their part of the story into a single sentence, and translated the sentence into hieroglyphs.  The sentence is written in the background of the mural scenes.

Hero Portraits

The eighth graders this year delved deeper into contemporary art than previously.  I wanted them to see an artist that was young and controversial.  We looked at artwork by the artist Shepard Fairey, studied his style and looked at interviews he had done and were posted on youtube.  The students then discussed heroism and what it means to be a modern day hero, we did a little internet research, and they came up with their own heroes.  For this particular project I broke the unit down into a collage lesson, stencil lesson, a printmaking lesson, and a painting lesson.  Each student did multiple pieces and chose one or more to display. They put them all together, and here are some of the results.  

Bonsai Sculptures

8th Grade students continued their study of contemporary art by looking at and interpreting contemporary assemblage sculptures.  In preparation for making their own, the students answered a series of questions, chose a theme based on an emotion, dream, or state of mind, then began collecting materials.