Tuesday, May 1, 2012

2nd Grade Cubomania

I wanted to teach my 2nd graders about Surrealism but decided my Surrealism lesson from the past 2 years wasn't developmentally appropriate for them. While researching techniques the Surrealists used, I came across Cubomania. Cubomania is cutting a picture into squares and rearranging them to make a new, confusing picture. This makes sense since the Surrealists were interested in images that were confusing or startling, but if it was really used by THE Surrealists, I can't find any images. Either way, it was kind of interesting to try out.
 I had pulled a big stack of photos from Smithsonian and National Geographic magazines (gotta make sure those naked pictures are gone or deal with sneaky inappropriate giggles) for the students to choose from. After each student chose their image, they handed it to me and I chopped and trimmed with the paper cutter. The students chose a piece of construction paper in a contrasting or coordinating color. I showed the students how they could fold their paper to make dividing lines to cut along thinking it would be faster and easier than using rulers. Silly me thought this lesson could be completed in one 40-minute class period. We had to add a second since most students barely finished cutting by the end of the first. I had to demonstrate how to use a paper clip so their squares would stay with their construction paper until the next class.
In the next class the students were encouraged to try different compositions like arranging from dark to light, sorting by color, or making some sort of pattern, but as long as no two neighboring pieces from the original were put together, it was ok. 

The students could also had to make decisions about borders and space between their pieces. I think both ways look interesting. This was hard for a few students who liked the original picture so much that they didn't want to change it. I explained that the original belonged to another artist and for it to be their artwork, it had to change into something new.

I'm not good at conclusions. I've told you all I have to say and don't have the energy to "wrap it all up". So, I'll just go with "the end." :)


  1. Very interesting and thought provoking post. I think it is an excellent way to approach surrealism with primary students. I especially like your advice to the students about why they had to rearrange their squares to make the picture their own. Nice work!