Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Identity Silhouettes with 6th Grade

It's the project that is all over Pinterest that is just too good to resist. A silhouette of a student filled with images related to them. Here and here are just two examples via Pinterest.

Simple in explanation but a great identity project for many students.

All construction paper from one of my students!
I've mentioned before how important it is for me for my older students to feel confident in themselves and feel a sense of identity before entering junior high. It is there that their world is rocked by hormones, "mean girls", and self-discovery. That concept is what attracted me so much to this project.

HOWEVER, Here is where I messed up...
1. I let cutting from magazines be an option for the total project
2. I didn't get a chance to display these, or at least not nearly enough of them and couldn't figure out a good way to do it
3. I actually did this project at the beginning of the year and I would of rather done it at the end to be more impactful

Here is where I went right!
1. Made a connection to a contemporary artist, Kara Walker
2. Focused on not what they "like" but why it is important to who they are
3. Had them write!

Can you tell he likes technology?
Didn't have an I CAN statement for this project because I wasn't doing them at the time we did this, but if I did it would be:
 I CAN fill my silhouette 95% full with images that relate to my identity using either or a combination of magazines, construction paper, and drawing.

Day 1: Introduction to Kara Walker and brainstorming. If you don't know who Kara Walker is you are missing out. When I went to the NAEA convention in Seattle we took the train to Portland for a few days and the museum there had an exhibition of her work. Just incredible.
Here is a great website with info on her and her work.


She makes these incredible cut paper works with an insane amount of detail! Her big ideas are exploring race, gender, violence, and identity in her work with a large focus on slavery.


Some of her work is sexual in nature so I was sure to weed those out before showing her work to students. She is sneaky about it too in some works so be careful!

Our brainstorming was a worksheet where students listed different things about themselves and what materials they were going to use. With an old-school overhead projector we traced silhouettes on 1/2 a sheet of poster board. The overhead projectors have a more concentrated light then classroom digital projectors so I like it better but either would work.

Day 2: Reminded students what I was looking for (i.e. not just things they like) and that they will be writing about it so they better have something to say about it. Then they got to work! I have two sixth grade classes at one of my buildings and in one almost all the students gravitated to magazine images. RAWR. Thats when I knew next time that I was limiting magazines. I was so impressed by the construction paper work these students were doing and my drawers blew me away with detail.

Day 3: Project reminders again and showing off some of the amazing work they were doing. Work time!

Day 4: Painting the outside and typing. Luckily the computer lab is open during my sixth grade times and I had my aid stay with them while they typed. They had to write in list form about seven or more items and a statement about why they chose those items.

Most students finished in 4 classes but per usual...stragglers!



I think I struggled with displaying these because of the size...

The small display I did get up at the end of the year!

They turned out awesome for those that explored outside of magazine images or did multiple mediums!




















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