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Searching for a few quality short term projects for elementary/middle.

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From: linda (lwoods_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Sun May 05 2002 - 06:28:53 PDT


I am a self professed queen of lengthy and involved, process oriented art
experiences for my students. THe more multilayered and complex it is, the
greater the possibilities for creative work to emerge from them. I also
view TIME as a gift we can give them to work through problems, try out
ideas that may/may not work. I tend to watch the barometer of who is
finished, and when about three fourths of them are very close to being
finished, then I put a lid on it and tell all that tutorial time will be
available the following week if they don't think they can finish. I stay
every day til 4 9r 5 anyway, so why not let kids come in and work
independently if they need to? It seems to work best for my enthusiasm as
a teacher, but also long term projects keep me more sane, in that I am not
CONSTANTLY doing the new prep work that new projects always take. I see
long projects, in general, as more fulfilling for students and myself, as
long as they are, as I said, multilayered and rich with possibility.

THat being said, I am also craving a few more one or two day projects that
have meat and merit. That kids won't perceive as busy work. That they
can have fun with and feel satisfied after they work them through. I have
a few great ones, like "chalk and mountains", which is a chalk and stencil
project. This can be done in one day and everyone leaves happy and with
something beautiful in their hands. It can also be an excellent color
theory project. Kids tear across the width of an 18x24 manilla
paper...jagged mountain shapes, with variation in height. THey do this
three or four times, so that they have a number of these torn 18 inch wide
shapes to stencil with. Chalk is applied heavily to the edge of a
stencil, the stencil is placed up high on a piece of 18x24 black paper,
spanning the width of the 18 inches. (you could also do the whole project
based on 24 inches.) WE use "Free-art" chalk..which i GORGEOUS. ANyway,
once the stencil is laid down atop the black paper, we use paper towels to
pull the color in long strokes down the length of the paper. Long,
sweeping strokes, repeated across the width of the paper. WHen you pick
it up, the top edge is colored pretty brightly and the lower parts are
softer. You color the edge of another stencil and lay it atop the black
paper, slightly lower than the first stencil was laid. You should be
overlapping color left behind by the first stencil. You keep doing this,
all the way down the page. At the bottom, you can, if you wish, use
smaller black chalk and black colored pencil to draw a silohuette of trees
and animals, houses, maybe at the bottom on a little piece of black land
that also spans the width of the page, but not STRAIGHT across...let the
land curve and bump a little, like the mountains, sort of. They are
BEAUTIFUL. Kids have learned some more about color, shapes have been
rendered in silhouette, and everyone goes home with a winner.

Now....I want to hear your short ideas. Especiallyl at this time of
year...some class will finish early with only a few days left...Let's help
each other out with those few days! (That can seem like an eternity!)

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