Collaboration for learning across the school - Grade 4 & Grade 12 - Symbolism in Art

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Collaboration for learning across the school - Grade 4 & Grade 12 - Symbolism in Art
Serrin Smyth

As part of the ‘How we Express Ourselves’ unit of inquiry: Symbolism - "People use symbolism in art to express complex and meaningful themes", students in Grade 4 had the opportunity to visit the Grade 12's and ask questions about the artwork they are preparing for their Exhibit!

Learning Intention: 

We are learning about the art creation process from Seisen’s high school artists.   

Success Criteria: I can…

→ Listen attentively to the artists as they share their artwork

→ Observe the artwork and look for elements and principles, symbolism and theme being used  

→ Ask questions and record the answers to learn how about the art creation process





After viewing the artwork and having discussions with the Grade 12 artists, Grade 4 shared some of their key understandings they learnt throughout the interview process: 

- Symbolism is anything that has a meaning

- Symbolism is the language of symbols

- Colour can be used to express feelings and emotions

- We noticed the differences between contemporary and traditional artwork

- The Grade 12 students documented their process in a digital journal

- Many of themes were connected to cultural context - identity, religion and heritage

- One object may be a symbol for many things

- Colour is used to express a mood

- Sculptures can be art too!

- It was interesting learning about colour and all the different meanings that colour has.

- "I never realized animation is art also."

- "I used to think that people just create or draw whatever pops into their head, however now I realize there is a long process to creating."

- Art takes time to plan.

- "I never realized art could be so large or fashion can be art."

It was not only the Grade 4 students who learnt from this experience, but also the Grade 12's too!

The Grade 12 students shared that this experience:

  • Prepared us for the Exhibition by giving us a real audience to practice speaking with
  • Through being asked questions, it pointed out gaps in our current knowledge
  • Made us think about the audience and who our art was targeted for
  • Really amazed by the acceptance from the audience (Open-mindedness!)
  • The Grade 4 students asked questions that I should be asking myself but I don’t
  • This process inspired me to make changes to my artwork
  • Helped us to reflect on our artistic journey
  • The hardest question we had to answer was about the harmony and unity of our pieces. 

Where to next?

Our Grade 4 students are now moving into the creation stage of designing and making their own artwork that uses symbolism to express a theme. We look forward to sharing these with the Grade 12 students when they are ready!


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