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Exploring Creativity as a Surrealist

Author: Yoshi Makino

Date created: 03/11/2015 11:23 PM EDT ; Date modified: 03/20/2015 12:04 PM EDT

Total Number of Students

7 Students total
2 male
5 female

Area(s) Students Live In


Free/Reduced Lunch


Ethnicity of Students

1 White
6 Latina

English Language Learners

6 are FEP

Students with Special Needs




Grade 9, Grade 10, Grade 11, Grade 12



Big Idea & Essential

The previous lesson was Experimenting with Creativity: Finding Ideas.

Students became more conscious of ways to get ideas and of their own
process of getting ideas. This lesson gives students the opportunities,
through various surrealistic activities, to experience creativity in a non
judgmental, experimental way. The lesson will culminate in students
creating an illustration of a dream or nightmare using surrealistic

Learning Outcome(s)

After several power point presentations on Surrealism, students will spend

several days doing surrealistic experimental art activities. Students will
answer questions orally and through writing to reflect on their experiences.
This lesson will culminate by students illustrating a dream/nightmare scape
in which they will incorporate a surrealist technique, and use color,
distortion or scale within their piece. They will assess their art piece
by writing a self assessment.



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CA- Visual and Performing Arts Content Standards for California

Public Schools (2013)

Subject: Visual Arts
Grade: Grades Nine Through Twelve Advanced
Content Standard: 2.0 CREATIVE EXPRESSION Creating,
Performing, and Participating in the Visual Arts Students apply artistic
processes and skills, using a variety of media to communicate
meaning and intent in original works of art.
Area: Skills, Processes, Materials, and Tools
Standard: 2.2 Plan and create works of art that reflect
complex ideas, such as distortion, color theory, arbitrary color,
scale, expressive content, and real versus virtual.



Formative assessment will be in the form of progress monitoring questions

throughout and after each activity.
Summative assessment will take place in the formal of a written self
reflection worksheet.



Instructional Materials &
Technology (handouts, etc.)

Power point presentation on: Surrealism, automatic drawing, surrealistic
collages, and Cy Twombly.
Khan Academy video on Salvador Dali's paintings, "Persistence of Memory,"
and Metamorphosis of Narcissus."

Dream/nightmare Scape Assignment and Reflection Sheet
10 Questions for developing Dream/nightmare Scape

Alter Ego drawings:


Smoke drawings:
smoked paper for every student
chalk pastels
calendar with photogrpahs
paper glue

Stick Drawings:
long sticks for each student
large paper
duct tape
soft pencil
ball point pen
paint brush
tempera paint
masking tape
Exquisite Corpse

Blind Drawings
paper bags
odd objects such as hand planer and grout scraper
drawing paper
Final Dream/nightmare Scape Illustration:

all above medium available to the students

Sequence of Activities

Hook: "We are going to experiment as Surrealists, which means we are

going to play around with Surrealist activities. We will be doing a series of
short investigations, which should be interesting and fun."
Transition:" Previously we experimented with getting ideas by going on
the scavenger hunt. Now we are going to try and find ways to use
Surrealist's interests in chance and the unconscious to make art."
Vocabulary words: tier 3 words: avant-garde, Surrealism, automatic
writing, tier 2 words: conscious, subconscious, and unconscious.
The teacher hands out vocabulary booklets. The students take
turns reading the definitions. The teacher explains the vocabulary as she
shows a power point on Surrealism. The students fill out the vocabulary
booklet as guided by the teacher.

The following exercises will be done over a five day period. The teacher will
show examples before each exercise.
Exquisite Corps: The students play Exquisite Corpse: Each student has a
piece of paper. They draw a hat and write an adjective. They fold the paper
over so that hat is hidden except for the line of the hat brim. They pass the
paper to the person sitting on their left. Without looking at the previous
drawing, they draw the face and neck and write a noun. Then they fold the
paper over so all is hidden except for the lines of the neck, and they pass
the paper to their left. Then without looking, they draw the torso and write
a verb and fold the paper over so that only the bottom line of the torso is
exposed. They pass the paper to their left Then without looking, they draw
legs and write an adjective and fold over the paper so only the bottom of
the legs are visible. Then they pass the paper to their left. Without looking
at the previous drawings, they draw the feet and write a noun. They pass
the paper to their left. Next each person opens up the drawing. They fill in
words to form a sentence or poem. The class shares the Exquisite Corps.
The teacher sets up the room so that there are various stations and
explains the activities. Students are told that this is really about
experimentation with techniques, chance and the unconscious as ways to
stimulate creativity. She shows examples of smoke drawings, alter egos,
automatic drawings and surrealistic collages.
Smoke Drawings: Each student is given a piece of paper, 18" x 24," that
has been smoked with a candle and has smoke markings. Students "see"
into the smoke and draw whatever they see using charcoal and erasers.
The students share experience with smoke drawing.
Alter Egos: Students use paint and string to make marks on a 7" X 12"
paper and fold it length wise so that a mirror image is created. When the
paper is dried, students draw an "alter ego" being out of the splotches
they created by using chalk pastels. Students share their experience with
making alter egos.

Stick Drawings: Students use 3'-4' long sticks and duct tape pens,
pencils, paint brushes on to them to use as a tool to draw and paint on
newsprint. Students are encouraged to use automatic drawing techniques.
The teacher gives the students new paper as needed. Students try different
tools. They draw for about 1/2 hour. Students draw 3-4
The teacher reviews the stick drawings, by asking the students to pick their
favorite drawing they did. Students show their drawing and explain how
they found the process of drawing with a stick. The teacher shows a power
point presentation of art work by Cy Twombly pointing out comparisons to
the students' stick drawings.
Blind Drawing: Students are each given a paper bag with an unknown
object inside. Students reach inside of the paper bag and feel the object.
They draw what they feel. They alternate between feeling the object and
drawing it. The students use pencil and paper. The students share their
blind drawing process with the class.
Surrealistic Collage: Students work together in this activity. Students are
each given calendar month with a not very interesting photograph.
Using magazines, they start making a Surrealist collage, each gluing one
image to the picture and then pass it to the next person. They continue
passing it around until all seven students have added something. Students
share their experiences making surrealistic collages together.
Final Assignment: The teacher has been asking students about their
dreams at the beginning of some of the classes to help prepare them for
the final assignment. She has asked such questions as: "What do you
dream in? Has anyone dreamt of flying? Has anyone had reoccurring
Students watch Khan Academy video commentary about Dali's painting:
The Persistence of Time (4 minutes) and Metamorphosis of Narcissus, (6.5
minutes.) The teacher asks the students questions regarding the videos.
Students get into pairs and each share a vivid dream or nightmare.
Students tell the class their partner's dream/nightmare. The teacher hands
out the a paper describing the assignment's criteria. Students take turns
reading the criteria. The teacher asks questions regarding the assignment.
Students are given a work sheet and they answer, by writing, 10 questions
to help them develop their "dream/nightmare scape" illustration.
The student make at least four thumbnail sketches of their dream
illustration. The students get into pairs and share their ideas with their
partners. The students work on sketches and then review them with
another partner. The teacher circulates the room during this activity,
progress monitoring the work, deciding if students need additional
feedback with other partners. Students draw a final sketch of their
illustration. Students work on their final piece which is based off of their
final sketch.
Final Critique: Students critique each other's work, using the vocabulary
words. Students fill out a final self reflection assessment.

Differentiated Instruction

Six of the seven students' first language is Spanish. Even though they are
FEP, many struggle with academic language and need scaffolding. The
teacher will differentiate for the class as a whole by giving them
additional support regarding vocabulary. She will give students a vocabulary

"booklet," which has the tier 2 and tier 3 words for this lesson. The teacher
will go over the vocabulary words with the students. Students will fill out
the booklet. The students must use a vocabulary word in their critique of
their classmates' art. Students can reference their vocabulary booklet
during the critique.

Prior to Lesson

It's hard to gauge how long students will need for each exercise.