See – Think – Feel

Teaching visual arts there is an inexplicable connection between the subject the need to use visual imagery in my lessons.  With this in mind, on e must explore the kind of imagery that should be used and its specific purpose.  The current unit in grade 1 is the concept of shape.  We have been talking about how shapes can be grouped.  It is clear that he students have an understanding of how shapes can be ‘normal’ and how they can be ‘messy’ – two excellent ways one student explained regular and irregular shapes. In addition to this the terms geometric and organic were introduced.  This was a much harder concept for the students to grasp.  I created the following slideshow to use with the class.

I shared the first 14 slides with the students and this sparked some excellent discussion about the different ways shapes have been used.The slideshow sparked some great discussion and gave the students some excellent examples of how artists use shape in real life.

“Visual literacy is defined as the ability to interpret images as well as to generate images for communicating ideas and concepts”. (Stokes, 2002)

In addition to merely talking about what they could see and the use of shape I felt that it was important for the students to think about how images made them feel and and what it made them think about.  I focused on one particular image I found using Flickr.  I posed questions about the image to the students and this one simple images sparked a lot of discussion, especially the question, ‘Would you have this picture in your house, explain why?’.  It was hoped that this visible thinking routine would begin the students down the path to becoming visually literate, a concept described as someone who can:

  • Interpret, understand and appreciate the meaning of visual messages;
  • Communicate more effectively by applying the basic principles and concepts of visual design;
  • Produce visual messages using computers and other technologies; and
  • Use visual thinking to conceptualise solutions to problems

Taken from

This is the activity the students carried out:

Images such as this Mondrian allow the students to read the images without the influence of people or clearly distinguishable objects.  Students could make up any story that they wanted to about this regular shapes in this image.  It also allow the students to practice using the vocabulary that we have been learning in class in the previous units.  The next steps for this series of lesson plan will be for the students to recreate a Mondrian on the computer.  I would like to use some of the concepts of “The power of the visual: Learning from Down Under promotion videos” from Presentation Zen.  I will be interesting to give the students a template divided into sections and encourage the students to fill different area of the screen with shapes and colours, will the grade 1 pictures have more tension or drama if colour and shapes are concentrated in the ‘outer third’ of the picture.  I’ll post some pictures later and let you decide.

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