Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Klimt's Tree of Life with 6th Grade

I attempted to give my older students more choice this year by doing more open-ended/prompt-like projects. This project was my first attempt with with my sixth grade students and I am pretty happy with the way it turned out!

My inspiration for this project came from this pin on pinterest via Artsonia and wanting to do an art history piece as well. Eventually my brain took me to Klimt's The Tree of Life.

I Can Statements:
I Can create a “Tree of Life” that reflects my knowledge, intuition, and experiences (WI L.4.1)
I Can: Demonstrate openness in trying new materials in making works of art. (Nat VA:Cr2.1.6a)

Day 1: We looked at Klimt's piece and did some fun fact background info about Klimt and I showed them this awesome article about the Google Doodle in honor of Klmit!

Then we started exploring "Trees of Life" from other cultures and what they meant to other cultures...

After doing some research on my own...I found this really great passage from a group that does...lets call it...spiritual classes...that really summed up my research well that I shared with students...
“The Tree of Life is a universal symbol found in many spiritual and mythological traditions around the world. In various cultures it is known as the Cosmic Tree, the World Tree and the Holy Tree. The Tree of Life symbolizes many things, including wisdom, protection, strength, bounty, beauty, and redemption”
I shared with them examples of all these different types from different cultures and then prompted them with this question... In each culture the Tree of Life or World Tree meant or did something different for it’s people. What would your tree do for you?

Here is a look at our planning sheet..
Day 2:
I did a short check in with each student before they started on their project. We talked about materials choice and how to make the purpose clear. I warned them they would be doing an artist statement so they would have to talk about any decisions they were making during the creation and why they chose the subject matter that they did.

Day 3 & 4: Solid work time!

Day 5 & 6: 
This was their first time doing artist statements so we talked about what they were and the purpose of them and I gave them this planning sheet....
I really loved this artist statement from a sixth grader whom I will really miss!

The biggest (and really only issue) came at the end of the project when some students realized they just created a tree of their hobbies and favorite things rather than a tree with a "purpose". I really loved reading their artist statements and reading how they saw the work they had done and what they were trying to communicate in their work. I could tell so many more were invested in their work than a project that gave them limited choices and strict guidelines. 

Click on this last set of pictures and take a closer look at the one on the left, you will not be disappointed. 
A great resource was recently brought to my attention... for more information on Klimt and to view more of his works visit Klimt's page at!

No comments:

Post a Comment