Lesson plan by Bożena Gąsiorowska, a teacher of the Polish language and literature, translated by Anna Janiszewska, a student of class IIC
The Joy of Creation… a task in an Erasmus + project “Creativity knows no Borders” done by Stefan Żeromski High School in Żyrardów in 2015-2017. Classes for two 45-minute units, including a self-prepared presentation by the students in the second unit.
Objectives of the lesson:
- making students aware that individual differences between works of modern art derive from differences in the imagination and ingenuity of their creators
- discovering pleasure in visual expression
- drawing attention to the individualism of creation related to differences in the work of imagination in each of us
- understanding the intricate essence of imagination
- bringing students closer to the objects of modern art in which the artistic creation dominates
- making students aware of the problems with a clear classification of the effects of modern artists’ actions in various categories of art
- encouraging students to creative reception of art and creative presentation of the results of their work
Forms of work: individual work or work in 3-person groups
Working methods: different techniques of activating methods, creative expression, creative fun – text editing, text analysis, analysis and interpretation of works of art, creative noting, presentation in a chosen form in appointed time, discussion, reading comprehension exercises
Materials: Three definitions of imagination (proposed in the lesson plan), 10 photocopies of artistic objects, 10 editions of materials presenting selected objects and the type of creativity they represent; paints, crayons, pencils and cartons in a quantity suitable for the individual work of each participant.
The course of the class
- Introduction to the problem through creative play: the teacher explains the task that consists of creating a pastel, poster paint or pencil portrait of an unusual monster, whose description could have been prepared in advance or is created by the students during the class, element by element – no more than 8 essential elements of the character. The teacher reads out loud successive elements of the description to the students, then repeats the whole text, the students draw or paint. An example of a description – fragment: The wanted monster has a distinctive appearance: a tiny, slightly ovate head; sparse hair spreading out in the wind; big eyes, a bit goggled, very long and limp neck, he has no lips but a funnel-shaped snout; a short podgy torso; springy, lanky legs etc.
- Students paint or draw for 5-10 minutes (during the reading), then put their works on a magnet board to compare the effects and formulate the answer to the question – what differs the illustrations and from what do these differences arise? Answers produced orally, students volunteer to answer. The teacher briefly records students’ answers on the board, if among the answers there are no words like: imagination, ingenuity – the teacher suggests them as his/her proposal.
- The next task for the students is to explain what imagination is – within 15 minutes.
- To sum up and deepen the reflection, students receive from the teacher 3 different definitions of the term imagination, e.g. according to Materia i wyobraźnia (Matter and Imagination) by Andrzej Osęka, Salon 1859. Królowa zdolności w O sztuce (The Salon 1859. Queen of Ability in About Art ) by Ch. Baudelaire and Wykłady amerykańskie s.8283 (American Lectures p.8283) by I. Calvino.
Within 10 minutes, in 3-person groups, they decide how to present in a creative way the most important common points in the views of the three authors on what imagination is and present the answer on the board. The teacher can add his/her own idea. A brief determination of what has been considered common points.
[Notice - the proposed descriptions should not lack attention to sensory and mental processes: eg analysis, synthesis, visual thinking, etc.]
- On one table the teacher puts photocopies or photos (in A4 format) of reproductions of icons of modern painting or sculpture prepared for ten 3-person groups. The decision to allocate selected works to groups is random, that is, each reproduction has a number from 1 to 10, invisible for the students, who in turn give a chosen number and receive the assigned reproduction or photocopy of a painting or sculpture. We make sure that the selected objects are examples of 10 pieces of creative (nonmimetic) art that are important to a given country. In case of Poland for example by Katarzyna Kozyra, Zdzisław Beksiński, Jerzy Nowosielski, Roman Opałka, Wojciech Fangor, Teresa Pągowska, Jan Berdyszak, Edward Dwurnik, Jacek Sempoliński, Jonasz Stern – artists, for whom realistic reproduction of reality is not important.
On another table the teacher puts 10 sheets of paper, containing fragments of the artists’ statements or experts’ opinions, about the kind of art the artists pursue, concerning each of the artist on a separate sheet. The sheets are not labelled.
The task of the students is to match each reproduction with the statement of its author correctly, within 15 minutes of comparative analysis. [The statements should contain content related to very typical motives of artistic actions, determinants of the choices made, ideas that determine the overall shape of created works, recognizable in the presented object. Based on them, the students should be able to, at least, deduce the role and type of imagination and answer the question as to what are the most important assumptions or ideas that shape the work.]
Students look at each other's choices. They have another 5 minutes to change their choices if necessary, but they should justify the changes they propose. The teacher assesses the relevance of the choices made, eliminating possible errors in the decisions.
- As homework, students have to prepare a 3-5-minute presentation in any form, but attractive, appreciative of imagination and ingenuity, the purpose of which is to explain to the other students the idea, on which the work of a chosen artist is based and what characterizes his imagination.
A lesson scheduled for completion in a class with extended curriculum in humanities on June 5, in a class of the Polish language, as an introduction to the reception of visual arts of the beginning of the 20th century, which, according to the curriculum, make up an important interpretative context.
Lesson plan by Marek Chmielewski, a student of class IID with extended curriculum in humanities, translated by the author
„The Joy of Creation” – designing your own, functional city of the nineteenth century
Objectives of the lesson: Familiarizing students with the assumptions of Polish Positivism so that they create their vision of an ideal and functional city based on these assumptions.
Teaching aids: 2-3 pencils, 2 rulers, a pack of crayons, an A3 cardboard, flashcards for every group of 4 students, a big cardboard with a heading “Was Żyrardów an example of a truly positivist city?”
Teacher`s activities before the lesson:
- To eliminate unnecessary mess, instructs students earlier to divide into groups of 4 people each
- Prepares A3 cardboards – draws one main street and 3-4 side streets
- Checks electronic devices in the classroom to make sure the recommended links work on them. Installs or downloads all the necessary plugs or programmes if needed
- Prepares a few sets of flashcards (the number of sets corresponds to the number of groups in a given class), each consisting of 4 small cartons, on which he/she writes a positivist idea (for example utilitarianism) on one side and its definition on the other. Necessary ideas: work at the grass roots, organic work, utilitarianism, assimilation of ethnic or national minorities.
- Puts a set for each group (pencils, ruler, crayons, flashcards, A3 cardboard) on a table to prepare workplaces for students
Duration of the lesson: 90 minutes
- Instruction on the task (5 minutes)
- Group work, creating a city map (40 minutes)
- Short presentation of the results
- Summary, showing a map of Żyrardów
Detailed explanation of each element:
- Instruction on the task
The teacher presents the work plan and asks the question: ‘what should a city look like, how should it be designed to meet the guidelines given on the flashcards?’ Then the teacher gives the task: ‘design and draw on the cardboards you have received what, in your opinion, such a city should look like, label important buildings which should be located in it. On the cardboards you already have the main street and side streets drawn but do not feel limited by this - you can ignore them or change them as you wish.’
In order to motivate students more, the teacher can offer a reward for the design which is the most relevant to the given task or most original, for example in the form of a very good grade in the subject.
- Group work
In this part of the lesson the students do the task.
The teacher observes their work and is ready to answer if any questions arise. Optionally, the teacher can present paintings or drawings by artists of the positivist era showing urban life at that time, illustrated with music or sounds of a nineteenth century city, in the form of a PPT presentation.
Groups take turns to present their city maps to the rest of the class, coming to the front of the classroom. After the presentation they place the maps in a place where they are well visible, for example on an easel or on the board.
The teacher shows a map of Żyrardow, either a paper version or electronic version, using a projector, and points to all the important features of the design, relevant to the positivist ideas (recommended website: http://www.muzeumzyrardow.pl/index.php?p=edukacja)
Then the teacher chooses a design which is the most original or best suited to its purpose. If there are no outstanding works, all the students receive 3 plus points.
Having given the grades, the teacher shows a cardboard with the heading "Is Zyrardów an example of a truly positivist city?" And asks the question, ’ Do you think the nineteenth-century Zyrardów fulfilled the ideals of its epoch? On your way out of the classroom, write your opinions on the cardboard’ (evaluation of what the students have learnt during the lesson)
Homework: Enter the website http://www.wirtualnyspacer.zyrardow.pl/ and read the information given there. In the next lesson you will have a short knowledge test on Żyrardów.
Photography contest – “Old Żyrardów in the lens”. The contest lasts up to 3 weeks and the task is to present the beauty of old buildings in Żyrardów in photos. The reward is an excellent grade.
- “Vademecum Żyrardowa” Redakcja: Bogusław Nietrzebka, Muzeum Mazowsza Zachodniego w Żyrardowie, Żyrardów 2016
„Vademecum of Żyrardów” edited by: Bogusław Nietrzebka, Museum of the Western Masovia in Żyrardów, Żyrardów 2016
- „Wartości urbanistyczno-architektoniczne dawnej osady fabrycznej w Żyrardowie” Towarzystwo Przyjaciół Żyrardowa Żyrardów 1982
„Urban – architectural values of the former factory settlement in Żyrardów”, Żyrardów Fiends Society, Żyrardów 1982