This lesson has been rattling around in my brain for some time ever since a fellow classmate in my graduate class presented her idea. The main idea was for students to physically build a sentence using blocks. I transformed this idea and painted art words on the side of blocks. Specifically elements of art and principles of design. I started with five sets of blocks. Each block set contains 140 words. I wanted to include several Dolch words so that my students could build their own sentences. I put those on the sides of the blocks.
The blocks I used are a variety of shapes and sizes; mostly due to having been cut by my students last year. Over the summer, I painted the blocks with a solid color and then then add the words on top of the solid color in white or black acrylic paint. This was a three day process because I needed to wait for the sides of the blocks to dry before painting the other sides.
When it came time for this lesson this year my classroom flooded and then I had a baby. I didn’t want my long term substitute to teach this lesson because I really wanted to teach this lesson. I had originally set it up as one of many stations. Then I thought to myself, are you crazy six different stations with rotation. I decided to have the students set up in groups and then they would rotate to that station during the seven day lesson. The block activity is part of many different activities to teach about materials, elements of art, and principles of design. However, the students are most excited to have their turn at the blocks. The students not at the block station would be whole group learning about different media or looking at/analyzing artwork.
This is a very popular activity with my male students because they are physically building their sentences. I want them to use the words in the sentence. The problem solving comes into play when the students then take that sentence and transform it into a picture with an emphasis on the word they choose from the element of art or principle of design list. I have the students use markers and crayons at this station because they are already familiar with these tools. The purpose of this station is to develop connections between what they write and images not learn a new media (we do this in other stations).
If you would like the full version of my lesson please click here to go to my lesson on TPT.
This is a description of my lesson on Teachers Pay Teachers:
Middle school students use word blocks to build and move art words to create a new thought. This hands-on block art lesson is a way for students to build a sentence using an element of art or principle of design. Students then create an image based on the sentence and focus on the element or principle. The digital download includes: objectives, 8th grade Michigan visual arts benchmarks/standards addressed, assessment, material list, vocabulary and teacher resource list, activity, teacher example, student example, list of words, student handout. 3D blocks are not included; however a 2D paper boxes are attached to the lesson. This lesson is especially popular with my male students.