CANADIAN ANIMAL EMOJI – Chinese Artist Yue Minjun, Expression

Students create 6 emoji of a Canadian animal they have researched. They scan and save them as .jpgs and then use them in text messages that show what each emoji means. 

Required Time

120 Minutes

Grade Level

Grade 4 to Grade 8

Subject

Language Arts
Mathematics
Visual Arts
Media Literacy

Vocabulary

blend colour emoji emotion shape symbol

Materials

Coloured Pencils Fine Line Black Markers Scissors Pencils Eraser Drawing Paper 22.9 cm x 30.5 cm (9" x 12")

Steps

CANADIAN ANIMAL EMOJI – Chinese Artist Yue Minjun, Expression - Step One

Step One

  1. Use the Canadian animal you researched.
  2. Make 4 thumbnail sketches of possible designs for your emoji.
  3. Draw a good copy of the face you want to use in a small square about 8 cm x 8 cm.
  4. Cut out the square.
CANADIAN ANIMAL EMOJI – Chinese Artist Yue Minjun, Expression - Step Two

Step Two

  1. ​Fold the square in half along the vertical line of symmetry of the face.
  2. Cut out the shape making sure you cut away from the fold.
  3. Open the shape and use it as a tracer. 
CANADIAN ANIMAL EMOJI – Chinese Artist Yue Minjun, Expression - Step Three

Step Three

  1. Draw 6 faces on your paper.
  2. Draw 3 to a row and space them evenly across the page.
CANADIAN ANIMAL EMOJI – Chinese Artist Yue Minjun, Expression - Step Four

Step Four

  1. Use a black, fine line marker to draw the features on the tracer that will be the same on every face, for example, the nose.
CANADIAN ANIMAL EMOJI – Chinese Artist Yue Minjun, Expression - Step Five

Step Five

  1. Place the tracer under the drawing paper and line it up with a face.
  2. Trace the features in the same spot on every face.
CANADIAN ANIMAL EMOJI – Chinese Artist Yue Minjun, Expression - Step Six

Step Six

  1. Draw a different expression on each face of this rough copy.
  2. Trace around the finished drawings with a black fine line marker.
CANADIAN ANIMAL EMOJI – Chinese Artist Yue Minjun, Expression - Step Seven

Step Seven

  1. Place your good paper on top of the rough copy.
  2. Use a pencil to carefully trace each face. 
CANADIAN ANIMAL EMOJI – Chinese Artist Yue Minjun, Expression - Step Eight

Step Eight

  1. Use coloured pencils to colour each emoji.
  2. Blend colours and create contrast so the details stand out.
CANADIAN ANIMAL EMOJI – Chinese Artist Yue Minjun, Expression - Step Nine

Step Nine

  1. Scan each emoji and save it as a .jpg.
  2. Pretend the animal is you. Write 6 different text messages that show what the emoji means, for example,
    - There are so many twigs in the lake at this time of year. I can eat my fill. Did you know that the Algonquian First Nation always called us ‘mus’ because it means twig-eater? I think it’s the perfect name.
    - I had a run-in with some tourists today. Had to chase them away from my calf. Who do they think they are?
    - I’m sooo tired. Had to get away from a bunch of hunters who were after me. Need to rest.
    - I just saw the most handsome bull! Oh I’m so in love!
    - I was playing all day with my sweet little calf. So much fun!
    - Oh that bull moose has found someone else. How could he?
  3. Insert the emoji .jpg into the text.

Learning Goals

Students will be able to:

  1. Design a set of 6 Canadian animal emoji based on research.
  2. Draw expressions for 6 different emotions.
  3. Scan each emoji and save it as a .jpg.
  4. Insert their emoji in text messages that show what each emoji means. 
  5. Demonstrate technical accomplishment and creativity.
  6. Support their ideas with evidence found in the works.

Extensions

Have students: 

  1. Use a digital editing platform such as Photoshop to turn their emoji into a digital format.
  2. Experiment with ways to insert their digital emoji into scanned images of artworks they have created.

Prepare

  1. Download the Colour posters available on this website.
    Posters 
  2. Download images of A-maze-ing Laughter by Yue Minjun available on the Internet at the following link:
    A-maze-ing Laughter
    A-maze-ing Laughter 2
  3. Review the information about the artwork and the Vancouver Biennale available on the Internet at the following link:
    Vancouver Biennale
  4. Prior to this lesson provide time for students to research, and make drawings of a Canadian animal of their choice.

Introduction

  1. View and discuss the images of Yue Minjun's sculpture A-maze-ing Laughter. Ask students to describe what they see, and what they think it means.
  2. Share a brief background about the artist, and view the short video available on the Vancouver Biennale website,
    Vancouver Biennale
  3. Ask students why they think people enjoy the sculptures so much.
  4. Ask what the artist's treatment of the face reminds them of - smiley emoji.
  5. Discuss how students use emoji and what their favourites are. (An interesting fact – In 2015 the Oxford Dictionary named, 😂 the Word of the Year)
  6. Identify characteristics of emoji, for example,
    - shapes are simple and easy to identify
    - small pictures used to replace words
    - can have more than one meaning depending on the context
    - colourful
    - easy to recognize
    - express emotions
  7. Introduce the challenge.

Activities

The Challenge

  1. Design a set of 6 Canadian animal emoji based on your research.
  2. Draw expressions for 6 different emotions.
  3. Scan each emoji and save it as a .jpg.
  4. Insert your emoji in text messages that show what each emoji means. 
  5. Demonstrate technical accomplishment and creativity.
  6. Support your ideas with evidence found in the works.

The Process

  1. Ensure that everyone understands the challenge.
  2. Establish success criteria with your students, for example,
    effective simplified animal shape
    - carefully drawn
    - each emoji is the same shape
    - each expression is easy to understand
    - effective use of coloured pencil techniques
    - paper in good condition
  3. Guide students through the steps outlined in this lesson plan.
  4. Observe students as they work.
  5. Provide individual assistance and encouragement.

Sharing

  1. Once all the emoji are complete ask students to share just the emoji in partners or small groups. 
    Ask them to:
    Look closely at the emoji and how they have been made.
    - Share thoughts about the work.
    - Tell what they think each image means and when they would use it.
    - Talk about how detail and colour are used to create a unique set of emoji.

    - Talk about what was difficult about making the set of emoji and explain why.
    - Tell what was satisfying about making the set of emoji and explain why.
    - Talk about how the process would be different using a computer.
  2. Ask some students to share their ideas with the whole class.
  3. Provide time for students to scan and save each emoji, and to write their 6 text messages with the emoji inserted after each one. Share the text messages in small groups once they are finished.

Assessment

  1. Observe students as they work – thoughtful focus, discriminating, seeking more information, elaborating, experimenting
  2. Observe students as they discuss their emoji – active listening, insightful contributions, supporting ideas with evidence found in the artwork and from personal experience.
  3. Use a checklist to track progress. (Downloads – Emoji_tracking.pdf)
  4. Have students use the self-assessment form to evaluate their work. (Downloads – Emoji_self-assessment.pdf)