Outline of art exercise/lesson plan

art_exercise_1Introducing the Golden Rule

After providing a brief introduction to the concept of the Golden Rule, the teacher invites the students to read silently the Golden Rule texts from 13 religions that are featured on the Scarboro Missions Golden Rule Poster. Next, the students take turns reading aloud each of the 13 texts consecutively, allowing for a pause between each reading. The teacher then invites comments from or discussion among the students about what they have just experienced.The teacher invites the students to view the Golden Rule Poster (22 x 29 inches). As an alternative to viewing the large poster, the instructor could make the smaller version of the poster (8 x 10 inches) available to each student. The instructor next initiates a discussion about the visual, symbolic and design qualities of the poster by focusing on some of its features: circles, colors, lines, overall design, centrality of the globe. The teacher may find it helpful to consult the short article, Visual Impressions of the Golden Rule Poster, which contains comments by various individuals about the design of the poster.

The teacher invites the students to share about any connection they see between the message of the 13 Golden Rules and the design of the poster. (If the teacher does not have access to the Golden Rule Poster, he/she can simply eliminate the teaching content about the poster and move to the next section.)

Imagining a Golden Rule world

In this imagining exercise, the teacher invites the students to “Imagine what the world would be like if every person on the planet lived according to the Golden Rule.” To localize the focus for the students, the teacher may wish to rephrase the statement in the following way: “Imagine what our country (or “state” or “province” or “city” or “local neighborhood” or “school” or “home”) would be like if every person in it lived according to the Golden Rule.”

The teacher writes these words on the blackboard or chart paper. Alternatively, the words can be projected on a screen or Smart Board. The students may wish to close their eyes during this visioning experience. The length of the experience is left to the discretion of the teacher. To have the students feel more comfortable with the visioning experience, the teacher may wish to provide a background of reflective instrumental music.

After this experience, those students who so wish are invited to share verbally their vision of “a Golden Rule World”, that is to say, their vision of the global human family in which everyone lives according to the Golden Rule.

Depicting our global vision in artistic ways

The teacher then invites the students to actualize what they have just envisioned or imagined by creating a piece of art that depicts a world in which every person lives according to the Golden Rule.

art_exercise_2The students are invited to use whatever shapes, colors, symbols and lines they wish. They may choose from a variety of mediums and materials, for example, pen, pencil, crayon, chalk, oil, acrylic, fabric, paint or collage. If appropriate or possible, computers can be used. The size of the art paper is left to the discretion of the teacher.

If the teacher has taught this lesson before, he/she may want to share a few samples of the artwork done in previous classes. This may help some students get started. The teacher may wish to ask some students to discuss what ideas they have in mind for their artistic creation.

Displayed throughout this document are seven examples of artwork done by students who have participated in the Golden Rule art program at Scarboro Missions. These art pieces can be enlarged or downloaded free of charge.

Some students may wish to work individually creating a single piece of art; other students may wish to work in groups of two to four persons, creating one piece of art. Group work may be more effective with high school students than with elementary students. Working in a group will enable the students to apply the Golden Rule in their group process. A larger sheet of paper will be required to better facilitate the creativity and artwork produced by a group of students.

The students may choose to select one or more of the 13 Golden Rule writings to be placed somewhere on their artwork.

art_exercise_3Sharing our art

When the task is completed, individuals and groups present their art creations to the rest of the class or youth group. The presenters may consider one or more of the following questions to help them explain their artwork:

  • Why did you choose the colors you used?
  • If you focused on one particular Golden Rule, why did you choose it?
  • What is depicted in your artwork and what inspired you to focus your art around this idea?
  • If you worked with partners on this task, share some of your group’s experience of discussion and decision-making in your efforts to develop a vision and an artistic depiction of a world according to the Golden Rule.
  • How does your art creation answer the question: “What would the world be like if every person lived according to the Golden Rule?”

Following the presentations, the teacher encourages the students to share their thoughts and feelings about the art experience. Next, the students are invited to comment on their fellow students’ works of art that are now displayed throughout the classroom. For example, differences and commonalities among the art creations can be discussed.

The teacher initiates a class discussion by asking students to revisit the question: What would the world be like if everyone lived according to the Golden Rule?

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