Pop! Identity in Grade 6

by | Nov 19, 2020 | Learning

The Grade 6 year in Language Arts is centered around the theme of identity.

Students complete various projects about their own identity, the broader concept, and are working to expand the connections they recognize they have to others.

Over the year, Grade 6 students read a variety of genres and write in many styles and voices, all with the intention of improving skills, fostering literary appreciation, and working on in-depth analysis of character, context, and theme. One of the primary goals of this year is nurturing strong, independent writers. 

This pop-art portrait project is part of the first prong of the curriculum: examining one’s own identity in a variety of mediums. In the beginning of the year, students created identity wheels. They were introduced to Pop Art, in a unit integrating history, art, and Language Arts. They saw Andy Warhol’s famous Campbell’s Soup and Marilyn Monroe.

After being introduced to Pop Art and having their photo taken in standard poses, the students picked four attributes from their identity wheel to use as a basis for their self-portraits. 

Students were given the creative freedom to decorate their portraits using the medium, style, and design that corresponded to their identity wheel.  They primarily used pastels to create different backgrounds, change their looks, and add props and words to their portraits.  Afterwards, students wrote artist’s statements describing their work, their inspirations, and reflected on the process.

You can read several reflections from Grade 6 students and their accompanying artwork below.

Suri V.’s Pop Art and Reflection

This photo is titled “England.” I drew myself with a British flag in the background. I used a black and white photo of myself and red, blue, and white oil pastels to create the picture. I chose to focus on England because I was born there so it is an important part of my identity and culture. My goal was to show that it’s important to me and I think I achieved that well. I really enjoyed creating the artwork. The pastels were a bit hard to use at times but I definitely think it was a fun and interesting project.

This portrait is titled “Dancer.” I drew myself with dance products like ballet shoes, a leotard, and a skirt. I used a black and white picture and pink oil pastels to create this. I was trying to show my love of dance. The reason I chose to focus on my love dance is because it’s very important to me. My mom danced (at the same studio as me) and I have had a passion for it since I was 2. My goal was to show much I loved dance, and I think I achieved it. This artwork was really hard to make, especially the shoes. I put a lot of time and effort into this piece but I think it definitely paid off.

This portrait is titled “Friends and Family.” I drew myself surrounded by lots of people, to represent friends, family, and other important people in my life. I used oil pastels of all different rainbow colors to create this picture. I was trying to show how important all my friends and family are to me. Everyone contributes something special to my life, and I don’t know what I would do without them. My goal was to show how much I appreciate everyone in my life. This picture was really fun to make. I mostly improvised on everything which I kind of worried about but overall I really liked creating.

This portrait is titled “Harry Potter.” I drew myself wearing a Hogwarts robe, a Gryffindor scarf, Harry Potter’s glasses, his scar, a a wand, and the deathly hallows symbol. I used a black and white picture of myself and black, yellow, and red oil pastels to make this. I was trying to shoe my love for the Harry Potter books. The reason I chose to focus on Harry Potter is because it is such a huge part of my identity. I read it for the first time when I was in kindergarten, and I’ve re-read over and over again since then. I really loved creating this artwork. It was so fun to make, a bit stressful at times, but overall I loved how it turned out.

Talia F.’s Pop Art and Reflection

This portrait shows me holding a soccer ball. There are also lots of other sports in the background. My favorite sports are soccer and tennis so that is why I am wearing a soccer jersey. To create my portrait I used a black and white print out of a photo and drew with pastel crayons. I was trying to show how I love to play sports and to be on a team. I chose to do something about sports because I’ve been playing them since I was little. It’s also very fun to be on a team and brings joy to me. This was difficult because it was hard to make all the sports look realistic.

This picture shows me with my family and friends. In one field I am with my family with my dog and playing with them. On the other field I am hanging out with my friends. To create my portrait  I used a black and white print out of a photo and drew with pastel crayons. I was trying to show how much I love family and friends. I chose this because is a big part of my life. I grew up with them and they always make me happy. I know they will always be there for me. This was frustrating because it was hard to draw my dog.

This picture shows me in the background with lots of books and art supplies I am wearing a colorful shirt to represent the art. To create my portrait I used a black and white print out of a photo and drew with pastel crayons. I was trying to show my love for creativity and how I like to draw. I chose this because when I am sad I like to read because it calms me down. I love to do art because you can choose how you express yourself. It was hard because I am not very good at making books and it was hard to decide how to draw the background.

This picture shows all of my characteristics. It has words about me in the background. It also has a very colorful and bright background. To create my portrait I used a black and white print out of a photo and drew with pastel crayons. I was trying to show what my personality is. I chose to do this because this is a big part of my identity. I always try to the nicest person I can be and these words help me show it. I always want to make people happy and never put anyone down. This was hard to make because I didn’t know how to make the background represent the words.

Josie H.’s Pop Art and Reflection

I made skateboards above my head with the colors of my skateboard surrounding me. I titled it ‘Skater’ because I’m a skateboarder. I sued oil pastels to create the skateboard and colors around me. I love skateboarding It makes me feel free and happy. I was smiling in the picture to show my love of skating. I started skating in early June 2020 and can’t wait to keep doing it. Some goals for my work were to try and get out of my comfort one by trying to draw the skateboards. The amount of times I have tried and failed is too many. I really like how this piece turned out. Even though I’m not a big fan of drawing skateboards they turned out to be pretty decent.

I made myself wear goggles and the water with the clock above my head. I titled it ‘Swim’ because I love swimming. I made my artwork using crayons and I used the oil pastels to make the clock and the inside of the goggles. I have been swimming almost my entire life and recently joined a swim team. It’s something I love doing and will continue to do for the rest of my life. Some goals I had for this piece was to use supplies other than oil pastels because I used them for two other pieces. I like my piece because it shows my love for swimming and I worked really hard on this one. I liked to think about my favorite strokes while making it.

I made myself surrounded by and engulfed in color. There are a bunch of different colored polka dots. I used all my favorite colors in this piece because those colors make me happy. I used oil pastels for the whole piece. I switched off colors for the polka dots and the lines. I traced the outline of my braids to get that look. Colors make me happy and calm. I love to make things with a bunch of color if I’m doing something especially in artworks that I can go all out with. I didn’t have any goals for this artwork except making it as colorful as possible. I loved making this piece because it was fun to just let my creativity roll. I liked working with all the colors especially the greens and pinks and yellows.

 I made the background of my work filled with colored pencils. I only made colors in the back because I don’t dress colorful but when I start drawing I tend to use a lot of colors. I used colored pencils in rainbow order because I love rainbows. I have been drawing almost all my life. I like to draw with colored pencils and only colored pencils, I can’t figure out how to draw with other materials. I love to draw fruits and vegetables. I didn’t have any goals for this art work because I really just made this up on the stop and went for it. I love the way this one turned out. It’s my favorite. I liked to see how it came together over time and when it finished I was happy. I love the colors I used and love every part of it.

An emphasis is placed on creating a strong learning community in Grade 6, where we will learn from and depend on each other. Major Grade 6 texts include: The Giver by Lois Lowry, Pharaoh’s Daughter by Julius Lester, book groups based on multicultural Jewish histories, book groups based on integrated science projects dealing with climate change, various independent reading books, all build upon this.