Tuesday, October 25, 2011

"surreal dreamscapes" art lesson plan

Title: Surreal Dreamscapes
Topic: Surrealism, understanding concepts in “scapes”, collage, Salvador Dali
  • Students will identify three characteristics of artworks produced by Salvador Dali during the assessment of the lesson.
  • Students will demonstrate the concepts of perspective and complex/organic shapes by including these in their studio art project.
  • Students will identify the characteristics of surreal artists.
  • Students will produce collage with a variety of recycled paper materials.
STRAND V: Historical and Cultural Contexts (HC)
1. Compare and contrast artworks from different historical time periods and/or cultures
A. High School Level I
Identify works from the Surrealist art movement.
STRAND II: Elements and Principles (EP)
1. Select and use elements of art for their effect in communicating ideas through artwork
B. Shapes: High School Level I
·      Differentiate between and use geometric and organic (freeform) shapes
STRAND II: Elements and Principles (EP)
1. Select and use elements of art for their effect in communicating ideas through artwork
G. Space: High School Level I
·        Identify and use positive and negative space in two-dimensional work
·      Identify and use perspective techniques to create the illusion of space (one-point linear perspective, overlapping, and change of size, detail, placement, value contrast)
Grade: 9th – 12th
Length of Class Period: 55 minutes
Frequency of Class Period: five days a week
Time Needed: six class periods
Facility & Equipment Requirements:
  • One computer lap top
  • Room with good lighting
  • Large tables, approximately ten, each seating four students
  • Two sinks
  • Dry erase board
  • Drying racks
  • Cabinets for storage
  • Projector for viewing computer video, CDs and DVDs
Resources Needed:
  • Power point about Surrealist artists and the Dada movement.
  • Power point about a variety of different perspective types
  • Slide show depicting a variety of collaged dreamscapes
Materials Per Student:
  • A variety of magazines
  • Scissors
  • White all-purpose glue and Mod Podge (matte)
  • A piece of paper or scrap tag board
Vocabulary/Terminology: all definitions originate from dictionary.com
  1. Surrealism - a movement in art and literature in the 1920s, which developed esp from dada, characterized by the evocative juxtaposition of incongruous images in order to include unconscious and dream elements.
  2. Decoupage – the art or technique of decorating something with cut-outs of paper, linoleum, plastic, or other flat material over which varnish or lacquer is applied.
  3. Collage- a technique of composing a work of art by pasting on a single surface various materials not normally associated with one another, as newspaper clippings, parts of photographs, theater tickets, and fragments of an envelope.
  4. Dada - a nihilistic artistic movement of the early 20th century in W Europe and the US, founded on principles of irrationality, incongruity, and irreverence towards accepted aesthetic criteria   [C20: from French, from a children's word for hobbyhorse, the name being arbitrarily chosen]
  5. Subconscious - the totality of mental processes of which the individual is not aware; unreportable mental activities.
  6. Dreamscape - a dreamlike, often surrealistic scene.
Motivation- Looking and Talking Activity: Students will read and discuss an article describing an anonymous person’s dream account in a small group. Each member of the small group will verbally participate but only one member needs to write out their answers to the following questions during small group discussions.
  • List any symbolic content of the dream that might be represented in a surreal dreamscape.
  • What were your general impressions of the dream?
  • What kinds of worries or obsessions do you think the person who had this dream might have been having?
  • Were there any particularly odd events or ideas that seemed to be consistently present within the dream?
Students will then choose one person from their small group to present their findings to the larger class after their small group has completed the questions.
Step-by-Step Studio Activity Specifics:
  1. I will present the lesson first by showing a Power Point about Surrealists and the Dada movement.
  2. Students will participate in the discussions about dreams in their small groups after each small group reads the sample dream and answers the questions that are included with the worksheet.
  3. The appointed members of the small groups will share their written responses to the larger class.
  4. I will show the Power Point about dreamscape collages.
  5. I will demonstrate application techniques used in paper collage.
  6. A brief Power Point about perspective will be viewed prior to the distribution of magazines, glue and paper for the studio project.
  7. Students will be given the remainder of the week to complete their collage art assignment.
Health & Safety Concerns: There are no health and safety concerns for this project.
Special Needs Adaptations:
Modifications for the hard-of-hearing or deaf student:
  • Student will be seated closer to instructor so they will be better equipped to hear instructions or read lips
  • Student will be provided with written instructions so that they read about the discussions and demonstrations
  • The instructor may use a amplification devise provided by the school or student’s parents
Cleanup Time & Strategy: Students will be instructed to put away art materials neatly in their containers, clean off their tables, and recycle their trash two minutes prior to dismissal.
Assessment: A formal assessment/grading rubric sheet is included along with this lesson plan in the student teacher’s binder.
My first teacher's sample of a dreamscape.
For this collage theme, I suggested students
think of a bad dreams, perhaps a dream about phobias.
This poor fellow is afraid of everything outdoors.
This is my second "dreamscape" example.
For this piece, I tried to think of what is was
like to feel trapped in a maze underground.
My third teacher's sample of a collaged "dreamscape"
I think reflects the kind of dream that I often have;
a dream about wandering through collections,
or libraries, college campuses, or museums. (duh?)
All photos and lesson plans copyrighted by Grimm 2011


  1. I just want to introduce Studio Helper. It help manage your staff and students in a smoother and easier way. It helps manage and track of their performance. Give it a try today! You're free to play around with it as much as you like during your free trial. www.studiohelper.com

  2. Is there any chance you have the power points published or can forward me the main points? Jessica.chapman@smsu.edu. I really like this lesson and would definitely give you full credit for using it in my classroom.

  3. I'm sorry, but I do not have a power point on hand for this lesson anymore. Try searching wikipedia for free Salvador Dali images. Good luck!