for Grade 4
Project-based learning pedagogy
Here are different projects done with grade 4 students for a period of six lessons of forty minutes each. These ten years old students have experimented with different practices and materials while learning French in their very first year in the program. Every week, students must respond to a new problem individually or collectively that allows them to progress in their project. A class is always formed of two phases, with fifteen minutes of language notions and art theory to half an hour of practice. In the seventh lesson, students are assessed with a twenty-minute written exam and they finish the unit by presenting their project orally and interacting with the rest of the class.
Most of these simple projects have been designed from scratch, by getting ideas from different sources of inspiration such as the Chinese and French programs, real-world problems, teacher's past projects and students' lives and interests among other references. Besides the challenging questions that drive these projects, topics have to be authentic and the methodology should let students enough voice and choice in creating high-quality products to be exposed. Due to their A1.1 french level, content complexity had to be slightly reduced. Nonetheless, most of projects have had successful processes and results while others will continue to be improved by the rookie teacher.
Project 1. My material
As it was students' first art project in the french program, they had to learn how to draw, say and write the material they were going to use in class. In the first week, students learnt how to draw their own pencil case by paying attention to its lines, details and shadows. Thus, they had to draw four tools with four different techniques. At last, in the third week, students were asked to work in groups of four and to combine their drawings to expose them on a single paper, which was carefully decorated to finally be presented in front of the class.
Posted: September 28th, 2019
Project 2. A book of Art
At first, students learnt to create a more or less abstract figure using geometric shapes that they had previously cut out, thus being able to constitute an object, a person or an animal. Then, they had to draw colored lines to decorate this figure's background and, in the third week, they were asked to draw a story with their partner in order to make the common thread of an art book that talks about shapes and colours.
Posted: October 24th, 2019
Project 3. The art of paper
Origami, or paper folding, has allowed students to make their first 3D project. First, they learned to make two animals, a butterfly and a bird, and in the following week they had to make a flower with their partner, by folding, sticking and assembling petals. Finally, students were able to gather all their productions on garlands to display in the corridor.
Posted: November 26th, 2019
Project 4. Chinese painting
Chinese painting and Qi Baishi’s art works have become essential to Chinese culture and its Art program. Students started to paint animals such as pandas, owls, or frogs in close-up. Then, they had to draw the same animal in its habitat with surrounding plants from a more distant point of view, to finally transfer them into postcards.
Posted: December 28th, 2019
Project 5. The moving body
Students first learnt about the body's anatomy and proportions before drawing step by step the picture of an athlete or dancer. Once the subject chosen, they had to draw a series of four moving postures of the same body in four different pieces of paper while describing their results through simple sentences.
Posted: March 29th, 2019 – March 5th, 2020
Project 6. Leafs and flowers
By observing nature, students learnt to draw a plant's leafs on close-up. Then, they had to draw the whole plant with its background from further away. At the same time, students could appreciate and comment famous artworks where plants and flowers are depicted.
Posted: April 26th, 2019 – May 5th, 2020
Project 7. The Chinese gate
In the first week, students learnt how to draw the Chinese gate of Guozijian 国子监牌楼 by reproducing the principal structure and its decorative patterns while paying attention to the symmetry of this architectural piece of art. Then, in the second week, they were given a big piece of paper representing a piece of the gate and they had to draw Chinese patterns on it with a pencil and a black marker. In the third week, students had to continue their work by coloring the patterns to make the whole composition visually appealing. At last, each piece of paper would be joined together to shape the gate of the class.
Posted: May 24th, 2019
Project 8. My ideal room
In the first week, students learnt how to draw a floor plan of their ideal room by placing walls, doors and windows as well as the furniture imagined within the space. In the second week, they started to make a model of that room by using a cardboard box and foamboard for the structure while starting to make the furniture. In the third week, students had to finish the whole by decorating all of it with other materials such as wood and cloth. They had to describe the different elements composing their space and to reflect on its everyday use.