wolf image

Overview: Our Fourth Graders worked with their art and music teachers to apply their imaginations in a project that came together using the Explain Everything app on the iPad. They also reflected in their language homeroom classes, writing about their thinking as they created their multimedia project.

Here is a short video reviewing the teaching and learning for the “Imagine This” unit of inquiry. It includes a sample screencast by one of the students.

Process: The art and music teacher wrote up overviews of their lessons. Here they are.

Art: Laura Evangelista

The students learned how composition (the placement of objects within a space), shapes, colors, and lines communicate messages to the viewer. We first focused on how people associate specific body movements when they hear a particular sound. Students were instructed to stand up around the large table in the Art room. They were told to remain quiet, and when I told them a specific sound, they were to mime and act out the sound for 30 seconds. They responded to the sound of popcorn popping, a sizzling steak, a heavy metal band, and thunder. The students were then asked what they saw among their classmates when the students acted out sounds. Were the classmates’ bodies in jagged motions? Were the bodies close together? Far apart? They were then given a worksheet listing nine different sounds, and using only a pencil; they needed to come up with compositions that would visually communicate each sound.

After we understood how composition plays an essential role in communicating messages to the viewer, the students inquired into the color wheel and began analyzing color combinations. We spoke about how the primary colors are solid and robust while connecting them to the world and where we see those colors. We spoke about the secondary and tertiary colors and then went into color combinations. We reviewed paintings with complementary, analogous, and monochromatic colors and spoke about how different color combinations communicate different sounds. Students took notes in their sketchbooks.

Finally, lines! I asked them questions about particular sounds and had them draw in their sketchbook the types of lines that came to mind when they heard their sound. Next, they applied lines to their worksheet to show the sound’s type, pitch, and volume in the correct color. They then colored in their worksheet with the type of color combinations for each sound so they could focus on how colors play a significant role in communicating messages to the viewer.

Music: Mireille Nasr

The launch of this unit in music class started by sharing with the students’ examples of music that illustrate how imagination motivates and drives us to break conventions and surpass reality to promote growth and advancement. Students listened to several excerpts of different genres and styles of music. Then they described their feelings while listening and trying to guess the message the composers hoped to convey through their compositions. Students also described the mood, tempo, dynamics, instruments used in the composition, and their respective timbre.

The student analyzed several artworks from different styles and historical periods. They discussed the colors used, the subject(s) of the painting, the style as well as the message the artist tried to convey through the painting. The students then worked to match paintings and musical excerpts and justify their choices.

They also learned about timbre while acquiring the vocabulary they needed to describe the nature of sound as bright, dark, resonant, rounded, complete, thin, reedy, choppy, harsh, etc. descriptors.

The next step was to have each student identify an idea they would like to express in music and artwork. Each student used various digital media to express their idea in music:


-Digital Keyboards

-Various musical instruments

-Sound-making objects

The students created multiple tracks in GarageBand Students mixing and editing the different timbre of sounds. They learned to fade in and out, finding the correct pattern of sounds, frequencies, and vibrations to communicate their idea.

Image Source: Finn