Student created art piece.

Student created art piece.

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Project Name: Lord of the Flies: Humanity, Art, and Symbolism

Facilitator Name: Kendra McPheeters

Grade: 10th 

Subject(s): English

Course Name: English 10

Project Description & Content Topics Addressed: In “Lord of the Flies: Humanity, Art, and Symbolism”, students will learn about humanity, censorship, found art, and the role of symbols in literature as they read “The Lord of the Flies” by William Golding. To show their learning, students will craft a found art piece–using only resources readily available to them like the boys on the island–to represent symbols that Golding embedded in his work that show the author’s views on humanity. Students will also individually craft an artist statement that analyzes their symbol and walks viewers through the intricacies of their piece and its significance.

A: Learning Goals: Content Knowledge & Skills Addressed (Standards)

  • 9-10.RL.2.1: Cite strong and thorough textual evidence to support analysis of what a text says explicitly as well as inferences and interpretations drawn from the text.

  • 9-10.RL.4.1: Analyze multiple interpretations of a story, play, or poem, evaluating how each version interprets the source text.

  • 9-10.RL.4.2: Analyze and evaluate how works of literary or cultural significance (American, English, or world) draw on themes, patterns of events, or character types from myths, traditional stories, or religious works, including describing how the material is rendered new.

  • 9-10.RV.3.1: Analyze the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in works of literature, including figurative and connotative meanings; analyze the impact of specific word choices on meaning and tone, including words with multiple meanings.

  • 9-10.W.3.1: Write arguments in a variety of forms that –

    • Introduce precise claim(s), distinguish the claim(s) from alternate or opposing claims, and create an organization that establishes clear relationships among claim(s), counterclaims, reasons, and evidence.

    • Develop claim(s) and counterclaims fairly, supplying evidence for each while pointing out the strengths and limitations of both in a manner that anticipates the audience’s knowledge level and concerns.

    • Use effective transitions to link the major sections of the text, create cohesion, and clarify the relationships between claim(s) and reasons, between reasons and evidence, and between claim(s) and counterclaims.

    • Establish and maintain a consistent style and tone appropriate to purpose and audience.

    • Provide a concluding statement or section that follows from and supports the argument presented.

B. Driving Question: How can we show the power of symbolism in challenged literature through art?

C. Entry Event: For the entry event, students will both read the attached letter and will analyze the attached art piece to introduce themselves to symbolism in an easier to dissect medium–visual art. The link below is the entry document, and below it is the visual piece for analysis.

Lord of the Flies-Entry Event Letter

Visual Piece for Analysis

D. Benchmarks & Scaffolding: Lord of the Flies-Benchmarks & Scaffolding

E. End Products:  Students will produce found art pieces that give a visual representation of the symbols William Golding utilizes in “The Lord of the Flies” along with individual artist statements that analyze the symbol within the work, their representation of said symbol, and what viewers should be able to take away from the experience of viewing it.

 Lord of the Flies-End Products

F. Rubric: Lord of the Flies-Rubric 

G. Community Partnerships: For the purposes of this project, we partnered with our own Media Center to bring awareness to banned books. Our Media Center specialist spoke with students about book banning and its impact on students and helped create the display for the art works.

Authenticity & Relevance (Real-World Connections, Applied Learning, Active Exploration): In “Lord of the Flies: Humanity, Art, and Symbolism” we are bringing awareness to the censorship of literature by creating art pieces that represent symbols within William Golding’s “Lord of the Flies”. These will be displayed in the school and around town in order to bring community awareness to this, as well. This is relevant to students because adult voices tell them which pieces of literature are and are not appropriate for the classroom, many times discounting the students’ own opinions on the works and how they have benefited the students.

Inquiry: Students are able to demonstrate creative solutions to the problem by considering what unique supplies they can bring to the group to create artwork that is meaningful to their experiences and represents one or more symbols in Golding’s novel. Art pieces in the past have ranged from welded metal pieces to 2D collage art to an island “fire” brought to life by incorporating a box fan into its base.

Student Voice & Choice: Students have voice and choice in their careful choosing of group members, in deciding which symbol(s) they would like to represent from the novel, in the materials and creation of their piece of found art, and in the location/style in which their pieces are displayed.

Employability (21st Century) Skills Addressed: This project assessed not only the content knowledge of showing mastery of understanding symbolism and being able to analyze text, but also creating a well-written argument, collaboration with peers, communicating orally and in writing, and developing work ethic.

Required Materials and/or Tools: In order to complete this project, students needed access to a copy of The Lord of the Flies, either in print or digitally; writing utensils and sticky notes for annotations during the reading; basic supplemental art supplies that I provided such as glue and tape; and access to Google Drive for collaborative work done outside of class.

Example of Student Work

The piece provided here was created by two sophomores with an interest in blacksmithing. They used scrap metal, scrap wood, rope, wire, a conch shell from an old vacation, a marble, hot glue, glass fragments, sand from a younger sibling’s sandbox, the top of a Christmas ornament, and hot glue in order to craft a piece that contains multiple symbols within “The Lord of the Flies”.

While I no longer have their artist statements, I can express that they wanted to represent the symbols of the conch, Piggy’s glasses, and the “Lord of the Flies”. By having the fly figure above the rest of the piece, the students wanted to show that the message given by the pig skull about humanity overshadowed the order (the conch) that the boys initially sought to create. The fly is shaped into a pointed structure which looks skull-like to also make it look like the pig skull. The conch represents civilized society, caught between the Lord of the Flies speaking the ills of human nature and Piggy’s broken glasses, which represent the loss of intellect and reason.

Comments: Students who have completed this project with me have enjoyed the interdisciplinary nature of the project as well as the amount of creative freedom they are given in their products. Students also feel that giving the novel a specific purpose in our reading helped them to stay engaged and focused in their work, even with the elevated vocabulary and dense historical context.