Magazine article School Arts

Seeing through Feeling

Magazine article School Arts

Seeing through Feeling

Article excerpt

Our fourth-grade language arts curriculum includes two stories that deal with blindness. The stories prompted me to invite one of our parents, who participates in a guide dog program by raising puppies, to bring one of her dogs to school and explain the training of guiding-eye dogs, and the ways in which they can be helpful to people without sight.

Seeing students' enthusiasm for the guide dogs, I wanted to channel some of their excitement into a lesson in art. My objective was to reinforce what students experienced in the classroom and, by doing so, give them an awareness and appreciation for their sense of sight. I began my lesson by reading the book Lucy's Picture, by Nicola Moon. This story is about a student who doesn't want to do a painting like the rest of her class, but rather wants to create a collage for her grandfather. Lucy uses many different kinds of materials to create her collage. At the end of the book, the reader finds out that Lucy wanted to create a collage so that her grandfather, who was blind, would be able to feel her picture--to see it with his fingers.

The Assignment

The assignment was to create a collage that could be appreciated by someone with or without sight. We discussed why Lucy created a collage instead of a painting and how the shape and texture of the materials Lucy used enabled her grandfather to experience her picture through his sense of touch. I wanted students to be aware of the senses of sight and touch, and how various art elements are experienced through these senses. I showed students examples of collages created by Nikki Schumann, a Maine artist who uses a variety of materials to create landscape collages. We discussed how we could experience shape, form, and texture through our sense of touch. We considered subject matter that would be appropriate for a collage and decided that a landscape or seascape would be best. …

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