Lesson 3: Be Safe

Material Exploration

Art 3; Kaitlynn Mockett


Stage 1

BIG IDEA: Exploration of 3D materials with a collaborative installation as an end result. Lesson is inspired by the words “be safe” and however the students interpret them. It is my hope that in this lesson, students start to feel more comfortable with putting their internal thoughts into their work and learning a great deal about one another, what it means to truly collaborate, and how to problem solve.

Established Goals (GPS):

Students will understand the concept of collaboration and be introduced to the benefits and struggles of working with other artists.
Students will understand the breaking down of responsibility
Students will understand the feeling of taking on roles and reaching expectations, not only for oneself and for a grade, but for each of their classmates as well.

Possible Misunderstandings:
Collaborative artwork is not relevant or necessary in a high school setting
Group work always results in one person doing all the work or the hardest working student getting a poor grade due to lack of commitment from team members.

Essential Questions:
What is a collaboration?
What are the benefits/downfalls of installation artwork?
What do the words “be safe” make you think of?
How can we begin to explore the translation of feelings into words, or can we?

Students will know:
Students will know what an installation is and the process necessary to create one.
Students will know what a collaborative art practice consists of.
Students will know how to break down responsibility and assign roles
Students will know what their expectations are and how to reach them

Students will be able to:
Students will be able to work in a collaboration with other artists.
Students will be able to install and uninstall an installation.
Students will be able to work through the creative process and find the best solutions to problems that arise.
Students will be able to create a 3D, interactive work of art.
Students will be able to identify installation artists and installation art work
Students will be able to contact business and individuals and learn professional methods of communication and how to talk about our art work and ask for material donations.

Stage 2

Performance tasks:
Discussion and Assignment of Responsibility – Students will be assessed based on their participation in this discussion and their contribution overall to this collaborative work of art. Every student is expected to pick up at least one role, no more than 3, and to contribute every day in some way to this role.

Artist ResearchStudents will be expected to pick one collaborative or installation artist and do further research on their processes. A one page “paper” will be due and students will be asked to discuss these processes in class, and also how we can modify or adapt those processes to accomplish certain tasks within our own assignment.

Visual Journal bi-weekly check will fall during this lesson. Students will be expected to brainstorm, plan and sketch for this assignment in their journals.

In-process critiqueThe installation with be assessed in the midst of construction. I have found based on personal experience without instructional guidance, I flounder and become overwhelmed. I plan to be present and vocal in this critique if students need opinions, questions answered or solutions to problems.

Final Exhibition Part of the planning of this installation is preparing an exhibition. Students will be assessed daily on the progress of planning (a certain amount of the budget – or fundraising – will go to food and cards/handouts for the show) and the execution of setting dates, sending proofs and prints for media handouts, professionalism when speaking with printers, head of staff or newspaper staff to gain coverage, etc.

Peer Grading + Instructional Grading – students will be allowed to choose if they would like to have only their peers grade them or if they would like to take an average of both instructor and peer grades. This will count as a percentage of the complete installation grade.

Other evidence:
Weather checkDo they play well with others?

Observationhow students are interacting with one another, participation and involvement, comfort in sharing ideas, preserving the safety of the classroom environment, I am to make sure my classroom does not become too tense or defensive for a successful work of art.

Last Day ScrambleStudents behavior, actions and words will be observed on the last day of assembly.

Adaptations for diverse learners:

For advanced students: encourage them to pick up more than one role and assign them to an exhibition planning group.

For students with additional needs: if the role they have chosen requires something they may not be able to do, find a way to modify it. For example, if a student wants to pick up a constructive role and cannot physically accomplish this, allow them to deliver “parts” to the rest of their team, or ask a student to assist them in building.


Stage 3

Sequence of Instruction:

Day 1: Discussion, Assignment + Intro
Bellringer + Powerpoint:
Discuss new assignment, ideas, bellringer.
9:15 – 9:55
power brainstorm we are going to assign roles/responsibilities to students. This will be done first by breaking down responsibilities onto the blackboard/smartboard. This will include at least: Exhibition, Construction, Audio/Smell. Roles can be broken down into smaller parts. Elect leaders for each group (cannot nominate themselves and votes will be taken with heads down, eyes closed). At this time we will also do a material brainstorm and create group sketches of initial ideas. Students will be welcome to draw on the board in order to hash out ideas.
9:55-10:00 –
announcements: bring in any materials you think can be useful. For the construction group, think of local companies or individuals who may be willing to donate supplies. Come in tomorrow with a list of materials and businesses with contact information.

Day 2: Decision Making
8:30-8:45  –
Bellringer – “Hopefully you thought about this last night while you were eating cookies and watching Doctor Who, I mean Adventureland. (Or while you were taking a break from homework, right?!) Write out your materials or donators and any additional thoughts you believe may be helpful or useful for our collaboration/installation.”
8:45 – 9:00
Make list of materials and possible donations on the board. For the Exhibition group, encourage students to compose emails asking for donations for the project (assist in proper/professional terminology and ask them to read the email aloud each time they reword it). It will be my responsibility to arrange pick-up of materials, coordinating pick-ups and transporting materials from location to the school. Ask for volunteers to sign up after class or in private, but do not expect for students to be able to do this alone. Send emails out during class period.
9:00 – 9:50 –
If students wish to use some of the class materials to start on aspects of the project, allow them to do so. If not, students will need to make 3 thumbnail sketches of what they want to get out of this installation and WHERE they see it being installed (and exhibited). We will come together the last portion of class (9:40 or so) and share sketches and have a discussion. It is understood the first few class periods with be mostly planning, discussing, and decision making.
9:50-10:00 –
“Do we like “Be safe” as a title for our exhibition? If not, please write five possible titles you would like this installation to be named.” Clean up if necessary.

Day 3 – It’s Starting
8:30-8:40 –
Bellringer: Exhibition names? Write ‘em if you got ‘em. If you’re satisfied, take out some anxiety here before we hash out some big decisions today.
8:40 – 9:00 –
Decision making on name and location of installation. A decision MUST be reached today if we are going to have any paper advertising.
9:00 – 9:55 –
Break into groups and begin. Expectations are as follows:
Exhibition: Flyer/card design. Use of Photoshop or InDesign.
Construction: Start “blueprints.” Students will be given special permission to travel to location where we will be installing (somewhere on school grounds) to take measurements, brainstorm, and begin making maps/blueprints.
Senses: Further exploring the idea of safety and refuge by discussing what things appeal to their senses. For example: the smell of freshly cut grass, the sound of dogs snoring, squeaky chucks after a good rain, cold sheets, etc. and the beginnings of a plan to decide HOW to make these things happen in our installation. They will have access to a projector and speakers. Budget/fundraising money can be allotted for other materials if the entire class deems it necessary.
Make announcements about any update on donations/materials, save files if students are working on computers, put materials away. “We will pow-wow later, but tomorrow is a work day.”

Day 4 – Work day
Bellringer: Today is optional. You can work in your VJ or skip it and move on. Your call.
Students will continue to work in their groups. I am expecting to have several questions/complaints and will be prepared to address them. I will check on each group and have a brief discussion with each, mostly to feel out where they are as far as progress is concerned, but also to make sure the students are working well together.
Clean up materials
Pow-wow. Each group should briefly describe the path they are taking/what they are working on and share with the class. Class will respond in turn with positive, supporting comments and constructive criticism. It is important to remember that this is a collaborative work, and therefore the majority rules. If any particular aspect of the project is causing a problem, students will be asked to take an anonymous vote. The goal is to know what direction we are headed in at the end of this class period.

Day 5 – Work Day
Bellringer: Ten words that describe how you feel right now.
Work time. Addressing questions, comments and concerns. We are able to have a discussion if students are able to be productive and work simultaneously. By the end of class this day, designs must be finalized for media/printing.
9:50-10:00 – Clean up, questions, reminder to Exhibition group (all groups for that matter) that the opening will be in 3 days.

Day 6 – Work Day
8:30-9:40 –
Students are working. If weather permits, or if indoors, students should begin installing physical aspects of the installation on site. Exhibition/media group will need to be confirming food, décor (if any), table set up, and assisting the other groups. Audio/Senses need to begin testing out projector and speaker to make sure everything hooks up and works properly.
9:40 -9:55
In-process critique – in the form of discussion. Students will take a closer look at what they have been working on and have a conversation about what they feel this work conveys – does it in fact make one feel safe? How and why, or what can we do to further push that feeling?
9:55 – 10:00
Clean up, storage, saving files.

Day 7 – Work and Assemblage.
8:30-9:50 –
Entire class should be working as a unit to finalize installation. Construction should be occurring on installation site and production of other aspects of the installation should be happening in the classroom. Projector needs to be mounted as do the speakers. Place flyers/posters around school.
Clean up, announcements – Tomorrow this must be completed in whole. “If we do not finish at the end of the class period, who is willing to come after school prior to the exhibition to help with finishing touches?” (take count). If no one, then tomorrow, the class needs to discuss and execute a way to modify the installation in order for it to be completed.

Day 8 – This is It
8:30-8:33 –
Submit VJ for weekly bi-check.
8:35 – 9:30 –
Final assemblage. Ask students what I can do to help.
9:30 – 9:35 –
Initial walk through. What do we think? What needs extra love? Are you proud? No one has been killed, right?
9:35-9:50 –
Finishing touches
9:50 -10:00-
Talk about dress for the evening. Confirm with Exhibition Group about food, photographer, make sure there are no last minute hitches. Hand out cards to students to share with friends and family. Pep talk. Tell them you are proud of them, because you are.


collaborative installations:



Molds, plaster castings, carving, metal wire, ceramics, found objects, embroidery and textiles, book arts, donated materials.

collaboration –
Collaboration is working with each other to do a task and to achieve shared goals
installation –
Installation art describes an artistic genre of three-dimensional works that are often site-specific and designed to transform the perception of a space.

Exemplar Artists
Sandy Skoglund and Choi Jeong Hwa


Properly store and seal materials, especially those that may hurt students. Encourage reuse of saved materials from last assignment to incorporate into installation.


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