From Trash to Treasure

6, 7, 8

The learners will create a bridge between their personal reflections and a visual expression of their experience.

The focus will be on words and images that express the learner's emotional response to the service-learning experience and a reflection of their role as a responsible citizen.

PrintSix Forty-Five Minute Class Periods

The learner will:

  • scribe, analyze, interpret and judge artwork created by Jaune Quick-To-See Smith.
  • analyze how the condition of the planet affects the lives of humans.
  • create a mixed-media collage, including both words and images that reflect personal reactions to the service learning project.
  • create a reflective poem based on the "I Am" model.
  • Biography: Jaune Quick-to-See Smith found at (See Bibliographical References)
  • Visual examples from Jaune Quick-to-See Smith, including Rainbow, 1989, Homage to Chief Seattle, 1991, Trade (Gifts for Trading Land With White People), 1992. See Bibliographical References for Web sites.
  • Video: Power of One (see Bibliographical References)
  • Strong, supportive paper for base of the collage. (Cold press board works well)
  • A wide variety of papers, paints and materials to glue, draw, attach and incorporate into the collage. (i.e.: newspaper, magazines, metallic paint, puffy paint, wire, beads, raffia, nuts, bolts, etc.)
  • "I Am" poem found at – Portrait Poem #2 example (See Bibliographical References)
  • Learner copies of "I Am" Model (Handout One)
  • Creative Work Rubric (Handout Two)
Home Connection 

Interactive Parent / Learner Homework:Learners will ask for parent supervision if they choose to deface or destroy images by burning the edges at home.



"Saving the Earth," Scholastic Art, Art with a Message (April/May 1999): 10,11.

"Between Two Worlds," "Mixed Messages," "Cross-cultural References," Scholastic Art, Modern Native American Artists Working with Juxtaposition (March 2004): 2-9.


Kater, Peter. & Nakai, R.Carlos. How the West Was Lost. Audio CD. Silver Wave. ASIN: B000000PP7

Kelly, Rick. What Can I Do For You. Audio CD, Kelly Entertainment, Wayne, IL. [email protected] or Audio CD. ASIN: B0000459BR

Native Spirit, Nature’s Harmony, Life! Beats.

Nordeman, Nicole. Legacy, Woven and Spun. Audio CD. ASIN: B00006JJ34

Switchfoot. Dare to Move, The Beautiful Letdown. Audio CD. ASIN: B0000891YW


The Power of One, DVD. Warner Home Video, 1999. ASIN: 0790740850. 127 minutes


Delahunt, Michael. "Collage." Artlex Art Dictionary, 11 June 2004, (June 17, 2004) [no longer available] 

"I Am" poem found at – Portrait Poem #2 example (See Bibliographical References)

National Museum of Women in the Arts, biography of Jaune Quick-to-See Smith 

Rattlesnake Valley Press, "Artist Directory, Jaune Quick-to-See Smith" Art Museum, Missoula, Montana, 7 June 2004. (click on "Collection")



  1. Anticipatory Set:

    Review the importance of citizens recognizing their rights and responsibilities in a civil society based on Lesson One: The Truth and Lesson Two: Trash or Treasure? in this unit.

  2. Day One: Using Biography: Jaune Quick-to-See Smith (Handout One), give the learners an introduction to Jaune Quick-to-See-Smith.

  3. Display Rainbow by Jaune Quick-to-See Smith. Explain that the Art Criticism process is a method of organizing facts and personal responses to a particular work of art. The four steps of critiquing are: describing, analyzing, interpreting and making a judgment.

  4. Have learners take out a sheet of paper and fold it into four sections. Number and label each section as follows: 1. Describe, 2. Analyze, 3. Interpret, 4. Evaluate/ Judge.

    • Under the heading of Describe, have learners describe the subject matter of the artwork, listing all recognizable images. Beyond the subject, describe the design elements, i.e., color, line, shape, space, texture, value and form.
    • Under the heading of Analyze, have learners look at the artwork and describe the ways the design elements and principles are organized, i.e., balance, emphasis, proportion, pattern, rhythm, unity, variety.
    • Under the heading of Interpret, have learners write the ideas, emotions and feelings they get from looking at the work of art
    • Under the heading of Evaluate/ Judge, have learners write their opinion about the artwork: is it good or not? Learners will need to support their opinions with statements from their observations from the first three areas. The class will then share their ideas together through discussion.
  5. Read a quote from Chief Seattle, "For whatever happens to the plants and animals also happens to the humans." Discuss how the condition of the planet, i.e., the well-being of plant and animal life, affects the lives of humans, all life is interrelated and interconnected.

  6. Day Two Anticipatory Set: Show the learners the artworks entitled, Homage to Chief Seattle Trade (Gifts for Trading Land with White People). and

  7. Review the artwork and ideas from the previous lesson. Discuss the new artwork using the same procedure.

  8. Introduce the technique of collage. Teacher Note: The teacher may choose to make the collage as simple or developed as desire, materials and time permits.

  9. Write a list of learner-generated emotionally-charged, environmental words on the board, i.e., toxic, pollution, exploitation, waste, clean, recycle, reuse, conserve, etc.

  10. Ask the learners to make their own lists from which they will select a theme for their collage which will address their personal viewpoint developed from their knowledge and experience from Lessons One and Two. Some ideas for a theme are: write a pledge, promise or poem; write a message; make a personal statement; or use contrast words, i.e., waste/conserve, pollution/fresh air.

  11. Have the learners refine their themes and write them out to be copied into the collage or the letters/words cut out of newspaper or magazines and glued on.

  12. Learners should decide on a warm or cool color harmony that will help to reinforce the mood and emotion that their collage will express.

  13. Have the learners use wax crayons to draw images and symbols along a visual path of movement. Make sure that they press hard to leave enough wax for a watercolor resist.

  14. Use water color paint to "wash" or tint the entire paper. Remind the learners that their collage should express an emotional response from the viewer so select colors accordingly. Think of muddy browns, sea foam greens, golden fields of grain, etc. Use professional tube watercolors mixed with water to get more intense, saturated color. Dry flat. Teacher Note: Sprinkling salt over the wet painted paper or laying a piece of wax paper or plastic wrap over the juicy, wet water color-painted paper, and leaving it there until the paper is completely dry will add a wonderful textured effect.

  15. Direct the learners to begin looking around their homes for things that they want to include in their collage. Remind them that anything that is relevant to their theme, which is safe and school-appropriate and has the ability to attach onto the collage, is acceptable. Encourage creativity. They should also begin clipping words and images out of newspapers, magazines, etc., and save them in a zip lock plastic bag. Teacher Note: During studio time the teacher may choose to play Native American music which reinforces the ideas of the lesson. Suggestions: Dare to Move by Switchfoot, Legacy by Nicole Nordeman, What Can I Do For You, by Rick Kelly, or Native American Flute Music. ,,

  16. Day Three: Learners should bring to class words and images collected from home. They will also have one piece of trash that was saved from Lesson Two: Trash or Treasure?

  17. When the water color paint is completely dry, learners can begin to plan and organize their entire compositions.

  18. The learner should identify an area that will be the Center of Interest and draw or paint an original image related to the theme that they have chosen. Examples might include an image of a plant or animal, a disposable item such as a drawing of a soda pop can, milk carton, French fry box, etc.

  19. Lay out the images and words, refine the ideas and then glue images and words down.

  20. Day Four: Learners may use wire, beads, raffia, nuts, bolts, gel pens, material, wrapping paper, grocery bags, tissue paper, handmade paper, tempera paint, etc. to layer onto their collage.

  21. Be sure that the main words from the theme are readable, either by stamping letters or cutting out the letters from magazines or newspapers. They should be incorporated into the overall composition.

  22. Carefully spray paint a layer of paint over the entire collage to help unify it as the last step.

  23. Days Five and Six: Anticipatory Set: Read the poem from Sandy Maas entitled, "I Am".

  24. Distribute copies of the "I Am" model (Handout One) to the learners to follow as they write their personal reflective poems. They should follow the line-by-line guide and create a poem using ideas, words and images that they gained though the experiences of the entire unit.

  25. Share collages and personal poems with the class. The poems and artwork should be displayed. The collage and poem constitute the celebration aspect of the Service Learning Project.


The Studio Project entitled "From Trash to Treasure" will serve as the assessment for this unit. See Creative Work Rubric (Handout Two).

Philanthropy Framework

  1. Strand PHIL.II Philanthropy and Civil Society
    1. Standard PCS 01. Self, citizenship, and society
      1. Benchmark MS.4 Describe the characteristics of someone who helps others.
    2. Standard PCS 02. Diverse Cultures
      1. Benchmark MS.2 Describe the importance of hearing all voices in a community and respecting their right to be heard.
      2. Benchmark MS.3 Give an example of how philanthropy can transcend cultures.
  2. Strand PHIL.III Philanthropy and the Individual
    1. Standard PI 01. Reasons for Individual Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark MS.5 Describe the responsibility students have to act in the civil society sector to improve the common good.