DRAFT: This module has unpublished changes.

"Personal Symbol Clay Tiles"

Grade 5

Longfellow Elementary, Columbia MD

DRAFT: This module has unpublished changes.
DRAFT: This module has unpublished changes.

5th Grade: Personal Symbol Tiles Unit Plan

Longfellow Elementary






Tile Checklist.pdf




  • Students will create ceramic relief tiles with personal symbols to represent themselves 
  • Using high and low relief techniques and emotional colors students will sculpt and paint their personal symbols


What does your personal symbol look like? How can you translate that symbol into a 3d sculpture?



  • What is a symbol? What is a personal symbol?
  • What imagery represents myself? How do I represent myself through the use of imagery?
  • If I were an animal I would be a
  • My favorite object I own is
  • Some of my hobbies are
  • My favorite place is
  • My favorite colors are
  • How would translate something into three dimensions?
  • What colors would you use to represent something happy? sad? an emotion



  • Student will express their identity through the designing of a personal symbol
  • Students will understand what a symbol is and what symbols represent themselves
  • Students will use visual imagery to create symbols for who they are and what they want others to see about them
  • Students will express their personality and their likes and hobbies through 3d visual representation
  • Students will understand the difference between high and low relief
  • Students will express themselves and their emotions through the colors they use to paint their personal symbol tiles


  • Students will learn the properties of clay and how to use the material to create their visual vocabulary
  • Students will create 3d representations of objects
  • Students will create relief sculptures using techniques in high and low relief
  • Students will paint a 3d surface


  • Students will be open to express their feeling and emotions
  • Students will open to experimenting and learning about new materials and techniques
  • Students will be constructive in their criticisms and willing to change or make their ideas better
  • Student’s works will be done to the best of their abilities and they will always be considering the craftsmanship of what they are creating

DRAFT: This module has unpublished changes.

Teaching Resources / Visuals

DRAFT: This module has unpublished changes.
User-uploaded Content

Personal Symbol Design Worksheet

DRAFT: This module has unpublished changes.


Students at this grade become concerned with their identity, how they are seen be themselves, their peers and anyone around them. Their personality is being established and they are becoming aware to it. Symbolic representation becomes coherent, they have an interest in classification and generalization. A process of decentering begins where they are establishing themselves, but establishing themselves among others and in comparison to others. Children are able to consider other’s point of view and compare it with their own. 

At this age one of the reasons for creating art becomes more about the materials and visual communication. Sometimes the skills of the child do not match their thought process. Student’s thought process move away from a concrete representation of symbols towards a desire to interpret and reproduce objects. Students are able to work cooperatively with peers, and can now fully control their behavior but become easily influenced by the behaviors of their peers. 

At this stage the artistic product becomes more important. Students have a love of humor and dramatization but also a level of uncertainty, in a transition from elementary to middle school, from childhood to adulthood. Children ages 9-11 are in Lowenfeld’s stage of drawing realism, where they are focusing on one perspective, their lines become more realistic, there is a diversity of plane, and cooperation in group work. 



  • Standard 1.0 Perceiving and Responding: Aesthetic Education: Students will demonstrate the ability to perceive, interpret, and respond to ideas, experiences, and the environment through visual art.
  • INDICATOR 3. Analyze the use of the elements of art and principles of design in order to plan and develop compositions that convey personal meaning
  • OBJECTIVE b. Select and use principles of design to create compositions that clarify ideas and feelings for the viewer
  • Standard 2.0 Historical, Cultural, and Social Context: Students will demonstrate an understanding of visual art as an essential aspect of history and human experience.
  • INDICATOR 4. Compare processes used to interpret and express ideas in the visual arts and other disciplines
  • OBJECTIVE c. Demonstrate how visual arts processes are used to interpret and express ideas in the visual arts and other content areas
  • Standard 3.0 Creative Expression and Production: Students will demonstrate the ability to organize knowledge and ideas for expression in the production of art.
  • INDICATOR 1. Create images and forms from observation, memory, and imagination and feelings
  • OBJECTIVE a. Experiment with media, processes, and techniques to convey specific thoughts and feelings
  • OBJECTIVE b. Manipulate art media, materials, and tools safely
  • OBJECTIVE c. Create artworks that explore the uses of the elements of art and selected principles of design, such as pattern, repetition, contrast, balance, variety, and harmony/unity to express personal meaning
  • Standard 4.0 Aesthetics and Criticism: Students will demonstrate the ability to make aesthetic judgments.
  • INDICATOR 1. Develop and apply criteria to analyze personally created artworks and the artworks of others
  • OBJECTIVE c. Use criteria recognized in exemplary models to support responses to personal artworks and the artworks of others
  • INDICATOR 2. Identify and apply criteria to evaluate personally created artworks and the artworks of others
  • OBJECTIVE a. Establish criteria for judging artworks by interpreting exemplary models
  • OBJECTIVE c. Apply predetermined criteria to assess personal artworks
  • Demonstrate the ability to analyze and evaluate the characteristics of artworks
  • Compare and contrast ways artist respond to life experiences in making their artworks
  • Identify, develop, and apply criteria for making judgements about personal works of art and the work of master artists.
  • Develop the ability to organize new and prior knowledge and ideas with tools and media for self-expression 
  • Visually or verbally record ideas, possible solutions, and experiences throughout the art making process
  • Use design concepts to make personal choices in the organization of meaningful compositions or forms
CONCEPTS based on the element of art:
  • Line - Line can be used to show surface detail, organize a composition
  • Shape - Shapes can be geometric or amorphous, varied in size to emphasize a center of interest, can be used to define positive or negative space
  • Color - Colors can be used for emphasis in a composition, can express mood and meaning, can be used to unify a composition
  • Texture - Texture can be used to create surface variety, can add detail to an object, can be used to separate sections of a composition, can be repeated to achieve unity
  • Space - space can be achieved through variation of size, shape, and placement
  • Form - Form can be seen from all sides, can exist in the round or in relief, be described in relation to parts of a whole, be additive or subtractive
INTERMEDIATE LEVEL (grades 4-5) Making Artistic Choices
  • “Emphasis for the learner at this instructional level is on creating meaning, making decisions, and aesthetic judgements. The child becomes an artist able to make choices about materials, processes and techniques, strengthening their problem solving ability. This young artist continues to expand his/her visual and verbal vocabulary through drawing from memory, using the narrative to tell stories, and observation. In preparation for middle school, the students develops representational skills and establishes criteria for self-evaluation.”
  • Use a variety of media to reflect personal decisions and experiences
  • Follow multi-step process to solve an art problem
  • Make choices during the art making process that are reflective and informed
  • Uses and combine art element to demonstrate knowledge of art principles
  • Practices applying criteria to make visual aesthetic judgements
  • Sculpture can be made using additive and subtractive techniques
  • Demonstrate art knowledge, personal choices, and planning to construct a complex three-dimensional work of art
  • Symbol: a thing that represents or stands for something; something usually an object or material used to represent something else, usually a an idea or something abstract like a person or an action
  • Imagery: visual symbolism
  • High / Raised Relief: when you build something on top of your tile, something that sticks out making that surface higher then the rest of your tile
  • Low/ Sunken Relief: your marks go into the tile making the surface lower then the rest of your tile
  • pencils
  • clay 
  • clay tools
  • tempra paint
  • personal symbol wks
  • checklist
  • prezi
  • ancient egyptian stone carvings, low relief
  • Michelangelo high relief works


DAY 1: Personal Symbol

  • Students will design a personal symbol to represent themselves

  • Students will create a clay tile to build their relief sculpture of their personal symbol on

  • How do I represent myself through the use of imagery?

  • introduction

  • design personal symbol

  • make clay tile

  • clean up and closure

DAY 2: Clay Relief Tile

  • Students will create their personal symbol as a relief sculpture out of clay

  • How do you use clay to portray your ideas?

  • review clay relief sculpture

  • clay demo

  • tile construction

  • clean up and closure


    fire tiles

DAY 3: Painting Tiles

  • Students will paint their fired clay tiles with colors representing themselves

  • What do the colors you are using say about yourself and your personal symbol?

  • review and completion of checklist

  • demo painting

  • paint tile

  • clean up and closure

DRAFT: This module has unpublished changes.