Animating the Neighborhood

Download PDF
Entering the Image

STUDENTS ENTER into Romare Bearden’s The Dove and use the close-read strategy to begin to question notions of community. The act of observing specific details in a piece of art helps students develop vocabulary and the skills necessary to make inferences.

WE DISCOVER that even though students live in apartments, they don’t really know the meaning of the word “apartment.” The teaching team decides to introduce Ezra Jack Keats’ book, Apt. 3, as a way to frontload the skill of storyboarding. The teaching team contextualizes the shared artistic relationship between Keats and Bearden to point out that artists create in relation to each other.

Practicing observation

CHRISTOPHER IS IDENTIFYING that the fi gure in the image is not in proportion. “His hand is too big for him.” His observation prompts a conversation about the placement of unusual proportions in Romare Bearden’s
collage. This brings us into a discussion about how collage as a medium is different from painting or drawing. The teacher asks, “Why do we suppose that the artist did that?” The students wonder if the artist thought the bigger parts of the image were more important.


THE LARGER IMAGES WITHIN THE DOVE become the focus of a tableau (frozen image). Students recreate animals as they catch our attention in the collage. Giselle decides to become the cat. She demonstrates her ability to use inference by
stating “I’m hungry.” When Princess becomes the man standing at the stoop of the apartment building, she expresses disgust and says, “I’m tired of waiting for my wife down here on this busy street.”

Photo Essays