Symbolism isn't just used in literature. Visual art is also full of symbolism. I try to tie my art lesson about symbolism to social studies and U.S. history. I ask students to come up with a list of things that represent America: statue of liberty, the flag, Uncle Sam, the Liberty Bell, a bald eagle, etc. Then we dig a little deeper as to what those specific symbols mean. The flag alone is packed with meaning. I ask. why 50 stars and 13 stripes? Why red? Why white? Why blue?
Then we get personal. What if you were a country of one? What would your flag look like? What are your interests? What colors represent you and why? Most of my students who do this project are functioning at a very low level cognitively, but they still have preferences, whether it be pounding on something, or humming to a favorite song.
We used felt, glue, and puff paint to each make our own flag using personal symbols. My hope would be that each parent could come and pick out their child's flag without being told which one it was. Symbols help us find a hamburger or a hotel from the high way, use an app on our phone, understand a poem or song, and read a map. It's important for students to understand that colors and shapes have meaning in art and know how to read those too.