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High [9th-12th] Lesson Plan

Identity Box

Created on July 31, 2015 by MisterPP

Students create an 'Identity Box' with the outside representing how the student presents themselves to the world and the inside representing the students inner strengths.

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10+ sessions; 70 minutes per session

Students will create and curate an 'identity box' that tells about themselves. Students reflect on their identity and personality and how to use symbolism to represent them in their artworld

Small boxes (gift or cigar boxes work great)
Miscellaneous ephemera
Acrylic Paint
Paint brushes
glue (including hot glue and super glue)

Need these materials? Visit Blick!

This is part of a larger unit on identity and symbolism

Students look at the artworks of Lucas Samaras, Joseph Cornell and other artists who create artworks within small boxes or spaces.

Lots of discussion on use of symbolism in the examples observed.

Teacher discusses with students how to use symbolism to represent realistic and abstract concepts.

Studnets brainstorm what to show about themselves. Outside of box should show how the student represents themselves to the outside world, Inside of the box should be personal mementos, and other symbolism of 'inner strength'. Ideas and memories that are positive, so when student is having a bad day they can look at the inside of the box and have good thoughts and reflections about their lives.

Students paint boxes and add ephemera to their boxes including a minimum of 3 personal items that they bring from home.

Does outside of box represent how the students represents themselves to the world? Did students use symbolism to represent abstract concepts?

Inside of box should show symbolism of inner strengths.

Students write a reflection about their use of symbolism, how and what everything on their box means and why they chose to include it in the project.


Visual Arts Standard 1:
Understanding and applying media, techniques, and processes

[9-12 Proficient] Students conceive and create works of visual art that demonstrate an understanding of how the communication of their ideas relates to the media, techniques, and processes they use
[9-12 Proficient] Students apply media, techniques, and processes with sufficient skill, confidence, and sensitivity that their intentions are carried out in their artworks
[9-12 Advanced] Students initiate, define, and solve challenging visual arts problems independently using intellectual skills such as analysis, synthesis, and evaluation
[9-12 Advanced] Students communicate ideas regularly at a high level of effectiveness in at least one visual arts medium

Visual Arts Standard 2:
Using knowledge of structures and functions

[9-12 Proficient] Students evaluate the effectiveness of artworks in terms of organizational structures and functions
[9-12 Proficient] Students demonstrate the ability to form and defend judgments about the characteristics and structures to accomplish commercial, personal, communal, or other purposes of art
[9-12 Proficient] Students create artworks that use organizational principles and functions to solve specific visual arts problems
[9-12 Advanced] Students demonstrate the ability to compare two or more perspectives about the use of organizational principles and functions in artwork and to defend personal evaluations of these perspectives
[9-12 Advanced] Students create multiple solutions to specific visual arts problems that demonstrate competence in producing effective relationships between structural choices and artistic functions

Visual Arts Standard 3:
Choosing and evaluating a range of subject matter, symbols, and ideas

[9-12 Proficient] Students reflect on how artworks differ visually, spatially, temporally, and functionally, and describe how these are related to history and culture
[9-12 Proficient] Students apply subjects, symbols, and ideas in their artworks and use the skills gained to solve problems in daily life
[9-12 Advanced] Students evaluate and defend the validity of sources for content and the manner in which subject matter, symbols, and images are used in the students' works and in significant works by others

Visual Arts Standard 4:
Understanding the visual arts in relation to history and cultures

[9-12 Proficient] Students differentiate among a variety of historical and cultural contexts in terms of characteristics and purposes of works of art
[9-12 Proficient] Students describe the function and explore the meaning of specific art objects within varied cultures, times, and places
[9-12 Proficient] Students analyze relationships of works of art to one another in terms of history, aesthetics, and culture, justifying conclusions made in the analysis and using such conclusions to inform their own art making
[9-12 Advanced] Students analyze common characteristics of visual arts evident across time and among cultural/ethnic groups to formulate analyses, evaluations, and interpretations of meaning
[9-12 Advanced] Students analyze and interpret artworks for relationships among form, context, purposes, and critical models, showing understanding of the work of critics, historians, aestheticians, and artists

Visual Arts Standard 5:
Reflecting upon and assessing the characteristics and merits of their work and the work of others

[9-12 Proficient] Students reflect analytically on various interpretations as a means for understanding and evaluating works of visual art
[9-12 Proficient] Students identify intentions of those creating artworks, explore the implications of various purposes, and justify their analyses of purposes in particular works
[9-12 Proficient] Students describe meanings of artworks by analyzing how specific works are created and how they relate to historical and cultural contexts
[9-12 Advanced] Students correlate responses to works of visual art with various techniques for communicating meanings, ideas, attitudes, views, and intentions

Visual Arts Standard 6:
Making connections between visual arts and other disciplines

[9-12 Proficient] Students compare the materials, technologies, media, and processes of the visual arts with those of other arts disciplines as they are used in creation and types of analysis
[9-12 Proficient] Students compare characteristics of visual arts within a particular historical period or style with ideas, issues, or themes in the humanities or sciences
[9-12 Advanced] Students synthesize the creative and analytical principles and techniques of the visual arts and selected other arts disciplines, the humanities, or the sciences

Joseph Cornell

American Art, Arts and Crafts Movement, Contemporary Art, Dadaism, Superrealism

Balance, Color/Value, Contrast, Emphasis, Form, Proportion/Size, Shape, Space, Texture, Unity/Harmony, Variety

Collage, Mixed Media, Sculpture

English/Language Arts, History/Social Studies