Room 14’s Art in the Park Journey

All it took was a look down to the gutter to get inspiration for our Art in the Park inquiry focus this term. Little did Room 14 know the picture below would lead us all on an artistic learning journey into problems facing Lake Taupo and the world around us.

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Room 14 began its Art in the Park inquiry by brainstorming ideas about why people do art and how people show art. 

From this brainstorm Room 14 created their learning intentions 

  • To use word and picture clues to show an idea or mood.  

  • To explain how people have used word and picture clues to show an idea or mood.

  • To experiment with different art materials and techniques to show an idea or mood.

As a starting point we looked at books and how authors and illustrators use pictures and word clues to show different feelings. To explore this further we looked at noticing these things in different types of art, beginning with doodling and sculptures. Learning activities involved children having to use picture and word clues to tell a story about themselves, and explain to classmates what their picture clues meant. 

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Room 14 students also made sculptures to show how different body positions can reflect different feelings.

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Next we explored Taupo street art. We had  discussions about what we could see in street art, whether we liked it and why, what we thought it was about and what we wondered about it. Students used the discussion starters to write their own art reviews. When looking at Taupo street art we identified themes of nature, our environment and culture. 

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Next, we took inspiration from a ‘THINK FRESH PROTECT OUR LAKE’ message on a gutter grate I noticed when hopping out of my car. We discussed what this message meant and what would happen if we didn’t protect our lake and our environment. From responses, we began to make an artwork to inform people about this. What started as just a lake scene turned into much more.

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We started by showing a contrast between a healthy happy lake and an unhealthy darker lake. Then we wondered how we could show this in our environment too. 

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How did we do this? Well, this is what some children in Rm 14 had to say.

We showed contrast by making a clean lake and a polluted one filled with rubbish. Riley

My sculpture is curled up in a ball with his arms around his knees because he’s sad. I put him on the dark side. Molly

I blended a dark sky for the bad side. Jacob

My lion sculpture is on the bad side facing the good side because it wants to go to the good side. Avery

I did a rainbow on the good side because they make me happy. Alyssa

Rubbish in our lake and all around us also got us thinking about what we could do with rubbish. We drew inspiration from a YouTube clip we watched, of a man who collected all the rubbish he could find from the ocean near his home, and turned it into sculptures of animals. 

He chose to do sculptures of animals to raise awareness of how rubbish in our waterways is killing sea creatures. Because this linked in with our learning about Lake Taupo, we decided to theme our Art in the Park installations around this: Turning trash into treasure that reflects themes from Taupo, with some artistic flexibility involved.

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Keywords: Art in the Park, sculptures, protect our lake, trash into treasure

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