I usually do not go to blogs for lessons, as stated here. However, sometimes you find that PERFECT lesson idea that you just can’t get out of your mind. You have to try it, and it gets filed into the “I will do this someday” folder. The perfect opportunity came about to try a lesson I’d been wanting to do for awhile.
Over on the Teach Kids Art blog (one of the very first art ed blogs I found and started following back in the day) I saw Cheryl’s Van Gogh Auction lesson. This lesson involves taking a famous piece of art and breaking it up into smaller squares. Each student completes one square and the finished product is a full version of a famous masterpiece that can be auctioned off at your school. (yes, they are that cool).
Here is a sample of one of Cheryl’s auction pieces. She truly is the master at this!
And below you can see my colleague and I’s finished pieces. We each tried this lesson with two different classes to be auctioned off at the school we share. (remember I teach at two schools). Mine was the Sunflowers, and hers was the Starry Night. They are done with oil pastel on black card-stock.
Teach Kids Art gives a really detailed tutorial on how to do this project, so I won’t go into all of that, however, I will say we did a few things along the way to modify the lesson to work for us. One of the best parts was the day it all came together. The photo below shows the grid I made, and put up on the white board. Students worked together to assemble their piece (which was numbered on the back) in the proper order. Then, they were asked to match up to pieces next to theirs to make sure they colors and items lined up. I was impressed at the teamwork and problem solving I saw during this lesson. We also taught students how to draw their squares using a simple grid to help ensure the proportions were correct. They did great with this as well.
This lesson takes quite a bit of beforehand prep by the teacher, however, the result was well worth it! I am excited to see these displayed in the wing of the new addition at our school and to be auctioned off by the PTO. At first, I thought the students would be bummed that they didn’t get to keep something they worked so hard on, but in fact, the opposite happened. Students were so proud to contribute to something larger, the quality was high and teamwork was outstanding. This is one of my first attempts at collaborative artwork by students and I have to stay it was a success. I will be trying this out with other grades/ schools in the future.
As you look closer, you can see the colors and shape matching aren’t perfect. This is partly me giving up some control to the kids and partly the fact that theses aren’t meant to be perfect. This is the beauty of it. Even though each square is a little different, when it comes together it becomes something even more.
Maybe I am bias, but didn’t they turn out great!?