For three weeks I cotaught at Uni High School in Champaign with Libby Pettett. The students were beginning a unit on printmaking. The teacher, Mrs. Evans, introduced the unit with a project on American Heroes. They were instructed to find an unheard of American hero and make a block print of that person's portrait. During our time there we allowed them to continue working on that project while adding supplementary discussions, presentations and a side project.
On the first day, we introduced them to Kehinde Wiley. News of Wiley painting President Obama's portrait had just come out and we thought it was a perfect example of noble portraiture. We showed examples of his work and discussed the posture and presentation of an honorable person. We introduced our project which was to take portraits of each student, portraying them in a similar way. We would then print the photos and they would use a variety of art making methods to design a background similar to the way Wiley creates his paintings.
On the second day, they continued their block print carvings while Libby and I took turns taking their portraits. This gave us the opportunity to get to know them a little better and share an intimate moment by taking their photograph. It also gave us the opportunity to discuss the portrayal of heroic figures with them more.
On the final day together we felt it was important to have a discussion about heroes. We wanted to explore the word more and discuss the different kinds of heroes, other words for heroes and possibly some issues with the word and its limitations. We gave the students a large sheet of paper and had a couple students take notes on the conversation, creating a visual map of their thoughts. That is documented in the first photo above. The rest of the time we set out collage materials as well as oil pastels and colored pencils for them to work on their self portraits.
I have attached our lesson plans for this unit below.
Teaching this class was part of my experience in ARTE 302 at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. During this course I also developed a lesson plan incorporating history into an art lesson as well as developed a seven week curriculum grid to be used for a high school Intro to Art class. I have included these documents below.