8.5  Lesson Four – Golden Rule art exercise


Time required: 70 minutes
Materials required: art utensils, art paper, Scarboro Missions Golden Rule Poster (large and/or small size)

Teacher instructions:

The teacher invites the students to take turns reading aloud each of the 13 Golden Rules (from the Scarboro Missions Golden Rule Poster) in a slow, clear and consecutive fashion, allowing for a pause between each reading. The teacher then encourages discussion among the students in terms of what they have just heard.

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 may make the smaller version of the Poster (8 x 10 inches) available to each student. The teacher next initiates a discussion about the visual nature of the poster by focusing on some of the following features: circles, colors, lines, overall design, the centrality of the globe.

The teacher invites the students to reflect on and share about any connection they see between the message of the 13 Golden Rules and the design of the poster.

Next, 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 the words of this “imagining” directive (featured here in italicized lettering) on the blackboard or chart paper. The students may wish to close their eyes during this visioning experience. The length of this experience is left to the discretion of the teacher.

After this experience, those students, who so wish, are invited to verbally share their vision of a Golden Rule world, their vision of the global human family grounded in the Golden Rule.

Next, the teacher invites the students to actualize what they have just visioned or imagined by creating a work of art that depicts a world in which every person lives according to the Golden Rule.

The students may use whatever shapes, colors 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, computer graphics may also 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. As a further encouragement, the teacher may 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.

The teacher may find it helpful to have some students create individual pieces of art and to have others work in groups of three or four to create a communal piece of art. Group work will require a larger sheet of paper, for example, chart paper. The students can choose to inscribe one or more of the 13 Golden Rule writings somewhere on their artwork, but this is merely an option.

Once ample time has been allowed to complete the task, individuals and groups present their art creation to the entire class. The presenters might 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 the group’s discussion concerning its vision of a world according to the Golden Rule. How did your group decide to make the design that you made?
  • 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 the various works of art that are now displayed throughout the classroom. Discussion could focus on the differences and commonalities among the art creations.

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?

The posters that have been created can remain displayed for a few weeks. They can also be displayed in the school lobby, school library, community library or local community centre.

The teacher or school may wish to sponsor a class-wide, school-wide, board-wide or even community-wide art contest using the above lesson plan as a basis.

Journal activity: Let’s write about it!

For journal questions to stimulate the students’ written reflections after or during class, see Appendix 6.

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