ELDERS – Mixed Media, Cree Métis Artist George Littlechild

Students create a mixed media artwork using watercolour paints, crayons, fine black markers, and photographs as they reflect on their shared life experiences with the elders in their lives. 

Required Time

120 Minutes

Grade Level

Grade 3 to Grade 8

Subject

Language Arts
Visual Arts
First Nations, Metis, Inuit

Vocabulary

background colour emphasis foreground middle ground

Materials

Crayola Marker & Watercolour Paper - 22.9 cm x 30.5 cm (9" x 12") Crayola Washable Glue Sticks Crayola Watercolour Paints Crayola Paint Brushes Crayola Fine Line Markers Crayola Crayons Crayola Scissors Photographs of Elders in Your Life Access to a Photocopier Watercontainers Paper Towels

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Steps

ELDERS – Mixed Media, Cree Métis Artist George Littlechild - Step One

Step One

  1. Brainstorm words and images connected to the elders in your life.
  2. Reflect on what you have learned from the elders in your life.
  3. In your mind's eye picture a life experience you have had with a special grandparent, mentor, or teacher, who you have learned from.
    - How did you feel?
    - What colours would express your feelings?
ELDERS – Mixed Media, Cree Métis Artist George Littlechild - Step Two

Step Two

  1. Use a mind map to draw and write about your shared experiences with the elders (e.g., grandparents, mentors, teachers) in your life.
ELDERS – Mixed Media, Cree Métis Artist George Littlechild - Step Three

Step Three

  1. Use a paint brush to cover a piece of watercolour paper in clear water.
ELDERS – Mixed Media, Cree Métis Artist George Littlechild - Step Four

Step Four

  1. Close your eyes and think about the experiences you have had with the elders in your life.
  2. Remember stories you have been told about your ancestors, great grandparents, and grandparents. What were their lives like? What colours best represent your feelings toward the elders in your life?
  3. Choose watercolours to add to your paper already painted with clear water.
  4. Dip your brush into water first, then add paint to it, allowing the colours to bleed into each other, and move with the water.
  5. Cover the entire paper in colour.
  6. Set the paper aside to dry.
ELDERS – Mixed Media, Cree Métis Artist George Littlechild - Step Five

Step Five

  1. Find photographs of elders who are part of your life.
  2. Photocopy the photographs and cut out the images of the elders (e.g., grandparents, great grandparents) in your life.
ELDERS – Mixed Media, Cree Métis Artist George Littlechild - Step Six

Step Six

  1. Use a glue stick to glue the images of the elders onto your dried watercolour painting.
  2. Glue the larger photographs in the foreground, the medium sized photographs in the middle ground, and the smallest photographs in the background.
ELDERS – Mixed Media, Cree Métis Artist George Littlechild - Step Seven

Step Seven

  1. Use a fine line black marker to write about the life experiences, feelings, and stories connected to each elder.
  2. Write around each photograph, creating a frame of words.
ELDERS – Mixed Media, Cree Métis Artist George Littlechild - Step Eight

Step Eight

  1. Use crayons to emphasize the colour on each photograph.
  2. Use the crayons to draw special life experiences you have shared with each of the elders in your life.
ELDERS – Mixed Media, Cree Métis Artist George Littlechild - Step Nine

Step Nine

  1. View your work with fresh eyes.
  2. Reflect on what you have learned from the elders in your life.
  3. Share your special experiences and memories of the elders who are part of your life with your classmates.

Learning Goals

Students will be able to:

  • create a mixed media artwork using watercolours, collage, markers and crayons;
  • use words, drawings and photographs to communicate their feelings, stories, and life experiences with elders;
  • make connections between colours and their feelings about the elders in their life;
  • use size to show space, and contrast to create emphasis in the artwork;
  • demonstrate technical accomplishment and creativity.

Extensions

Have students:

  • interview elders in the community;
  • invite elders into their classroom to share their life experiences;
  • create a class book documenting their stories;
  • make a family tree;
  • read and share stories about the history of the land they live on from the perspective of the First Peoples;

Prepare

  1. Prior to the lesson visit the OISE website titled, "Deepening Knowledge: Resources for and about Aboriginal Education". Dr. Nicole Bell has created a resource focused on First Nations Elders.
  2. Jason Yup has created a series of videos about elders on the OISE website. Preview some of the Yup videos and choose some that will be appropriate to show to your students. Each video shares teachings from an elder.  
  3. Download some mixed media images by George Littlechild.
  4. Get the book,The Song Within My Heart, by David Bouchard and Allen Sapp.
  5. Download and display the Colour and Emphasis posters available on this website,
     

Introduction

  1. Discuss with your students, who is an elder, and why special respect should be given to elders. Reflect on how one becomes an elder.
  2. Using Dr. Nicole Bell's resource about First Nations Elders, explain how elders are treated, and why it is important to show an elder respect.
  3. If possible invite an elder to come to speak with the students and share a story from their life experience.
    - It is important to remember that First Nations Peoples from different communities will have different protocols for how to receive elders. Always check with the elders about protocols before any visit.
  4. Share mixed media paintings by George Littlechild.
  5. Read The Song Within My Heart, by David Bouchard and Allen Sapp. Discuss the paintings illustrated in the book, and the teachings.
  6. Discuss and brainstorm as a large group meaningful experiences and learnings/teachings students have experienced with their elders.
  7. Introduce the challenge.

 

Activities

The Challenge

  1. Create a mixed media artwork using watercolours, collage, markers and crayons.
  2. Use words, drawings and photographs to communicate your feelings, stories, and life experiences with elders.
  3. Make connections between colours and your feelings about the elders in your life.
  4. Use size to show space, and contrast to create emphasis in the artwork.
  5. Demonstrate technical accomplishment and creativity.

The Process

  1. Ensure that everyone understands the challenge.
  2. Establish success criteria with your students, for example;
    use of colour
    - use of photographs
    - placement and size of photographs
    - contrasting colours
    - 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 artworks are complete ask students to bring their mixed media artworks into a large circle.
  2. Invite each student to share one of their special life experiences with an elder.
  3. Ask students to share how they communicated their feelings about the elders they chose to include in their artworks.
  4. During the circle discussion include references to colour (warm and cool), and their emotions connected to the colours.
  5. Ask students to share how they have created space and used emphasis in their artworks.

Assessment

  1. Observe students as they work – thoughtful focus, discriminating, seeking more information, elaborating, experimenting.
  2. Observe students as they discuss their artworks – speaks with a clear voice, looks at audience while speaking, points to areas in the artwork, provides accurate information, answers questions from the audience effectively.
  3. Observe students as they listen – looks at presenter, asks effective questions, supports ideas with evidence found in the artwork.
  4. Use a checklist to track progress. (Downloads - Elders_tracking.sheet.pdf)
  5. Have students reflect on their own artworks in their sketchbooks. Ask students to write: 
    What worked well in your artwork? Why?
    - What would you change or do differently next time?