The Arts Companion Lesson – Identity Sculpture has helped to bring deeper understanding and support of creative expression and discussion of personal identity. When the book RED is explored in depth, it covers many aspects of the curriculum over many grade levels.
When planning instruction and considering class groupings, teachers should be aware of and consider the needs of students who may not identify as “male” or “female”, who are transgender, or who are gender-non-conforming.
Acknowledgement of and respect for individual differences regardless of sex or gender identity will encourage student participation and help students learn to collaborate with and respect others.
Expressive Art Identity Sculpture:
Why art, why sculpture, to support this resource?
The Arts in general provide differentiated entry points for students to engage, learn and represent their understanding of topics and information. As the creative process uses the creative thinking part of the brain, where our emotions, empathy and big ideas reside; the Arts invite noticing, connections and feeling. The Identity Sculpture is created using an additive sculpture method with a variety of materials. This method engages our sensory selves which supports student creatively and personal expression.
The materials list for this project seems daunting, but it is very doable! It supports our stewardship of the environment by using natural materials, and reusing materials. Inviting students to be part of the materials collection process encourages their initiative and engagement, as well as builds learning skills.
Options for gathering and collecting materials:
Store strips and scraps of fabric by color in baggies or tied together
From reading Red to sculpture creation
Several periods or a few days are required to include all of the learning – book reading and discussion through to the creation of Identity Sculpture. School sites where the project was piloted had 100% engagement of all students.
What was this story about?
What changed for Red about how he was feeling throughout the story?
Sample of elementary students feedback post book reading/discussion:
Transition from end of reading/discussion to sculpture creation
What is your identity?
Teacher models examples:
I AM an artist/painter/dancer
I AM a teacher
I AM a partner
I AM an athlete
I AM a friend
I AM a child, teenager
I AM spectacular
Personal Creation: I AM statements
I AM statements are private – sharing any or all of statement is a choice. Teacher should model what all scenarios look and sound like – so students feel supported and comfortable with their choice.
Minds on creating
Remind students that all of the choices artists make count. They have meaning, or are an aesthetic response to visual data. Encourage students to be thoughtful about their creation, choices and placement of materials – so upon reflection/sharing they can speak to their personal choices or write about them.
I chose the blue striped fabric because it reminded me of…. Or it represents my passion for, or interest in…
I chose 3 buttons because 3 is an important number to my family – it is the date we left our country. Anything I see in 3’s sometimes makes me feel sad and happy.
I chose two trips of orange fabric with purple beads in between – these represent my dads and me – I feel safe and happy here. When I wear these colors together they make me feel confident about who I am, because my dads always say I can be whoever I want to be.
I chose all of the primary and secondary colors of fabric because sometimes I connect more to “feminine quality” colors and ideas and sometimes I feel more connected to “masculine quality” colors and ideas. I feel like I can move freely between the two, like I am on a moving sidewalk that goes both directions.
Skills to model or teach pre creating:
Hint: secure first with tying or glue, then wrap.
*Volunteers may be needed for glue gun supervision with younger grades
Encourage students to use as little glue as possible!
Additive Sculpture Creation Directions:
Reminder: thoughtful choices – it all has meaning!
Displaying Identity sculpture:
Use categories from the creative process to assess student work. I suggest “exploring/experimenting” & “reflecting/evaluating”
We are working on an Art project and need your help!
Students will be using the creative process creating an additive sculpture which explores personal identity. This creative task supports personal expression; both with choice of materials and composition. It also encourages and supports rich critical analysis, discussion and reflection.
If you are able, please help us in collecting the following materials in the next few weeks.
We will begin creating on DATE
Thank you for your help – Sincerely,
Teacher Name + class name