- Finding connections between identity, The Elements of Art, and The Principles of Design
- How do relationships shape my identity?
- How do life lessons make me grow?
- How do events help me change and grow?
- How did the role of the individual change after the Neolithic Revolution?
- What influences my identity?
- What does my self value?
I am an art teacher who believes that art is about the exploration and development of ideas and perspectives. My goal is to help students see something new in something familiar, and find familiar connections to what is new. Within this project, I hope to allow students to delve into prior knowledge, attribute value to personal experience, and generate new ways of thinking.
As an artist and a teacher I believe that it is through the Arts that we learn to question, investigate, and possibly understand the concrete and abstract. I believe that a teacher’s role is to encourage students to explore beyond known boundaries and to become active participants in a world where imagination is limitless.
I am a sixth grade English Language Arts teacher who wants to immerse students into the world of literacy. My goal is for my students to have the reading and writing skills that they need to be successful in academics, but also the outside world.
I am a sixth grade Social Studies teacher who seeks to give students the context in which to better understand the world in which they live. What makes a civilization a civilization? How did the role of the individual change after the Neolithic Revolution?
On a grey December morning, sixth graders begin arriving in Hope Flynn’s art room at Collins Middle School in Salem. Some are curious about the circle of chairs set up in the art room, but not uncomfortable. They are familiar with community building activities in their classrooms since September, so they are willing to engage.
Instead of markers, paints or clay, Hope gives each student two copied pages from The House on Mango Street (Cisernos), and invites someone to read the first few paragraphs aloud. She asks if anyone can “see what the family’s dream is”. She asks what pictures kids are getting in their minds, and what words or phrases show how the narrator feels or who she is. Everyone—regardless of reading ability, intellect, or perspective—everyone has something to say. They use the language of art to discuss a short piece of text.
Kids go on to connect their ideas to photographs they took during an artist residency with photographer Oscar Palacio—connecting personal identity and community. They draw easily from their art experience to enter discussion of text.
This story began back in September, with a trip to the PEM exhibition of Theo Jansen’s miracle machines, “Strandbeests”—with kids imagining how kinetic sculptures came alive, and then wondering what animates any of us. In ELA and SS classrooms back at Collins, students looked at poetry by Langston Hughes through tableaux and choral readings and their own writing. In art, they chose color, focus, and form to depict personal identity in blind contour drawings and continuous line compositions. A second artist residency with illustrator Raoul III challenged kids to view themselves as “main characters” in their own stories—creating avatars of themselves as superheroes based on their dreams and identities. Raoul III helped kids “navigate the literature coming at them through their art.” Student artwork, an annotated slide show and written reflections became a public performance in January. A student in Steve Berson’s art class reflected: “My portrait shows that everything is connected into a whole. My identity is built up, all these things put together.”
- Understand identity as a larger whole composed of smaller parts.
- Look internally (i.e. feelings, personality) and externally (i.e. family, community) when examining identity.
- Understand that there is personal choice and ownership in forming identity. Identity is not fixed or stagnant. Like artwork, our identities are a work in progress.
- Interpret text through artwork.
- Use artwork to gain a deeper understanding of text and, conversely, use text to inspire artistry.
- Work collaboratively to share and generate ideas.