Visual Arts Supporting Language Arts

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This week, Visual Arts Specialist, Ascha Drake, and Language Arts teacher,  Melissa Nestle, began their arts integrated unit.

They have been planning and brainstorming for many weeks now.

Ascha has observed Melissa teach many classes, and is also reading the 7th grade book: Dragonwings

Dragonwings has multiple layers, and many access points for the arts to integrate and support the reoccurring themes in the story.

Some important themes that Melissa and Ascha picked out were:

Family, Dreams, Language, Forgiveness, and Principles.

The essential question for the integrated unit is: “How is cultural perspective shaped?”

For the first  class, students were given the challenge of reflecting on 4 questions that are tied to aspects of the book.

In an accordion book, using Sharpies and colored markers, students were asked to write or illustrate their responses to the posed questions.

As they were working, they were to think about text, the size of the words on the page, how to compose their ideas within the page, and how to visually emphasize certain things.

We called these books : Mind Maps

Both Melissa and Ascha appreciated how the students dove into the project, and worked with difficult questions that required thought and patience.

When students were finished with responding to the questions, the next challenge was to create a symbol for each page.

Students were asked to pull out one word from each page, and using black paper, create a symbol that expressed that word.

We will meet again after the Thanksgiving holiday, and continue visually pulling out themes from Dragonwings as inspirations for art making.

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