Elementary Studio Lesson
Kaitlyn Mitchell, grade four.
Claire A. Knepper
As I scavenged through
the closets of my new
artroom, I found a treasure
chest of thirty-eight gauge
tooling tin. I needed a fourth-grade
lesson that would invite students to
explore the creative process, encourage them to think critically, and
connect art directly to their lives.
The tin and Frida Kahlo’s The Frame
inspired this lesson.
piece?” “How might her experiences
have affected this painting?”
First I read students the book Frida,
by Jonah Winters. We then viewed
and discussed my PowerPoint presentation that introduces students to
Frida Kahlo, covers the major events
of her life, and shares her artwork.
Questions encouraged discussion,
such as, “What do you think Frida’s
motivation was in creating this
Moving to Metal
Students taped their templates to
the tin in the two upper corners.
They placed a magazine under both
and traced over their designs in
pencil. I stressed that repetition, not
strength, was the key. For emboss-
I encouraged students to needed to be
select a photograph from a relatively deep
time or event that had meaning to help guide the pencil.
or significance for them. Once stu-
the lines into their metal, they
began embossing on the backside
of the metal. I reminded students
to use a cross-hatching technique
and to work slowly to create a
smooth surface in their design ele-
ments. Students should leave their
template taped to the metal, which
helps remind them to emboss on
Selecting a Photograph
I encouraged students to select a
photograph from a time or event
that had meaning or significance for
them. For students without
took their photos with a digital camera.
Beginning the Frame
Students shared the stories behind
their photographs and suggested
symbols to represent their stories.
We reviewed the ways to make well-balanced, simple borders. To begin
their drawings, students used a template that fit their photograph.