In their homeroom classes, the 5th graders have been addressing the central idea that “there are many ways to create peaceful solutions to conflict” by looking at: personal experiences with conflict and how each student manages situations of conflict and interpersonal problems. And so in art class, we are taking this opportunity to create self-portraits that express either each person’s experience with conflict or a his/her belief about some other conflict in the world.
At the beginning investigation stage, students were instructed in different ways of observing themselves in mirrors and depicting their faces by drawing, with a focus on observing and looking more at the subject (i.e. their faces) than at their paper/drawing.
Students then brainstormed some ideas by writing down thoughts and words and by sketching the images that come to mind when they think about ‘conflict’ and ‘peace’ and ‘solving problems’.
As they move to the planning stage, students each decide exactly what his/her goal is, what it is he/she wants to communicate about conflict or peace. Then they begin to consider the composition of their self-portrait: where will the different elements (such as their own face) be places on their paper? Where and what kind of other images, colors, and words be created?
Students will incorporate both drawing (pencil) and collage (magazines primarily) to represent their own faces and to communicate their particular belief or understanding about peace and conflict resolution. And they will have to incorporate some type(s) of symbols — images, colors, facial expression, lines, for example — to help communicate their ideas. The students are also required to use text (words or sentences) in addition to imagery in their picture.
Currently, students are finishing up their plans and beginning to draw, paint, and collage their final version of their self-portraits.