Inside SFS

First Grade Anthropologists Explore Identity

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First Graders are finishing an interdisciplinary about identity, and what makes us who we are.

By Tiphani Russell, Kindergarten-Fourth Grade Art Teacher and Molly Treadway, First Grade Teacher

In Project Time, the First Graders have become anthropologists, studying something we already know a lot about: ourselves!  We opened our unit with the questions, “What makes us who we are?” and “What makes me, me and you, you?” 

We thought about how some of what makes us who we are is external. We explored our skin color, mixing shades of powders like cornmeal, cinnamon, and paprika to find a good match for ourselves. In Art class, we traced our hands and used the pigments layered with colored pencils to fill them in.

We explored our eyes by drawing our eye shape and creating mosaics of the colors in our irises. We chose hand and eyes to focus on because each hand and each eye color are unique to the individual.

We used many books to build our vocabulary, like Shades of People by Kelly Rotner, The Colors of Us by Karen Katz, and Shades of Black by Sandra Pinkney.  We also briefly explored the idea of ancestry, thinking about how we can inherit traits from our birth ancestors.  

Back in Art, we created clay self-portraits. We practiced important artistic skills like how to roll a slab, how to slip and score, and how to wedge the clay to get air bubbles out. This time, we used swatches of different glazes to find color matches, and then created the self-portraits using those glazes.

Finally, we thought about how some of what makes us who we are is internal, and can’t be seen right away. We did “inside/outside” brainstorms, thinking about things people can see by looking at us, and things they can only discover if they get to know us. We turned those brainstorms into written “Self Portraits,” in which students were encouraged to include ideas from both their inside and outside brainstorms, and to also write about their families, their passions and their hopes.  

Please stop by the First Grade exhibit next week and check out their wonderful work!


Posted February 26, 2019