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Allyson Cain 1. Unit Title - Explorations in Utopia 2. Grade/Class Advanced Ceramics class of all 12th graders. Having taken Art 1, Beginning Ceramics, and Intermediate Ceramics in the previous three years of high school. Fifteen students total, ten girls and five boys. One gifted student and one with a physical disability. The class meets 2-3 times a week for 90 minutes. These students have experience in both handbuilding and wheel throwing from Beginning and Intermediate, respectively. 3. Goals/ Rationale - Personal Stake in the Unit– As a clay artist, I as well as others am always striving to express myself through my own voice. It often takes many years to find that voice because it usually develops out of experiences, education, and exposure to many different forming and decorating techniques. In addition, learning about ceramic art history and keeping up with current trends in the art world also helps to form my work. This is just one more way of looking at the world, specifically one that doesn’t really exist, and in this unit it only exists for a short period. By looking at what others have tried and failed at, I hope my students can see both the good and bad of utopias and come to understand them and themselves better through the unit. 4. Rationale for Artists and Artworks used meet the unit goals: The artists I chose were Gwendolyn Yoppolo and Tara Wilson. Although they both deal with utilitarian ideas and this unit is broad enough to include sculpture and other forms, I chose these artists because of the way they talk about their work and how it communicate to the viewer. Gwendolyn makes works that focuses on the human experience of eating and how we go through stages of anticipation and preparation before arriving at satiation where we can finally be fulfilled by the food. It is a personal and sensual experience that can be between a person and themselves, two people, or a community. Her work varies in its intention for who should use it, but each piece must be used in a certain way and speaks to the type of food you would use it for and in what situation, and so she creates this ideal moment of satiation that I think really works well for this unit. Tara’s work is not quite as forward in its approach, as it is more about the simplicity of a form in relation to life. She creates work that initially seems quiet and simple but upon really sitting with it and investigating the piece, the viewer realizes its complexities in both form and surface. In a way she is creating an ideal relationship between the pot and the user that is made by her. The viewer can understand her passions and ideas and also explore their own in this way. 5. Enduring Ideas: (“Big ideas about making meaning with art that are important to this learning experience) Fill in this sentence prompt: Throughout time and across cultures artists….  Have used their work to influence others and create the ideal space or moment. Whether working in large installations or single pieces, one way of connecting to your audience is by influencing the way they view or it, or in ceramics, how they use it.  Have used their art as a means of utopian satire of the world in which they live and offer criticisms of the current state of society.


6. Investigative Essential Questions that guide this unit of learning. What are the students investigating? What will students discover at the end of this sequence of lessons?  What is a utopia?  What is a dystopia?  Can they be a single moment or place in time, as opposed to a world view or society?  Can they exist at all, even for just a moment?  Do we really want utopia, or are we just striving for a better time, place, etc., because we know it is unattainable?  How can you represent this two dimensionally?  In what ways can you create your own utopic moment in clay?  How do your ideas about perfection and ideal moments reflect how you see the world and your own identity as an artist? 7. Key Instructional Concepts  How artists use their work to influence viewers’ and users’ experience with the work  How artists use their work to show their ideas about perfection and ideal moments  How exploring their own ideas about utopias can help them better understand themselves and their own identities  How clay and especially utilitarian forms can communicate their ideas and impact those who ultimately use them as they are in direct contact with the work  How their work can be both functional (if they intend it to be) and art the same time and how that affects people’s view of it 8. Constraints This unit assumes that the school has a fairly large and well facilitated ceramics program. Without pottery wheels this unit would still be able to be used but would have to be exclusively hand built. Also, types of kilns and kiln sizes would limit the type or clay and glazes as well as size of the projects. Limited storage space for the projects is also an issue as they are large and you cannot just stack greenware on top of itself like you could with two dimensional projects. 9. Integrative Options/Cross Curricular Correlations Students in my ceramics class will be looking at various situations of tried (and usually failed) utopic societies throughout history to connect to their social studies. They will also be reading excerpts from books such as Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World and George Orwell’s 1984 to gain a literary perspective on utopian satire in the form of dystopic future societies. In addition, they will also be looking at the origins of the term utopia in Sir Thomas More’s Utopia from 1516. 10. Relationship to the Developmental Needs of Children * Mo step standard 1.2.2) Yes, having gone through two years of rigorous entry level courses in ceramics, I believe the third year students could used their skills in hand building and wheel throwing to successfully create works of art that incorporate what they have learned already and still further explore the medium. 11. Opportunities for student responses to art from historical, critical and aesthetic perspectives


Students will discuss artists and their works on the first day of lesson 1. They will be introduced to utopias through the ages and allowed to conduct research on the topic as well as participate in class discussions of the topic during class. On the second day, they will have a chance to look at each others’ ideas about utopias and further discuss them. While making their final project, the students will take part in a wet critique in which they will guide a discussion on their work while it is in progress and give each other feedback on how to best complete their project. 12. Lesson Sequence Lesson 1 Name- Allyson Cain TITLE OF LESSON- Exploring the Ideal Moment GRADE LEVEL (S)- 12th Grade RATIONALE and GOALS FOR THIS LESSONThe idea of a utopia has been around for centuries, having been officially coined as a term in 1516 by Sir Thomas More. Students have been exposed to the ideas of utopias throughout their lives as something unattainable or impractical. Starting in this lesson, students will begin to look at utopia as a moment created for them that is ideal or perfect, according to their own guidelines. Many times, the idea of an ideal place never quite materializes and I find the thought of making it a reality, even for just a moment quite intriguing and important for students to try to achieve as it is not a topic always sought out. ENDURING BIG IDEA: The big idea I am investigating with my students is utopias and working to create an ideal moment or environment, however the students see it. During this part of the unit, students will work out their ideas about this in two dimensional terms only and come up with in the form of words and drawings what kind of utopia they will be creating. They will begin thinking about the approach to making and the process they will use and go through to make their work, which will reflect the kind of utopia they imagine. ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS – See lesson vignette questions. KNOWLEDGE BASE AND KEY CONCEPTS How artists use their work to influence viewers’ and users’ experience with the work  How artists use their work to show their ideas about perfection and ideal moments  How exploring their own ideas about utopias can help them better understand themselves and their own identities OBJECTIVES  

Students will participate in discussions about utopias and what they mean to the student Students will create questions about utopias after conducting research and help others in answering theirs Students will brainstorm and create journal pages are part of their pre-thinking


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Students will come up with and flesh out two substantial ideas about their piece and prepare them as proposals for work they will do Students will work with me to choose their best idea and then make warm ups in the form of maquettes out of clay to work out potential problems in their project and ideas

LESSON VIGNETTE Day 1 Time:30-45 minutes Anticipatory SetStudents will view a presentation including the following questions, artists’ work, history of utopias, quotes from literary example, and have a discussion during the presentation. What guiding questions can you ask the students that will engage them and lead them to an understanding of the ideas in the lesson? What is a utopia? What is a dystopia? Can they be a single moment or place in time, as opposed to a world view or society? Can they exist at all, even for just a moment? Do we really want utopia, or are we just striving for a better time, place, etc., because we know it is unattainable? What questions will you pose about the art they view? What is the artist thinking about when making their work? Themselves? The viewer or user? How does the art make you feel? Do you want to use these pieces? Imagine how you would feel in the moment of using these pieces and the environment they create. What questions will you use to put students in a position to understand the concepts, skills and techniques involved in your studio activity? How can you represent this two dimensionally? In what ways can you create your own utopic moment in clay? Will your work take shape as sculpture, utilitarian forms, figural objects, or a combination? Will you strictly hand build, wheel throw, or take the challenge of combing the two and truly incorporate all of your skills? How will you incorporate your process and way of working into your thinking about your piece? If your ideal way of working is systematic and planned out, you probably should not work without a plan or in the moment. Your final product should have a common way of making/process running through, from planning, to warm ups, to the final project. Time:Rest of Day1 Body of lesson-


Students will read excerpts from books and do further research online about utopias and what they mean to the students. Time: 5 minutes at end of the day Closure- Consider how you will summarize this lesson for the students. (Summary, review, and preparation for next lesson) Will the students actively reflect on what they have learned today? Students will work in their journals between now and the next class. They will come up with discussion questions for the next class about utopias. These could include further questions they have on the topic, questions about what others are thinking, or questions they feel their work will answer. Their questions will act as an entry slip into the next class. They will also brainstorm and create concept maps of their utopia, or ideal moment and make a journal page or two about it. Day 2 Students will show their questions and journal pages upon coming to class. For the first thirty minutes or so we will discuss their questions from the previous night as well as allow the students to shares thoughts from their journal pages and what a utopia means to them. This will take the form of an oral description and a gallery walk of the pages as a means of the students visually seeing others’ thoughts and drawing ideas from them. The majority of the class will be spent on the students coming up with a minimum of two ideas in the form of proposals for their final project. Using their research from day 1, and journaling, they will be prepared to full develop their ideas in a two-dimensional format that includes notes of building techniques, surface decoration, size, and any mixed media they might like to include after firing their work. Their “sketches� may take a traditional form in paper and pencil, or can be done digitally on a program such as Illustrator or and iPad, depending on their accessibility to certain technologies. The last bit of class we will go over what is expected by next class. Between now and next time, students will finish at least two well developed ideas that include the above mentioned parameters as well as inspirational materials. These can be in the form of other artworks, ideas from other students and faculty, or even literary sources from their research; they are broad but required as part of the proposal. We will go over any questions at this time as well. Day 3 & 4 Students will meet with me during the first half of the period and have a conference discussing their ideas and helping them to choose their best and most appropriate idea to continue forward with. Having picked an idea, they will begin working on their warm ups. Warm ups are essential as they allow the students to work out any potential problems on a smaller scale and perhaps come up with more ideas. They are considered maquettes and are three dimensional embodiments of their two dimensional sketches. They are required and considered participation as they are not graded (these are all part of the ceramics program at the school and so would be a normal and routine exercise for the students). At this point, if the student discovers that he or she does not like their idea as much or they are unable to resolve


problems, they may opt to do their other idea or a new one that has developed out of their work, it is still fairly open. This will take up the rest of this class period, as well as all of the next class. While making their warm ups, students must still consider their final decorating techniques as they should use their warm up as a practice for how their final project will look and so must pay attention to drying if they want to slip or put terra sigilatta on their pieces. At the end of day 4, we will begin to start drying the warm ups so they can be fired as soon as possible as students will be moving on to making their final project. ASSESSMENTS/RUBRICS – You should include formative and summative assessments. Success at this point can be measured by the quality of the students’ questions from day 1, as well as their journaling about what a utopia means to them. Also, students will be counted down for not participating in these warm up/ pre-thinking activities, as they are not for points, but are required for success on the project as a whole. Students will also be assessed on how well they communicate their ideas, even on the warm ups as they are indicative of how the final project will be. STUDENT ENGAGEMENT AND ADAPTATIONS FOR SPECIAL NEEDS-. Although students have completed two ceramics classes prior to this one, they may feel more comfortable on the potter’s wheel or hand building and so they will have the option to choose which they would prefer to work in. They also have the option to challenge themselves and work with both styles, which I have found to be most helpful as some things are better built by hand and can be quicker, while other times it is much more satisfying to make part on the wheel and combine the two. The first four class periods may be harder to keep students engaged as they work at different rates and be ready to start their warm ups or final projects earlier than others who need more time to plan. Fortunately, the students will be allowed to go ahead and begin their warm ups and then final project once they have submitted their proposals and had a conference with me to discuss it and what will be best. MATERIALS, TEACHING RESOURCES/REFERENCESBrave New World 1984 Utopia Computer and presentation program Computer lab for research Teacher exemplar Journals Clay It takes time to research the varied ideas about utopias and then decide what your own views are and be able to transfer that into a piece of work. In preparing, I might try to think of other ways to show my ideas and make non-utilitarian forms. TEACHER REFLECTION:  Students have engaging discussion about utopias on day 1 and benefit from their time researching


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Students are able to successfully brainstorm about their ideal moment and how they see utopias Students participate in discussion of each others’ ideas on day 2 and are able to glean valuable information from one another’s ideas Students create proposals for their final project that are meaningful to them and accurately espouse the ideas that they want to communicate to others Students create maquettes of their approved idea effectively and are happy with the results, allowing them move on to their final piece

Lesson 2 Name- Allyson Cain TITLE OF LESSON- Creating the Ideal Moment GRADE LEVEL (S)- 12th Grade RATIONALE and GOALS FOR THIS LESSONGoing off of the previous lesson in preparation for this one, I think it is important for students to not only conceptualize their ideas and work through the process of pre-thinking, but also be able to take it from two dimensions, into three successfully and feel as though they accomplished their goals. Students learn from trying to things, having previously focused on building techniques, students are ready to think about big ideas like utopias that will help them develop as artists and better understand themselves. ENDURING BIG IDEA: (Define the BIG IDEA?) What is the big idea that is being investigated in this lesson? How will you connect the big ideas about art and artists’ work with the art making part of this lesson? The big idea I am investigating with my students is utopias and working to create an ideal moment or environment, however the students see it. During this part of the unit, students will focus on taking what they have learned from artists and research and their two and three dimensional “sketches” and work to create their final piece. This is where all that they have learned comes together in one big (self) collaborative effort and the students truly work to have their utopic ideas materialize in the clay. ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS – Students will keep in mind the previous questions from lesson 1 as well as really consider the following: o What is YOUR ideal, perfect moment, environment, place, etc.? o In what ways can you communicate this in clay successfully? o How do your ideas about perfection and ideal moments reflect how you see the world and your own identity as an artist?

KNOWLEDGE BASE AND KEY CONCEPTS How clay and especially utilitarian forms can communicate their ideas and impact those who ultimately use them as they are in direct contact with the work  How their work can be both functional (if they intend it to be) and art the same time and how that affects people’s view of it


How different techniques can work together in clay to make a cohesive piece

OBJECTIVES Students will work from their sketches and warm ups to create a piece that is very similar, at a much larger scale  Students will use either hand building, wheel throwing, or both to create their work  Students will employ a variety of surface decorating techniques to further enhance their work and ideas  Students will participate in a “wet critique” and constructively help their peers in finalizing their projects  Students will follow up the final project with an artist statement that clearly communicates their ideas  Students will also take care in giving their piece a title for when they are displayed at the end of the unit LESSON VIGNETTE - (Narrative description of the lesson) Write a brief but detailed account of what you see happening in the class. Describe what you and the students will do and how things will unfold. How will you deal with transitions? List the procedures you will follow: Days 5-11 Students by this time have their warm ups back in hand (after being fired) and are able to use them as reference. They will spend three full class periods and time outside of class working on their final piece. On the fourth day, we will spend much of the hour on a “wet critique” which depending on how the students are moving, could be anywhere from 60% - 80% completion requirement, but it usually 75% done with their work at this time. With the remaining time they will work on their pieces. Days five and six will also be work days and day six will be the last. At the end of day six, students will begin drying their pieces which will be fired in a week. In the mean time, they will decorate and fire their warm ups as well as being brainstorming for their next project. Once their final project is out of the first firing and the warm up is out of the glaze fire, they will spend approximately one to two days glazing and decorating their pieces. Once the pieces are out of the final firing, they will have a final critique and students will submit their artist statements. ASSESSMENTS/RUBRICS - (Describe what student success looks like and what evidence you have that learning has taken place). You should include formative and summative assessments. Success at this point takes the form of a cohesive set or piece of work that reflects the student’s ideas about their utopia. Their wet critique is essential as a formative assessment to make sure students are on the right track and will finish on time. A summative assessment comes in the form of a rubric that grades effort, technical proficiency, craftsmanship, communication, and overall effectiveness equally. STUDENT ENGAGEMENT AND ADAPTATIONS FOR SPECIAL NEEDS-. How will you differentiate for your diverse classroom population? How will you keep students engaged? What


will you do to challenge students who are highly talented? What have you planned for those who finish early? As mentioned before, students will be able to work in handbuilding, wheel throwing, or both so as to best accommodate their preferred working style. With just enough time to finish the work in class as well as some outside work, students will have to be constantly engaged to finish on time. At this point, those who finish early will move on to brainstorming about their next project. MATERIALS, TEACHING RESOURCES/REFERENCESSame as lesson 1 TEACHER REFLECTION:  Students took their ideas from their sketches and maquette and transformed them into larger scaled pieces that they feel successfully communicates their ideas  Students can talk about their work successfully and communicate their ideas as well as participate successfully in the critique  Students can communicate their ideas through writing as well

13. Assessment Strategies and Evaluation Criteria Throughout the unit, students will use their journals as a means of sketching and organizing their ideas and will be looked at when necessary. They will create warm ups in the form of maquettes or three-dimensional sketches that are developed from their two dimensional ideas and smaller in scale than the final project. Three-quarters of the way through lesson 3, we will have a wet critique of the work which is 75% done and will have a final critique at the end of the project. To accompany their work, they will also turn in a well developed artist plan, which will be a guiding tool in evaluating the student’s ability to communicate their ideas about utopic moments and how well their ideas come across in their work. Students will be graded on effort, communication, craftsmanship, technical proficiency, overall effectiveness. Per limitations of the school, it would be ideal to display the works in a public area. 14. Unit Evaluation and Assessment Success for this takes the form of students producing work that had evidently had much effort and personal ideas about utopias imbued in it. For ceramics it is particularly important that students are able to meet deadlines and make firings for their work to be fully complete, so success will be measured in how well I have planned the time for them to be able to finish in and how well they work to achieve the deadlines. Important in this unit is how well the work speaks on its own as well as how well the students are able to explain their ideas and defend the choices they made in their piece. 15. Unit student art exemplar My unit developed out of this idea I had been working with for a couple of months now. In making dinnerware for ceramics, I wanted to make something experiential. Something that I found interesting is how you as a maker can create this situation, this moment that is perfect. The pieces I made can really only be used in one way. You have to have the plate with the cup and bowl to able to use any of it and in a way I am creating this utopic moment for my user in the sense that I know they have to use it in a certain way every time they come into contact with it, whether they want to or not. And so there is also this underlying feeling of control over what


is going to happen when someone tries to use it and discovers that it really can only be one way whether they chose it or not. While working and thinking about the work I was planning my next steps and making sure everything from trimming to slipping the work and adding texture to glazing was controlled and in the right order, the only way it can go without messing everything up and so my process is reflected in the way the pieces will ultimately be used. Through my working I developed these utopic ideas and began developing a unit plan that I believe is accessible and challenging to any student at any level, particularly at the high school level.

Exploring Utopia Unit Plan  

Word Document of Unit Plan

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