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Grade: 4

Big Idea: Dreams and


Cindy Chenh, Mariana

Escobar, Jessica Williams,
Tezerash Eibensteiner

21st-century Art Approach: Choice-based and Learner directed; Modified

Lesson Overview

Teachers will introduce students to and facilitate discussion over artwork containing symbolism
and visual metaphor and what these symbols and metaphors could reveal about the artists

Students will then collaboratively come up with examples of symbols and metaphors to
strengthen their knowledge of the new vocabulary; they will apply this knowledge of literacy
and health to create an artwork based on an important dream or nightmare of theirs and how
it has/had affected his/her own health.
Essential Questions

1. In what ways do dreams/nightmares affect art-making?

2. How can real life and dreams relate to one another?
3. In what ways are dreams/nightmares personally impactful?

Content Areas (TSW be able to)

Literacy: understand symbols, metaphors.

Visual Art: create an artwork about an important dream/nightmare that

they have had.

Science: understand the effects that dreams/nightmares have on ones

Assessment Strategy

Students will fill out a form at the end of class circling ether symbol or metaphor indicating which they used in
their artwork. Students will also include written responses to questions asking what the symbol/metaphor literally
is, what it means.

In the form that students will fill out at the end of class, they will also include how the student has illustrated the dream/
nightmares effect on their health and what that effect is.
Definitions (Part 1)

Dreams Nightmares
Mental experiences during REM Unpleasant mental experiences
sleep during REM sleep (a.k.a. bad

Dreams are important for our health in a number of ways

Health: The overall condition of body or mind and the presence or absence of
illness or injury (Insel, p. 2)

Why do we dream? How are dreams and nightmares important to our health?
TedEd - Amy Adkins: https://www.youtube.com/watch?
Reasons We Dream

1) To fulfill our wishes. Dreams contain symbolic meaning that relate to fulfillment (Freud).
2) To remember. Certain memory processes only happen when we sleep.
3) To forget. The brain gets rid of unnecessary neural connections (memories) that could
otherwise turn into parasitic (intrusive) thoughts that disrupt wakeful thinking.
4) Keep our brains working. Continual Activation Theory: consolidate neural connections to
create long-term memories leading to thoughts & feelings
5) Heal. Stress neurotransmitters are less active in sleep, making it easier for the brain to healthily
process traumatic events with greater clarity.
6) Solve Problems. Committee of Sleep & the Benzene molecule; mind creates limitless scenarios
to address problems and formulate solutions you may not consider while awake (because you have
decreased inhibitions during sleep).
Definitions (Part 2)

Dreams contain symbolic meaning (Freud).

What is a symbol?
Something that represents something else (concerning representation)
represents a heart life love (for video games)
What is a simile?
An attribute of something likened to something else in a like/as statement/situation (concerning
What is a metaphor?
Figure of speech. A simile presented as an is/am statement/situation.
She is as(concerning comparison ; non-
fast as a cheetah.

She is a cheetah.
(But she is not really a cheetah.)
Example Artists

directed by Masami Hata and William Hurtz

Production Company: Tokyo Movie Shinsha

Dream: 2:46-7:50 Reality:
Dream Interpretation: Trains

by Craig Hamilton-Parker, Sept. 16, 2014 via dreamsleep.net

"This dream may show that you want to control your life and take it in a set direction," like how a train travels
on a set direction of tracks. Nemo cannot control his sleepwalking yet still gets into trouble for it. Conclusion:
The train is a symbol of Nemo's desire to control his sleepwalking.
"Alternatively, it may show that you are frustrated by the routines of your life," such as Nemo's routine of
sleepwalking each night to eat pie. Trains relate to routines because they travel on a routine schedule
through a routine route of tracks.
Additional interpretations:
The loudness of the train could symbolize the mother's loud yelling, which affects Nemo's emotional
health with fear and his physical health by quickening his heart rate, causing a fight-or-flight response
(where Nemo runs away to his room).

Pie is making the problem worse!

Biologically, *research has found that people who eat sugary foods late in the day/night report more
frequent bizarre or unpleasant dreams than people who dont.

*Nielsen, Tore & Powell, A. Russel. (2015). Dreams of the Rarebit Fiend: food and diet as instigators of bizarre
and disturbing dreams. US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health, 6. Retrieved from: https://

scissors, liquid glue/glue stick, white 1) Make an artwork about an important dream or nightmare you
paper, pencils, crayons, watercolor
have had.
and tempera paints, brushes,
watercolor and acrylic markers, 2) Visually describe the dream/nightmare's effects on your
colored pencils, pens, erasers, cloud
clay, rulers, glueable bobbles, water health (emotional, physical, etc.).
cups, paper towels, cotton balls,
3) Include at least one symbol or visual metaphor. (Make sure
glitter glue, hole puncher, yarn,
colored construction paper you'll be able to identify it as either a symbol or metaphor and
explain it.)

Extra Credit Opportunity (Earn a stricker!) :

Make up your own symbol or visual metaphor that we have not
discussed in class. Remember, you must be able to identify and
explain it!