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Surfside Citizens

This lesson introduced collage to create people for our city. We discussed what it means to be a citizen. What IS a citizen? What do citizens do? Where do citizens go? Several of my classes at PS329 had previously discussed what it means to be a good citizen in their classroom community, so it was an easy transition into a discussion about a citizen in a larger community, such as a city.

This is also a great lesson to introduce and discuss collages by Romare Bearden. At the beginning of this unit when students were getting ready to make their buildings for the city,  they looked carefully at The Block, by Bearden. Here we can concentrate on more of his work by looking at his collaged people, such as the example below.


Pittsburgh Memory, 1964

Romare Bearden, Pittsburgh Memory, 1964


Before this lesson began, I prepared materials by cutting out parts of bodies from magazines. I organized these pieces by heads/faces, bodies/arms/hands, and legs/feet. There was a box for each section, and students were able to choose pieces to mix and match for their citizen. Of course with older students, or with students very skilled at using scissors, this could be skipped and they could cut out their own body parts.


surfsidecity_citizen08 surfsidecity_citizen07 surfsidecity_citizen06 surfsidecity_citizen05 surfsidecity_citizen02 surfsidecity_citizen01  sursidecity_citizen03 surfsidecity_citizen09



This went by too quickly for some classes, even with our introductory discussion. As an extension for this lesson, I also had prepared some parts from animals (a dog’s head, for example) so that students could make their citizen walking a pet.


SC_citizenpet01 SC_citizenpet02 SC_citizenpet03 SC_citizenpet04 SC_citizenpet05 SC_citizenpet06 SC_citizenpet07 SC_citizenpet08



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