This year the 4th grade students in room 122 are reading Tuck Everlasting. Mrs. Bennett is the new 4th grade teacher, and she was interested in continuing to work with this novel. She wanted to focus on figurative language specifically, similes and metaphors. By integrating visual art with this novel, students learned to make connections between the similes and metaphors and visual symbolism. By learning about visual symbolism and color symbolism, the fourth graders created and represented symbols in order to better communicate figurative language in a visual art work. To begin students were given a symbol challenge which consisted of them naming visual symbols or logos that are currently popular in mass media. Discussion about what symbols mean or stand for and how such a simple image comes to take meaning were discussed.
After having learned about the symbols, students were introduced to color symbolism and how it is used to create meaning. During the beginning art sessions, students read passages from the color poetry book, “Halistones and Halibut Bones” in order to see how color can represent both concrete items and abstract concepts.
During the beginning language arts sessions with Mrs. Bennett, students were given the opportunity to express their ideas and feelings about eternal life. The students were asked to write down the advantages and disadvantages of living forever in their journal sketch book. The writing process allowed the students the freedom to explore the symbolism within the book. The students used important symbolic elements from the book to make a visual connection to the book.
Continuing with color, Mrs. Skylas and Ms. Tritschler also wanted the fourth graders to learn how to change the lightness and darkness of color different media. First, they had students create a black and white value scale using ebony pencils.
During this same beginning time frame of the project, in the visual art sessions with Mrs. Skylas and Ms. Tritschler, the students learned about creating visual symbols and color symbolism.
The fourth graders also painted a monochromatic value scale so they could begin to understand how to control the value of a color through the addition of water to paint.
For the final art sessions with Mrs. Skylas and Ms. Tritschler, the students were asked to choose a their favorite simile, metaphor or personification example from the novel. Students began by sketching their ideas in their journals and then completed a final watercolor.
The overall idea behind reading the novel Tuck Everlasting was to identify the theme of the novel. The ability to identify the theme of story also challenged the students to better understand the Big Idea behind reading the novel. The students were asked to analyze the theme of the novel in order to make sense of the significant changes made by the characters of the novel. The students were given the opportunity to evaluate important changes they noticed throughout the story. The evaluation process gave the students the chance to respond to a writing prompt provided by the teacher before illustrating their final art work. The students used their writing samples to drive how their art work would look. The student used textured art paper, and oil pastels to create their master pieces. The classroom teacher and the art teacher collaborated about how to effectively use the textured art paper, and oil pastels.