Update Feb 9, 2017: We are happy to announce that this project was featured in the School Arts magazine which is a nationally published magazine! You can find our project on page 24: www.schoolartsdigital.com/i/781950-mar-2017
Collaboration is an important tool that art teacher Brian Sommersberger and music teacher Jennie Andreasen believe is vital to students education. 4th grade students at Wilson Elementary School in Sheboygan, Wisconsin recently joined together to create short performances using art, dance, music, and composition.
The inspiration of the project began from an internet photo prompt of students creating water shadows against the outside wall of a school building. “Instead of trying to recreate the photo, it was important to develop alternative ideas that would fit into both curricula and enhance student learning,” said Sommersberger. In art class, street artist Keith Haring was the center of inspiration for the project. Students were asked to depict their own character using multiple mediums of tempera paint, oil pastel, watercolor and glitter.
In music class, students learned the song "Girls and Boys" and used it as a basis for learning music concepts of elemental form and rhythmic composition. An accompaniment piece was developed and infused into the song using hand drums, woodblocks and xylophones. Jennie Andreasen said, “Using speech building blocks inspired by the song allowed us to create our own unique rhythmic compositions.”
Students made a creative movement component by creating scenes of playing. As the movement concepts were developed, students were asked to analyze and critique movements of their peers and themselves. Additionally, each class decided on a class presentation, each student had a specific role of being a musician or movement performer. All students were involved in the final performance and contributed to the ideas and decisions that shaped the final performance.
Students presented their creations to a live student audience on the stage of the Wilson Elementary School. A large 15’x10’ backdrop was constructed along with a theatre pit for the instrumental performers. The backdrop consisted of fluorescent paints that included a variety of line designs while the pit was constructed of shadow characters not being used in the performances.
After the performance, a giant mural was created with the characters and backdrop. Photos and videos of the entire process are documented and can be viewed at www.wilsonelementaryart.wordpress.com