Graduate Thesis

This thesis is a unit of study designed for fifth grade students in New York City. The unit is centered on the theme of environmental sustainability and includes contemporary artists who approach environmental advocacy and call attention to human relationships with the planet from differing cultural and historical perspectives, approached through various media. The culminating project involves students creating a collaborative book which celebrates nature in an urban environment, and the book is intended to be used as a tool for advocacy. The thesis covers the artist teacher’s positionality as well as a reflective statement about the curriculum design process.

I have incorporated my pedagogical ideas of culturally responsive teaching, constructivist theory, and nature-based learning into the theme of sustainability and have based the curriculum around contemporary artists working within the same framework. I have worked with ideas of sustainability and environmental activism throughout my practice as an artist and designer over the years, and I aim to now translate those practices into an elementary school visual arts curriculum.

Below is a project example. This was created as an example of what students would collaboratively make for this unit.

Gouache on paper, hand-bound accordion book