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Thursday, October 16, 2014

Tree of Life

All School Art--The Tree of Life

Last year at the beginning of the year, I had my kids make a "get to know you" handelier (chandelier made of hands) with symbolism and construction paper--and it continues to hang in my classroom this year--I just loved doing that activity with so many grade levels.  So I wanted to start the year off with something similar, yet totally different.  The result was inspired by Gustav Klimt's tree of life and whichever art teachers' photos popped up when I googled "kid art Tree of Life."

I teach 4th-8th Grade Art and I only see each middle school level for one trimester, so this was done with 4th, 5th and 8th grades but could be done with any age.   Each student learned to use a safety compass (I love that they don't leave a hole in your paper and that your pencil won't fall out on you) and drew a circle.  I gave a circle size/measurement to the older kids and told the younger ones (4th and 5th graders) to make as big of a circle as they could on the paper I provided.  After looking at Gustav Klimt's Tree of Life, we talked about its symbolism and his style of art making.  I encouraged the kids to be inspired by his use of pattern and rhythm while drawing/coloring on their circle, but plenty of kids wanted to draw pictures that symbolized their own interests and that was fine by me.  I constructed a large tree (trunk and branches) from brown butcher/craft paper and hung it up in the school cafeteria along with all of the students' circles.  
Tree of Life Student Art with Circles
To the right of our tree there is a summary of what we did as well as a copy of Gustav Klimt's work.

Tree of Life Student Art with Circles