In this lesson, student artists create their own sketchbooks and begin sketching out things that they frequently see around their neighborhood.
Students will be able to:
- create a basic sketchbook.
draw specific things that they frequently see around their neighborhood.
Students will be working independently.
Have materials set up in a way that is easy to pass out, see, and select from.
‘Jake Makes a World: Jacob Lawrence, A Young Artist in Harlem’, by Sharifa Rhodes-Pitts & Christopher Myers, optional (for early finishers): Getting to Know the World’s Greatest Artists: Jacob Lawrence’
Handouts & Photocopies:
10M, INSPIRATION IMAGE
LOOK AND DISCUSS AN ART PIECE THAT INTRODUCES SOME OF THE LESSON CONCEPTS
Project the inspiration image where students can see it. Give students a moment to study it silently, then begin a brief discussion with the phrase, “What can we find?”. Paraphrase what students say for the benefit of the class, being careful to remain neutral, then ask “What else can we find?”. Alternately, allow them to draw or write what they notice on a blank piece of paper or in a sketchbook.
- Jacob Lawrence, The Photographer, 1942
- (Jacob Lawrence is featured in the lesson video)
Note on using the information above: As your students participate in a conversation around this artwork, it may occasionally be helpful to provide them with additional or contextual information. This information can and should be imparted at the teacher’s discretion.
The point of this discussion time is to have students learn and add onto each other’s thoughts. By remaining neutral and simply repeating what students say you allow students to do the heavy mental lifting and also create an environment where there is no wrong answer, fostering creativity and mental risk-taking.
5M, INTRODUCTION VIDEO
WATCH THE INTRODUCTION VIDEO & CHECK FOR UNDERSTANDING
Check for understanding by asking, “Who was listening closely that can sum up what we are doing today?” Make sure that student artists can list all the steps and clarify anything that needs clarifying.
Make sure they can name the artist they looked at (Jacob Lawrence—it might help to have the whole class repeat the name (“I say Jacob, you say Lawrence. Jacob.” “I want you to say the artist’s name in the most theatrical way possible, ready, 1, 2, 3” etc.)
Make sure they understand that they will be creating a sketchbook and filling it with scenes from around their neighborhood—everyday things, places, and people.
Before letting the kids start, have them all close their eyes and take a walk around their neighborhood in their imaginations. Briefly discuss what they saw as a class.
FOCUS ON ENCOURAGING STUDENTS TO REMEMBER SPECIFIC THINGS THAT THEY SEE AROUND THEIR NEIGHBORHOOD
The students work independently on their work as the teacher circulates. Foster strong work habits by commenting on student artists who are focused on their work .
As the teacher circulates, s/he should be trying to get students to recall the specifics of their neighborhood. Focus and comment particularly on student artists who are coming up with unique drawings rather than copying their neighbors. At the end of class, encourage student artists to take their books home and add drawings as they are inspired.
READ ‘JAKE MAKES A WORLD’ TO STUDENTS
Depending on the teacher’s style of classroom management, it might be helpful to only choose and train a few kids to clean. The rest of the class can be busy with reading (see below). Make sure to train these helpers well in advance so that you aren’t left with a messy room.
Clean-up times will vary with materials; get to know your class and allow 5-10 minutes depending on how efficient they are and whether or not the material was messy.
While select student artists are cleaning, gather the rest of the class and read ‘Jake Makes a World’.
- If they have a hard time remembering things, have them close their eyes and take an imaginary walk (again). If they are still having trouble, the teacher can narrate to them about what s/he sees when s/he walks around his or her neighborhood to give examples and ideas.
Student artists can add pages and continue drawing, or they can look at one of the literacy extension books.
Alternatively, you can have them research and learn about the Harlem Renaissance. Here is a poem ‘Harlem’ by Walter Dean Myers and illustrated by Christopher Myers that can get them started. You can also show them kid-friendly articles like this one on Kiddle.