Lesson: Students will take inspiration from Kay Sekimachi and write a short essay on the cultures, celebrations, and traditions that represent them. They will then create a poster, slideshow, or video that illustrate the essay.
In an interview, Kay Sekimachi uses examples such as specific items of clothing and traditions kept by her mother to show how American and Japanese cultures were present in her childhood and inspired her artworks. Think about your own life. What cultural influences have shaped you?
In this lesson, you will take inspiration from Sekimachi and write a short essay on the cultures, celebrations, and traditions that represent you. You will then create a poster, slideshow, or video with pictures and drawings that illustrate your essay.
Common Core Standards (California)
Reading Literature (Grades 3–5)
RL.5.1: Quote accurately from a text when explaining what the text says explicitly and when drawing inferences from the text.
RL.5.6: Describe how a narrator’s or speaker’s point of view influences how events are described.
Writing (Grades 5–12)
W.3.1: Ask and answer questions to demonstrate understanding of a text, referring explicitly to the text as the basis for the answers.
W.3.4: With guidance and support from adults, produce writing in which the development and organization are appropriate to task and purpose.
W.3.7: Explain how specific aspects of a text’s illustrations contribute to what is conveyed by the words in a story (e.g., create mood, emphasize aspects of a character or setting).
W.4.1: Refer to details and examples in a text when explaining what the text says explicitly and when drawing inferences from the text.
W.4.7: Make connections between the text of a story or drama and a visual or oral presentation of the text, identifying where each version reflects specific descriptions and directions in the text.
W.4.4: Produce clear and coherent writing (including multiple-paragraph texts) in which the development and organization are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.
W.5.4: Produce clear and coherent writing (including multiple paragraph texts) in which the development and organization are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.
W.5.8: Recall relevant information from experiences or gather relevant information from print and digital sources; summarize or paraphrase information in notes and finished work and provide a list of sources.
W.6-12.3: Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, relevant descriptive details, and well-structured event sequences.
W.6-12.3.d: Use precise words and phrases, relevant descriptive details, and sensory language to capture the action and convey experiences and events.
Content Standards (California)
VA 2.3.3: Individually or collaboratively construct representations, diagrams, or maps of places that are part of everyday life.
VA 2.3.5: Identify, describe, and visually document places and/or objects of personal significance.
VA 2.3.7: Apply visual organizational strategies to design and produce a work of art, design, or media that clearly communicates information or ideas.
VA 2.3.8: Select, organize, and design images and words to make visually clear and compelling presentations.
Excerpts from Sekimachi’s interview (download PDF from sidebar above)
Slideshow presentation, Selected Artworks of Kay Sekimachi (download PDF from sidebar above)
Coloring markers / crayons
Various images (copies of family photographs, images from magazines, etc.) as needed
Computer and internet access
- Introduce Kay Sekimachi by reading her brief biography.
- Present: Read the excerpt from Kay Sekimachi’s interview, while displaying Selected Artworks of Kay Sekimachi.
- Reflect and brainstorm: Write a short reflective essay that addresses the following:
- Describe how Japanese culture was present in Sekimachi’s life and artwork. Use specific examples.
- Describe the culture you live in and practice by identifying your favorite foods, your family or community traditions or rituals, and holidays that you celebrate.
- Reflect on how your culture has shaped your own art or the way you express yourself. (Do you talk or dress a certain way because of your cultural influences? Do you listen to certain music or watch shows that relate to your culture?)
- Create: Based on your reflective essay, gather images, phrases, and other visuals to make a poster that represents your culture(s).
Extension for grades 8–12: Instead of a poster, you may create a slideshow or video that uses your reflective essay as a script.
- Present: Share your creation with your peers and explain how it connects with your reflective essay.
For more lesson plans based on Kay Sekimachi, visit this artist’s teacher packet.