SchoolArts Magazine

OCT 2013

SchoolArts is a national art education magazine committed to promoting excellence, advocacy, and professional support for educators in the visual arts since 1901.

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Looking & Learning Imagining Explore Create Beginner Ask students, "What does it mean to imagine? What happens when you use your imagination?" Have students give several examples of a time that they imagined something. Ask, "How do you know the difference between something you imagined and something from real life?" After the discussion, show students McMenemy's illustration for Siegfried and Cao Fei's Back to the Garden. As a group, analyze which elements of each work are "realistic" and which are "imaginary." Beginner Gather a collection of free or inexpensive calendars with images of landscapes, beaches, or architecture. Such calendars are often available for free or greatly reduced prices after the dates have passed. Cut them apart so that you have a large collection of images of "real" locations. Tell students that they will select one of the photographs, create one or more imaginary characters, and then collage them together to create a work of art. Offer a variety of two-dimensional media for the character creation. Ask, "What kind of imaginary character, person, or creature do you think would work best with this picture?" Have students move the character around the image and choose the best location before gluing it in place. When completed, ask students to create a short narrative that describes what is happening in their artwork. Intermediate Ask students to write down an example of a time they used their imagination. Have them include where they were and what they were doing (e.g., riding home on the bus, waiting for a parent to pick them up, daydreaming during another class, imagining themselves in the future, coming up with an answer to a difficult question, etc.). Ask, "How often do you use your imagination? Why do you think that imagination is important?" Remind them that imagination is a key element of art, writing, film, music, and any other form of culture or entertainment. Advanced Have students keep an imagination journal for three to five days. Have them use their sketchbooks as journals, or have them create journals specifically for this project. They should attempt to record each time they use their imagination by writing the time, location, and a short description or illustration of what they imagined. Ask them to look for patterns such as the times of day their imagination is most active, or recurring themes and subjects. During the week, ask students to share some of their journal entries with the class. Intermediate Put students into small groups and explain that they will work together to create an imaginary scene with one or more original characters. Each team will choose a location, design one or more characters, create costumes, and then photograph the characters in the location. They may also wish to create a backdrop in order to alter their chosen location. Depending on your school's setting, locations might include hallways, courtyards, lockers, the outdoors, or simply different corners of the artroom. You may have students use a digital camera or allow them to use their cell phone cameras. Explain that part of the challenge will be to create something they imagined using only materials that are available in the classroom, or materials that are brought in from home. Encourage them to be as creative as possible. When completed, have students write a title or short narrative for each image. Display the photographs with the narratives or put them on a sharing website like Tumblr, Pinterest, or a blog. Advanced Have students develop one of their journal entries into a work of art. Have them choose three entries and consider what types of media would convey their ideas best (sculpture, painting, video, collage, etc.). Ask them to create a detailed sketch for each journal entry with a list of possible materials and processes needed. From those sketches, help each student choose a final idea for a complex work of art. Have regular critiques and discussions as the work progresses, and encourage students to write about their progress in their sketchbooks or in an online discussion group. When the works are complete, have students organize an exhibition to display their work. Written by Karl Cole, curator of images at Davis Publications; and Robb Sandagata, digital product manager at Davis Publications. Resources Mike McMenemy: mcnemesis.com (Note: Please preview website material before sharing with students.) Cao Fei: www.caofei.com 26 October 2013 SchoolArts

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