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Cut Collage Create


guyton 1.jpg

I taught this unit during the spring of 2016 at G.H. Reid Elementary School, my elementary student teaching placement. This unit was taught over the course of 40 minute art classes once a week for five weeks.

Unit Overview

Artists play many different roles in society - collecting, documenting, experimenting, and creating among them. In this unit, students will be artist-scientists. They will engage their curiosities, experiment with materials, "discover" new plant species, connect prior scientific knowledge to current making, and explore the history of museums. 


Throughout this unit, students discuss and then put into practice the act of collaboration. They moderate their own small-group discussions. Students practice their fine motor skills by cutting, gluing, and painting and make connections to math through the application of repeating and alternating shapes and lines to create patterns. Students are introduced to a contemporary African-American artist and ways in which art can be used to address social issues.

Big Idea


Key Concepts

  • Collaboration

  • Architecture/Design

  • The Unexpected

Essential Questions

  • How do parts come together to create a whole?

  • What creates a community? What do communities need?

  • How is a group creation different from an individual creation?

Target Student Group

First grade class; urban; school (G.H. Reid Elementary School)

Specific Unit Objectives

Lesson 1 - Surrounded by Pattern

Reference - Tyree Guyton, Heidelberg Project

Objective - Students will “explore” Tyree Guyton’s Heidelberg Project and learn about the artist. Students will identify various patterns applied to the buildings in the artwork and how the use of unexpected color and pattern effect the viewer. Students will learn the reductive monoprinting technique and review color mixing before painting their own printing plates, experimenting with using various tools to create patterns, and pulling at least three patterned prints.

(2 days)

guyton 3.jpg

Lesson 2 - Construction Crew

Objective - Students will use images of the buildings in the Heidelberg Project to identify architectural components and how to break them down into simple shapes. Students will consider what type of building they will create to contribute to the “neighborhood.” Through collage techniques using the patterned papers they and their classmates created, students combine simple shapes to construct their building. On the second day of the lesson, students will use black markers to add details to their collaged buildings.

(2 days)

heidleburg-polkadot-house-560px_LI (2).j

Lesson 3 - Community Coming Together

Objective - Students will think critically and discuss ideas about why Tyree Guyton might have created the Heidelberg Project and what the artist’s message is. They will consider what makes a collection of buildings a community and what they would like their community to look like. As table groups, students will work together to collage different additions to the mural out of construction paper.


National Art Standards

Anchor Standard 1. Generate and conceptualize artistic ideas and work.

Anchor Standard 2. Organize and develop artistic ideas and work.

Anchor Standard 8. Interpret intent and meaning in artistic work.

Anchor Standard 11. Relate artistic ideas and works with societal, cultural, and historical context to deepen understanding.

Virginia Visual Art SOLs

1.5 The student will create art from real and imaginary sources of inspiration.

1.10 The student will demonstrate the use of size relationships in works of art.

1.12 The student will use motor skills (e.g., cutting, modeling, molding, tearing, weaving) to create two- and three-dimensional works of art.

1.13 The student will describe how art is an integral part of one’s culture.

1.20 The student will explain why works of art have value.

1.21 The student will express a point of view regarding what art is and what purposes it serves.

Virginia Core Subject SOLs

Math 1.12 The student will identify and trace, describe, and sort plane geometric figures (triangle, square, rectangle, and circle) according to number of sides, vertices, and right angles.

1.13 The student will construct, model, and describe objects in the environment as geometric shapes (triangle, rectangle, square, and circle) and explain the reasonableness of each choice.

History and Social Studies 1.6 The student will develop a geographic understanding that the land forms of Virginia affect the places people live.

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