Create Community Postcards: Elementary Art Activity
Conceptual Basis for Lesson:
Through the creation of a postcard, students will develop an appreciation for places in their community that have a special meaning to them. Students are a part of a community and should be aware of the meaningful/important places around them. This lesson can be tied to English as students create postcards and then write letters on the back of them.
Relation to the Series:
This part four in a series of articles on My Community. This lesson reiterates vocabulary and ideas learned in previous lessons (about drawing and community) as well as giving students an appreciation for a place in their community.
Postcards from various places and art done by artists depicting community scenes. Artists to include: VanGogh, Monet, Hopper and Burchfield.
8x5 index cards, with or without lines on one side, markers or colored pencils, pencils, stamp/stickers, ruler, stamp to represent postage mark
Materials depend on time available for lesson and age group. The teacher may want to prepare the writing side of the index card to look like a postcard before class if time is limited. If the postcard is to be mailed some materials, ie. sticker for stamp, are not necessary. (see photos section for sample postcard)
postcard: a card which comes in a variety of sizes with a picture on one side and writing on the other side to send a message through the mail
detail: small, less noticeable parts, particulars
postage: money paid in advance, usually in way of a stamp to send mail
Students will be given postcards to look at and the teacher will call on several students to describe the scene depicted. The teacher then shows works of artists and how they chose to depict community scenes. Some examples: Edward Hopper (Rout 6, Eastham or Nighthawks), Van Gogh (Cafe Terrace or Church at Auvers-sur-Oise), Charles Burchfield (Rainy Night 1930 or Autumn Twilight 1920).
After the motivation, students are then given instructions on what the project is about:
“Today we are all going to think about a place in our community that is important or special to us. We are then going to draw this picture and make it into a postcard. We’re going to pretend that a friend or relative has never seen this place or maybe you want to remember something that you did with this person at that place and draw that."
The teacher then shows a visual of an enlarged postcard and goes over the places where a stamp, address and letter belongs. She/he also talks about the marks that the post office stamps on them, and zipcodes. “I would also like you to include foreground, middleground and background in these postcards, like we learned in the last few classes.” The teacher can ensure that everyone remembers what foreground, middleground and background is by holding up artwork and calling on students to point out one of the three.
Student Learning Activity:
The teacher may brainstorm ideas with students to help them select a special place. Besides foreground/middleground/background the teacher may also want to talk about the compositions of their drawings and what details they can include. Students work on their postcards in pencil first. As the teacher checks with every student she/he asks them what place they have chosen to depict and offers suggestions. The teacher also checks to see that students are including foreground, middleground and background.
When they are done drawing their scenes, they write their letter to their friend/relative on the back including a brief description of their place. Depending on the age group, the teacher may need to have key words or phrases available to students on the board or in a handout.