third grade rocks!

Art in different cultures around the world is a reflection of environment, land, and home. In relation to the third grade “Keepers of the Earth” theme, the students explore how artists make and use art as an expression of their place in the world.

We started with the cold landscape of the Inuit and looked at how material, size, function, and subject matter of Inuit art directly relates to their environment.

An inuksuk is a balanced based stone sculpture traditionally built by the Inuit. These sculptures were used as hunting and navigation aids, coordination points, message centers, and as spiritual markers. The third grade artists expressed their thoughts and ideas by choosing and arranging rocks, stones, and pebbles; these pieces of earth formed by ancient forces long before our time.

We read this beautiful book to help get us started. Everybody Needs a Rock by Byrd Baylor presents 10 wonderful rules for finding just the right rock. I challenged the third grade artists to come up with an 11th rule. This is a great way to get them thinking about aesthetics. Here are some of the rules they created:

Keep your rock in a special spot. -Catherine
Make sure it matches your personality. -Lily
Be gentle with your rock. -Emma
Keep your rock at the right temperature. -Sophie
Find another friend for you rock. -Rohan
Don't let you rock fall into the wrong hands! -Steven
Find round rocks that look like a robin's egg. -Gavin
Look for one that has a white line going all the way around. -Mila
Don't misplace your rock. -Julia
Take your time finding the perfect rock. -Meg
Keep your rock close to you. -Ruby
Find a rock that suits you. -Mason
Respect the personality of your rock. -Allie
Name your rock. -Russell
Enjoy your rock while you have it. -Tre
Put it against your cheek to really feel it. -Maya


sixth grade unlikely pairs

We started off with talking about the concept of juxtaposition and I introduced the work of Fred Wilson. He is a master at curating and arranging objects to make powerful juxtapositions especially dealing with racism. Here is a clip of him working in his studio.

We also take a look at Unlikely Pairs by Bob Raczka to help inspire them to make their own juxtapositions.

I've done this project many times and am always surprised and impressed with the creative combinations- I've never seen the same pair twice! I have hundeds of art postcards I've collected over the years. Their task is to find a combination of images that when put together changes the context and meaning in an interesting and creative way. They each need to find their own pairs but they do a great job of collaborating and the conversations are rich. This is also a great way to work with art history! Here are a few examples of their unlikely pairs: