Tuesday, September 22, 2015

My First Lesson Plan

I'm not a classroom teacher in real life, but I had to pretend to be one in order to complete my Interactive Strategies for Engaging with Art class. The final project required that we each select an artwork and create a lesson plan that tied back to our curriculum, using the artwork as the starting point.  Ideally, the project we created would allow for multiple outcomes, meaning that we wanted the activity to be open-ended enough to allow for lots of different results  This was to be presented as if we were doing an activity in a museum or classroom setting with the artwork in view.

Oh, did I mention we also had to give peer reviews on at least five other participants' lesson plans, too? We had one week to do both, and you could only give critiques after you'd submitted your own project.

Let me tell you, this really stretched my brain muscles.  I felt like I'd jumped off the deep end.

As I noted in my previous post, I chose Frida Kahlo's Self-Portrait with Thorn Necklace and Hummingbird.  I had seen it when I went to the Frida Kahlo exhibit at the NY Botanical Gardens -- a rather underwhelming exhibit, if you ask me -- but it seemed ideal for my project. 

Frida Kahlo, Self-Portrait with Thorn Necklace and Hummingbird, 1940

I called my lesson plan "Personal Symbolism and Interpretation".  Here's what I submitted, following the format we were asked adhere to.

English Literature, High School

Frida Kahlo, Self-Portrait with Thorn Necklace and Hummingbird, 1940, 16" x  24"
Theme and Curriculum Connection:

Upon seeing Frida Kahlo's 1940 "Self-Portrait with Thorn Necklace and Hummingbird" viewers wonder why.  For example, why did she portray herself in this setting surrounded by these animals?  What do you think it mean to her?  What does it suggest to you?  This project facilitates the identification and discussion of personal symbols within a narrative, whether textual or visual, and reinforces the students' acceptance of multiple interpretations of the same symbol.

Activity Goals:

  • Students will be asked to articulate their thoughts and understanding of an individual in a narrative through symbolism, building clarity of thought and, hopefully, leading to more clarity in writing.  
  • Students will also build understanding that symbols are the result of personal context and experiences and, therefore, the same image can be viewed in many ways by different people.  The goal is to give students confidence that their own understanding and interpretations are valid, provided they can support their point of view, and encourage original thought.

Activity Instructions:

  1. Students are each given a blank note card and a pencil or pen.
  2. After reflecting on Kahlo's work, each student will individually identify two symbols in the work and then write down words, references, or emotions they believe these symbols convey.  There is no restriction on what a student can decide is a symbol. 
  3. Once complete, the students will share their thoughts with the group, sharing their interpretations and supporting explanations.  The goal should be to identify and discuss the similarities and differences in the multiple interpretations.  Respectful disagreements are welcome because it will enable students to defend their point of view, as they would have to in any critical discourse on paper or in person.  

Wanna be in my class? 


Anonymous said...

OK Viv, who were you channeling? Novak, Johnson-Naden, Nickels, or Silkowsky? Ging

Norma Schlager said...

Great lesson plan. I think you would have made a wonderful teacher.