The Spirit of a Nation

Recently, I had the chance to collaborate with the fabulous 8th Grade Social Studies team at my school.  As part of their curriculum, they discovered the significance of the landscape artists of the Hudson River School.  After a brief art history presentation of the hidden qualities of these paintings, students ventured across the country into the pop-up mini galleries.  Using iPads to access QR codes, students compared and contrasted selected works of the portfolios Hudson River School artists and journeyed along the path in which an artist made their plein-air sketches before returning to their studio to paint.  Students then used formative and extended their knowledge with a S’More.

Finally, students were challenged to take a photograph that illustrates the style of the Hudson River School artists over their Spring Break.

Spelunking through Art

Emojis – the cave art of the 21st century?  When we think about the current status of visual communication and how individuals communicate – information is shared visually – through the use of visual communication.  This conversation is not unlike that of the cave and rock artists, people groups who created some of the earliest art known to man – before written languages.

Using their prior knowledge of emojis and the Aurasma app on their iPads, students compared and contrasted these to common cave art symbols as they explored Lascaux in France and various Aboriginal rock art sites in Australia.  They traipsed through the caves of our school and visited art galleries highlighting these art forms from different parts of the globe.  In the local school gallery, students dove deeper into cave art and reflected on their findings by creating their own cave drawings, answering the question: If you were to tell your story, what would you want civilizations thousands of years from now to know about you?  Furthermore, students took photos of their finished cave drawing and posted them on a digital cave wall using Padlet.

Finally, students wrote about their art experiences and documented them on Google Classroom.