Friday, December 10, 2010

keith haring wrap-up

American artist Keith Haring has reached a special place amongst my third and fourth graders this year. I love teaching the kids about his work, they seem to respond with wonder and child-like excitement over his cartoonish dancing figures.

I went to an arts symposium last week and the keynote speaker gave us a challenge to use her activity (which mainly tied to language arts, but was adaptable to ANY subject, showing how the arts can be infused with ALL other academia). I wanted to use it, and this was the perfect lesson.

First, recalling on all the facts, information, and personal history I have told them about artist Keith Haring for the past few weeks they were to (individually) come up with a sentence about him. Every other person was to start their sentence with "Keith Haring" and the subsequent people were to start their sentence with "and he/his".

They had two minutes to work. I broke them up into groups of three. They had 10 seconds to figure out who was going to be the "sculptor" and who were going to be the "two pieces of clay". Then they (silently) go to work, you know, cause clay can't talk! The sculptor had to mould their clay to represent their 1/2 of the sentence.

So, for example, here in the green shirt is the "sculptor". His "clay" is beside him.

The "clay's" sentence was "Keith Haring died in 1998" okay, yes, they got the date wrong. But check her out. She is clearly dead."...and he made a lot of random dancing figures". This was third grade, they were stuck on the dancing figures and his death.

"Keith Haring did a piece of work on the highway" (referring to his "Crack is Wack" mural on a New York exit ramp.

" ...and he had a shop called the Pop Shop."
When the lesson was over, the kids told me they really enjoyed it. NOT ONLY could they give me some facts about Keith Haring, but we (silently) learned about compound sentences. Recalling information, writing it down, and acting it out....will allow them to retain it for an unspeakable amount of time!
Thus infusing the arts with language arts....aaaaaah, there's a concept.


  1. I love this acting out the sentence! That is so cool. I will try it with the next unit on an artist we do. Thanks!

  2. Wow, great idea! I love how it involves all the kinesthetic learners, especially in a regular ed classroom. Your blog is awesome...I'm excited to start following it. :]