How was Your Day? Creating Mixed Media Designs

By Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum, October 2, 2006

Grade Level

  • PreK-1


  • Other

Subject Area

  • Arts
  • Language Arts
  • Social Studies

Lesson Time

One or two fifty-minute class periods


In this activity students will have an opportunity to learn about the daily life, history, and beliefs of different countries. They will express their understanding by designing a mixed-media composition.

National Standards

Standard 7.  Understands selected attributes and historical developments of societies in Africa, the Americas, Asia, and Europe
Benchmark 3. Understands the daily life, history, and beliefs of a country as reflected in dance, music, or the other art forms (such as paintings, sculptures, and masks)
 Language Arts 
Standard 8. Uses listening and speaking strategies for different purposes
  • Makes contributions in class and group discussions (e.g., reports on ideas and personal knowledge about a topic, initiates conversations, connects ideas and experiences with those of others)
  • Asks and responds to questions (e.g., about the meaning of a story, about the meaning of words or ideas) 
Visual Arts 
Artistic Expression & Communication Standard 2. Knows how to use structures (e.g., sensory qualities, organizational principles, expressive features) and functions of art
  • Uses visual structures and functions of art to communicate ideas
Standard 4. Understands the visual arts in relation to history and cultures
  • Know that art exists from a variety of places and periods of time
  • Knows that artwork is present in stories as illustrations 
Working With Others
Standard 1. Contributes to the overall effort of a group


Students will do the following:

  • learn about the ways art can tell a story that reflects culture and history
  • explore everyday life experiences in varied countries
  • design a mixed media composition
  • create a class presentation


  • computer with Internet access
  • "How Was Your Day?" handout


  • drawing paper
  • markers, crayons, paint
  • glue
  • photographs
  • magazines
  • assorted art supply materials that can be used in mixed media compositions (string, twigs, pipe cleaners, etc.)


Building Background

1. Introduce the work of artist Jacob Lawrence to your students. Explain to the class that Lawrence created art to tell the story of African Americans who left the American South in the early 1900s to look for a better life in the industrial cities of the North.

Share images of Lawrence's paintings called The Great Migration from the website at .

2. Ask the students to brainstorm examples of how stories are told about people's daily life through music, art, and dance. Ask the students to think of examples of music, art, and dance that tell a story. Record students' ideas and post the list to use as a shared resource throughout the remainder of the activities. 

Steps for Learning
Daily Life Activities 

The purpose of this activity is to help students explore daily life in varied countries, and create a mixed-media design based on what they learn.

Teacher Note: You can modify this lesson to meet your specific classroom needs. For younger students, you may wish to complete this as a whole-class activity. Older students may be able to work in small groups effectively.

1. Divide the class into small groups. You may wish to select a country for students to research, you may wish to allow the students to choose a country to research, or you may use the resources listed below that focus on the United States.

2. Ask the students to find five pictures of daily life in a country. Have them use magazines, photographs from home, or web images. To find images of the United States, have your students visit the following website that contains a variety of helpful links:

3. After the students have collected their images, tell them that they are going to create a mixed-media design. Give students the "How Was Your Day?" handout. Complete the worksheet as a class, as this will give you an opportunity to teach students the steps of the design process.

4. Provide time for the students to share their designs with their classmates. If possible, post them for others in the school and community to view.


Create a class rubric with your students that will help them understand the effectiveness of their design process. Use the following guidelines to help create the rubric.


-How well did you brainstorm ideas?
Excellent             Good            Adequate            Poor

-How well did you plan your ideas?
Excellent             Good            Adequate            Poor

-Rate the quality of your design.
Excellent             Good            Adequate            Poor

-Rate your creativity.
Excellent             Good            Adequate             Poor

Enrichment Extension Activities

Arts Exploration
Ask your students to create a sculpture, dance or a song that reflects daily life in the country they researched.

Leave a reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.