For the past month of our 5th graders have been exploring the meaning of home through art. They began their journey by reading Home by Carson Ellis and watching a video of Carson in her home.
They brainstormed what symbolized home for each of them. It is more than the physical building. It’s what you miss when you leave. It’s what comforts you. It’s what makes you feel at home.
Using a variety of materials such as tissue paper, cardboard, construction paper, paint, and more, they began to construct a scene. A portion of every student’s scene was made using a 3Doodler pen. These pens warm filament into a steady flow of material to 3D design in a freeform style. It took some tinkering to get used to these pens, but once students figured out the best strategies, they were designing swings, trampolines, bedrooms, trees, and more objects that symbolized home. This work began in the library and continued in art until students finished.
As students finished their work, we began to construct an exhibit on the shelves of the library. Students filled out an artist statement to accompany each piece so that people touring the exhibit could learn more about each representation of home. They also took time to record a Flipgrid to show and talk about their art. This allowed people who aren’t at our school to also take a tour and meet the artists.
We also wanted to inspire our youngest artists with our project, so once the project was on full display, we invited Kindergarten classes to come to art class with each 5th grade class. The 5th graders were in charge of the lesson and tour (with the facilitation of Ms. Foretich, art teacher).
The Kindergarten classes started on the carpet. A 5th grader read Home by Carson Ellis and students viewed a few of the Flipgrid videos. Ms. Foretich invited students to think about some questions they might ask the artists as they toured the exhibit. During this time, the rest of the 5th grade class was making sure their art pieces were ready and waited on the Kindergarten to begin touring.
Classes began wandering through the exhibit and listening to 5th graders talk about the process and materials of their art. One of the special things was when a student would make a connection to a piece of art and share a special moment about “home” from their own life.
The Kindergarten students left the library buzzing with excitement and talking about a project that they hoped they got to do in 5th grade. I’m sure Ms. Foretich is already brainstorming what these students might do next year so they don’t have to wait until 5th grade to do a project like this one.
This project was filled with student voice and ownership, and we learned something about each student that we might not know. It was also filled with perseverance and creativity. We were so impressed with what the students created. When we take time to get to know our students, it leads to connection, understanding, and new conversations. I would love to think about more opportunities to make these connections, especially earlier in students’ elementary years so that we can grow together through the year.
What represents home for you?