Sequence and Organization for the Unit: I taught this unit in a Painting One class. I wanted to teach a unit on illustration because I thought the students would have a connection and some familiarity with the subject. The familiarity and interest in the subject would allow the beginner painters to feel more comfortable taking risks and inventing. I also thought that teaching this subject in a unit would be great because I could build up their knowledge and skill base of illustration and watercolor techniques and then I allowed them more freedom when they gained confidence with the subject and materials.
In the first lesson, “Watercolor Techniques Painting,” students utilized 16 different watercolor techniques to create a unified watercolor painting. This assignment was meant to allow students time to experiment, invent, play, and familiarize themselves with the watercolors. They were allowed to create a representational image or a non-objective image. I demonstrated 16 different watercolor techniques and then the students practiced some of them if they desired in their sketchbooks. Then they just started on their paintings and experimented with all the different techniques and found ways to unify them within their paintings. Students were also allowed and encouraged to collaboratively work with each other to share ideas, and even work on each other's experimental paintings.
In the second lesson “Imitating Illustrators,” students identified a watercolor illustrator’s style and they imitated an illustration or the style of that artist. Students were required to bring in three different children’s books (or images of books on the internet) painted in watercolor or images of watercolor illustrators. They then observed Tim Burton’s illustrations and discussed what elements composed his artistic style. Then students answered the same questions over two illustrators of their choice and then picked one to imitate. Students were allowd to trace their images so they could focus more on the painting and not the drawing, or they could alter the image somehow, still representing the artist’s style. They focused on the texture, patterns, line quality, colors and the painting style of the illustrator in order to better imitate their work. Students imitated these illustrators so they could experience different ways to use watercolor techniques.
In the third lesson, “Painted Recollections,” students illustrated a nightmare, dream, daydream, or childhood memory that was very vivid to them. They first had to write about a nightmare, dream, daydream or childhood memory that they could see very clearly in their heads. They then had to circle all of the imagery within their stories and bring in references for the imagery that was most vital to their stories. They were required to use these references in the final painting, but had to exaggerate them in some way to create a more effective illustration. They were allowd to use a few mixed media materials such as pencils, watercolor colored pencils, pens, and white acrylic (for highlights). The finished illustration had to tell a story and include various watercolor techniques.
Methods for Integrating Literacy, Numeracy, Technology and Other Relevant Subjects
Literacy: Students wrote about a childhood memory, daydream, nightmare, dream they had and then had to illustrate their written description. Students reflected upon and critiqued their work and their peer’s work verbally and in written form. Illustrations accompanying written stories, and artwork that incorporated text, was also discussed in-depth within this unit. How an artist communicates their intended message and how the viewer reads their image was also discussed. Also because the lesson focussed around illustration it was inevitable we would be focusing on literacy because many of the illustrators they used dealt with stories and text. Numeracy: Planning in a numerical and orderly way is an essential component of this unit. All students were required to create, reflect on, and refine plans before and after creating their work. Students had to estimate, measure, and observe as they plan their composition. Students used logic and critical thinking as they responded to visual cues in their artwork. Technology: Students were asked to find inspiration and artist images on the internet either at home, in the library, or on their phones before or during class often times. I constantly showed students images of illustrator's works on PowerPoints, the internet, and on Pinterest. Students were also encouraged to take photographs of their progress as they worked on their projects.
21st century Skills: Students were able to experiment, discover, and invent in every lesson of this unit. They had to communicate both verbally to the class, to each other, to the teacher, and in written formats nearly every day. They pushed themselves to find a direction they wanted to go in and found creative ways to solve their problems they encountered. They were allowed freedom as to encourage even more creative problem solving, decision making, and new creative inventions and discoveries.
Strategies for Classroom Management Relevant to Lesson Taught in the Unit: I had very few discipline problems in this class. I think the systems in place at Rocky, in the art department, and in my own classroom environment I created, all aided to the respect we had for each other in this class. It was expected that students would come in and grab their projects and begin working, but would know to stop when I was talking at the beginning of the day to them. Most days during this unit students either got straight to work after some discussion and instruction, or they listened and observed me as I gave instructions and information to them. I would also write all of the learning targets up on the board for the day so if a student needed a reminder they knew where to look instead of ask me right away. Students were also mostly responsible for getting their own materials out. The first assignment required me to put out watercolor materials for them, but mostly they took the responsibility of getting them. I assigned a different table each day the task of making sure all the paints were put away and the sink was clean. I also had various tables choose the music for the day. Students were allowed to have their phones out if they were using a picture on them that related to their projects, otherwise they were not allowed to call or text anyone unless they asked to do so.