We begin every art exploration with some writing. In this case it was the creation of two lists. One describing how others perceive us to be (including potential prejudices) and another list of things we know to be true about ourselves. The latter being things maybe only best friends and family know, or even secrets. To preserve personal privacy, I let students know they could write in code so even I might not know what symbols mean but they should be honest with themselves in their lists so work would have more depth.
When lists were complete, I shared what our exploration would be. They chose boxes from those I found in my classroom, but homework could have been to bring in a small box. These were then sketched from several angles and included symbols and items they could decorate their box with. My students were encouraged to bring inexpensive items from home that carried personal meaning, but I had many items available in my room:
· Access to a printer
· Colored construction, fabric scraps, and tissue paper
· Acrylic paint and pens
· Craft items like beads, shells, ribbon, feathers, etc.
When sketches were complete, students sought out 2 opinions about their ideas from peers before working on actual boxes. They were also expected to get my initials on their sketch as final approval. If I saw anything that might be unrealistic or inappropriate, I could address it and offer some alternate ideas before students dove into supplies.
As you can see, work was highly personal, individualized, yet all fell under the same overall guidelines. By tying outcomes to students experiences, point of view, and personality, diversity is assured.