There are lessons and then there are LESSONS!
This one has to be one of my top lessons EVER in the span of 20+ years of teaching children art. This says a lot and I put it right up there with my cave art lesson that is my most popular post to date. Let’s see if this lesson idea can create the same momentum, shares, and likes.
The big inquiry for this lesson was how famous artists can inspire us. Well, Jacob Hashimoto is by far one of the most exciting and inspiring contemporary artists that can appeal to any age level. He is the perfect artist for young and older students because it’s fun, it hangs, shapes are involved, and the final product is absolutely STUNNING, to say the least.
Hashimoto is also perfect for any art teacher because you can hit the art elements easily while going from basic and simple to very detailed and complicated making Jacob the perfect win-win artist to inspire YOU and your students to create a wonderfully collaborative and magical installation piece that has the WOW factor included.
This was a lesson done with GRADE ONE. It was a collaborative piece done on round tracing paper in different sizes, and rectangles and hexagon shapes. The tables were set up into different stations with tissue paper, oil pastels, sharpie pens, markers, paint, and watercolors.
Before the stations and the doing part of this inquiry, I, of course, introduced the artist to the students. We looked at a few videos on YouTube so the students would understand what an installation is plus get a feel for Jacob, his patterns, colors, etc.
The stations and exploration were an absolute hit with the students but the best and most unexpected part of the lesson was putting the whole installation together. My original plan was to hang everything by parts. Oil pastels together, collaged ones together, etc. What evolved is what makes inquiry-based teaching and learning so amazing. One of the stations involved the students painting waves and another was to create shapes with black sharpies and color only with green oil pastels. This was because I happened to have a bunch of sorted green only oil pastels.
When we put the work down on the floor to decide as a group how I would hang up their art, the students decided to tell a story using the ocean as the main theme! Remember the green oil pastel ones? They turned into seaweed of course! The black sharpie squares turned into the night sky, the collaged circles became planets and then the students decided they needed mermaids, shells, treasures, ships, sunken ships, whales and this whole project just took off on its own.
The whole piece was named Ocean Treasures.
We, meaning mainly my lovely assistant, hot glued chopsticks to the back of each circle or shape.
Hanging was the tough part I admit but if you have an assistant or can get some volunteers, this is the way to go. If you do this with older kids, get them to do it. Take a picture as you assemble with your students so you have a reference and trust me when I say this: IT WILL BE ABSOLUTELY WORTH IT! Yes, you will curse me for getting you into this but once it’s up and your students see it, they will love it and so will you.
We definitely now know what Jacob goes through when he puts up his installations but we also know the satisfaction and awe he feels when he sees his idea and hard work hanging so beautifully for all to see.
What do you think of this? Are you game to try it? Good luck and be inspired.
@JacobHashimoto- if you ever get to read this, we hope that you love it and feel proud of these young artists you inspired so profoundly with this lesson. We love you!
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