I use real glass mirrors at all levels. Over the years I've scrounged 1/4 inch plate glass mirror from a few sites (I'm a notorious dumpster diver). I have a friend who's a glass man, and he cuts them down into 8 x 10 pieces and grinds the edges. I have something like 30 individual mirrors. They sit at an angle on the table in a groovy piece of 2 x 6 wood. The wood has a groove cut in it that holds the edge of the glass very safely. Some of the groovy wood blocks actually have two grooves, so two mirrors can sit in one block. That's a good set up for across the table pairs of students.
I use the glass mirrors frequently. At the very least they're out once every couple of weeks. Generally for the young grades (1-3) I pass out and collect the mirrors. Older ones can do this task themselves. In 8 years I've never had any incidents of concern and haven't had even one mirror break. Of course all my students have seen and heard the mirror lecture, about how if one of the mirrors breaks because someone was fooling around with it, then that someone is going to have 7 years of really bad luck (growl and sneer). Sometimes I also tell them that I hate blood and gore (I look as if I'm going to faint), and if someone cuts themselves and bleeds to death, I won't ever speak to them again and they can't come to the Spring Art Show (wag finger). Then we all laugh and get to work, and NOBODY fools around with the mirrors.
I've found that in general, if you give kids responsibility, they'll act responsibly. Go for the glass.
----- Original Message -----
To: ArtsEdNet Talk
Sent: Tuesday, November 20, 2001 1:10 AM
Subject: real mirrors in K-5 environment?
I ask because:
1. I inherited my art room without any mirrors, and
2. The cost of buying decent acrylic mirrors made for art classes would
wipe out a substantial part of my budget, and
3. I saw some approx. 6" diameter round mirrors at the dollar store
today, that have an adjustable angle and can be propped on a table.