Monday, January 25, 2016

Collaboration Drawings

My 5th grade students learned about the art of COLLABORATION, as they each created a small design to contribute to a large community work. Students focused on LINE, COLOR, SHAPE, PATTERN, and the use of POSITIVE and NEGATIVE SPACE. They also learned about the Line of Life community mural collaborations by Ernest English, as well as other artists who create by breaking down images into smaller sections as they work, such as Chuck Close and Romero Britto.

These projects were inspired by several teachers online and in the art teachers group I belong to on Facebook. The first examples I saw were done with Sharpie markers on stretched canvas. I wasn't sure I would be able to afford that many canvases, and then not be able to break down the project to return to each of my students. Then I saw some of my peers using paper for the project, so I had to try it!

I started the project on 11x14 inch paper, masked with painters tape into 10-12 sections, for each of my tables in the art room. I also had a few extra sheets at the ready for groups who managed to fill an entire piece completely, or for tables that were having more of a challenge reaching, sharing, waiting on a more thorough artist, etc.

The Line of Life video was a great enhancement for this lesson. It is a perfect example of collaboration, as well reinforcing to students that anyone, anywhere can contribute to a great work of art. Everyone has value, and can give an effort no matter what their skill set or challenges they may face. 

I also worked on having a fun call-back element in the classroom while presenting and reviewing the lesson by breaking down the word into two parts, so when I said "Collab" students followed with "Oration."  It was a great icebreaker for the first few classes as well. Now here we are in January and if I begin to say the word out loud and in that teachery tone, I get the second half of the word said back to me, guaranteed!

I have to say that removing the tape from the paper was not the most successful component to this lesson, but the final product was still fabulous. My plans for next year are to work on canvas paper. Perhaps it will be a happy medium between paper and stretched canvas. Oh, and I was driving myself crazy walking around the room and grading students as they worked, when it dawned on me that the tape would be removed at the end of the lesson. Ding, ding, ding! Why not have the kids write their names on the tape, with an arrow pointing to which section they worked on! No matter how organized I think I am, there are still things that stare me in the face and take a while to work themselves out in my brain. I figure it out eventually!


The final pieces mounted together were quite impressive and I managed a bulletin board display at each of my schools. I will also be using them for display at the Board of Ed offices later in the year. I hope you try a collab-oration with your classes soon!

To see the Line of Life community mural collaboration by Ernest English & company
that I shared with my classes, please visit this link:

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