Thursday, January 21, 2016

Norman Rockwell: Artist of the Quarter

Norman Rockwell is an amazing illustrator, an artist who tells stories using images.  The artist was introduced to students through an examination of his "Triple Self Portrait" using VTS strategies.
"Triple Self Portrait" by Norman Rockwell
Visual Thinking Strategies (VTS) allows each child to share what they see or find in a piece of art and connect their findings to visual evidence within the painting. Through VTS' rigorous group 'problem-solving' process, students cultivate a willingness and ability to present their own ideas, while respecting and learning from the perspectives of their peers.  Common questions asked during a VTS discussion include: 

What's going on in this picture?

What do you see that makes you say that?

What more can we find?

To learn more about Norman Rockwell and his life, Kindergarten and First Grade students listened to the story "Norman Rockwell" written and illustrated by Mike Venezia from the "Getting to Know the World's Greatest Artists" Series.
A selection of books from our public library about Norman Rockwell.
After learning more about Norman Rockwell and his life, Kindergarten students worked as a class to develop a fictional story.  Students have already started illustrating their book pages. Each kindergarten class section has written a book and currently, each student is assigned a page from the book to illustrate. Today, students will be adding more details to their drawings with pencil and adding color with crayons. Students may need help reading the words on their assigned page as to remember what their assigned page says and illustrate accordingly. Students were also asked to help each other brainstorm ideas or details to add to their illustrations to make them better and to make sure the picture or illustration is “telling a story” like our artist Norman Rockwell.

First and Second grade students discovered an interesting comic on the front of the "Norman Rockwell" book written and illustrated by Mike Venezia.
"Hey Mr. Rockwell! Why don't you paint some cool modern stuff like us?"

I wanted to make sure students understood why this quote was so important, so we examined other art created around the same time of Norman Rockwell's illustrations and made notes using a Venn Diagram.  I think the category that was most difficult for students was finding words to describe what was similar between Norman Rockwell's illustrations and the modern abstract artwork that was created at the same time.
Working together in groups of 3-4, students compare art using a Venn Diagram.

First and Second grade students also designed a cover for "The Saturday Evening Post". This lesson puts the student in the role of illustrator with the assignment of designing a cover for “The Post”. Students were shown examples of Post covers by Norman Rockwell from the books in the above photo. Students were reminded that Norman Rockwell felt that the idea of a cover must be readily evident, the viewer should be able to understand the situation in about thirty seconds for the cover to have the desired impact. Grades K-3: Remember that the drawings may be only somewhat representational. Continue to be supportive of the efforts and open to spontaneous or unrealistic use of color. Next week, students will be creating Norman Rockwell inspired artwork of their own!
"The Saturday Evening Post" Cover Design
SD Visual Arts Standards
Anchor Standard 8: Interpret intent and meaning in artistic work.
K.VA.Re.8.1.a. Describe what an image represents.
1.VA.Re.8.1.a. Compare images that represent the same subject.
2.VA.Re.8.1.a. Categorize images based on expressive properties.

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