Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Prehistoric Art for Contemporary Kids

Our contemporary project inspired by prehistoric art. 
Each year I do an ancient culture at the beginning of the school year.  Ancient Greece fits into our hero unit, ancient Asia is belonging and prehistoric and ancient Egypt are my go to art history lessons for storytelling, which is the big idea we are studying this fall semester.  I wasn't in love with my fifth grade lesson, and really wanted my students to connect to the lesson, not just replicate it.

I was looking for inspiration on Pinterest and wasn't finding anything, but I did see a lot of new ideas along the way!  Second grade added flashlights to our lesson to create a fun atmosphere thinking we were in a dark cave.

2nd Grade plays with many materials to tell their story like the cave artists.

I came across a lesson using air-dry clay and referencing rock art.  I've been saving a School Art's lesson on it, so I was able to put it all together.  I added inofpetroglyphs to my power points and lessons and the kids really liked learning about ancient art closer to home.  (Even though Utah sounds just as far as France to a first grader!)  On a side note, our Crayola terra cotta air-dry clay cracked and broke for a few students, so I painted their petroglyphs with glue to help them get home in one piece! We used the air-dry because my kiln is in my room, and without AC, it's too hot in the fall to do ceramics.  

I had first grade drawing in the hallway, second grade playing with flashlights, third grade making petrogplyhs, and fourth grade illustrating their name, but I still needed a fifth grade lesson that was about the kids.  I really didn't want them drawing animals that they couldn't relate to or only watch on Ice Age.  

That's when I came across a blog about a book review on Cave Baby by Julia Donaldson.  The reviewer had her children spray/splatter art. (The blog was Playing By the Book, but as of tonight it is not working. Maybe it will work for you?)  And BINGO!  That was it!  The idea moment!

I asked students to draw images that would tell a story about them. "If someone came across your art 100 years from now, what story would you leave for them?  What story does your art tell about you?"  Then I had student simplify their ideas into shapes.  I mixed liquid watercolor with some tempera paint and water, and asked the custodian for spray bottles (thanks Mr. D!).  During one class period we sprayed....AND THE KIDS LOVED IT!  AND I LOVED THE RESULTS!  A contemporary project for contemporary kids about prehistoric art.  

This lesson isn't about animals, or how long ago something was made.  It's about humans telling their story, past and present.

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