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Old 11-02-2009, 11:15 AM
ArtTeacherK ArtTeacherK is offline
Join Date: Dec 2008
Posts: 44
Art Teacher
30-35 5th graders?

Background - I'm on the cart and some of my classes have been combined due to new classrooms having to open this year to accomodate high enrollment.

Does anyone have any good lessons that can be done with upwards of 35 5th graders where not all of them have proper seats? (I.e, some of them are at the computer desks, so paint or anything "messy" has been ruled out from above - yes, I know, and yes there's nothing that can be done about this).

I've been doing drawing lessons but the kids are clearly bored and are starting to get worse behaviorally. One of the guidance counselors told me that according to the 5th grade teachers, I'm the only specialist that can control them, so I'd like to keep that going, although it's starting to slip a bit.

One plus is that these kids really seem to do well with detail oriented projects (like when they need to color in small squares in a pattern, for example, seems to really calm them down), but some of the kids are also very low so when the projects get too complicated, half the class really struggles and there's just not enough of me to go around.

I'm nearly out of ideas of motivating drawing projects and the only sculpture I'll be able to do would be no-mess projects like origami or tinfoil (unless anyone else has suggestions for no mess sculptures?) I'll probably do a little bit of collage if it seems like the kids can handle it. Luckily, I have them last, so it can be messy, just not wet.
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Old 11-02-2009, 04:22 PM
Samothrace's Avatar
Samothrace Samothrace is offline
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 630
Art Teacher
ugh! that just angers me so bad for you!

I have two 6th grade classes that are huge as well. It is soo difficult to teach an art class like this, when the kids don't have proper seats. they miss out SO much.

Is a way you can combine some desks or something so the kids can paint, but it's only a few at a time. Like center style. This would take zillions of years to complete..but what can you do!

People have no idea how difficult it is to teach on a cart. It goes against my contract to have classes combined together just for specials. Anyway....

model magic would be a good 3-d material..and isn't messy! you can use markers to color it, or use whatever kind of materials you might want.

They will get bored of drawing. the kids like the messy stuff.
And you are forced to teach in that mess..so I would paint anyway! Tell them to be careful, but if the district and principal can't give the kids proper seating..then they'll have to deal. you have standards you have to teach to, and different materials is covered within those.

This is a spastic post b/c I go from wanting to give helpful project ideas...and being really angry for you, which I'm sure you've had your anger too.

I did these geometric/organic designs. We took a square peice of 12x12 paper, 9x9 would work too. I had them make x number of organic shapes and x number of geometric lines (you could vise versa this) The lines had to go through the shapes though and go from side to side. No lines that just stop in the middle of no where, they have to bump into another line. Fold the paper point to point so when unfolded there are 4 triangles. In each triangle section they used warm colors mixing marker and crayon, but colored pencils would work. The opposite sides are done in cool colors. When the shapes and lines overlap they create new spaces..those are colored in. I hope this makes sense!

A similar pattern type drawing, but a mixed media. On a small 4x4 square of scratch art, it was divided into 4 sections. Each section they made different pattern. This was glued onto a 6x6 and using a different material..colored pencil...the patterns were extended into that material...and ten it was glued onto an 8x8 or 9x9 and the pattern extended again into another material.

If you have oil pastels there are lots of drawings to use those. Again I'm being stubborn on the inability to paint...you could do resists...and using one color have the kids paint a wash over their project. A simple station style..so there isn't paint everywhere..

I hope these help! It really sucks for you! I got a room back this year..at one of my buildings, I forgot just how much easier it is to teach when I have a board to draw on. I'm not climbing over desks, I'm not taping paper to a wall b/c I have no where to teach from, I had a class with 5 extra minutes b/c I'm not used to cleanup not taking a lot of time! I can't wait to be in a district where I don't have to teach off a cart.
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Old 11-02-2009, 04:40 PM
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Securis Securis is offline
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 674
New York
Origami, yep.

Kirigami is messy but can be contained.

Crayon rubbings.

How about interpretation of art works.

Have them group up and design a board game.

Performance art based on an artwork or similar theme.

Win, loose, or Draw. or Simply pictionary without the board.

A red letter/ illuminated letter. I'd use the first initial.

Sculptures, Pipe cleaner creatures, dragons or what have you. Does require some mess with glue and cut paper.

Homemade marker stamps using camper sealer strip and foam core. Either make individual stamps for monoprints or make plates for mass production of Christmas cards.

I hope those ideas spawn a dozen each. Good luck.
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Old 11-02-2009, 04:42 PM
NJArt NJArt is offline
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 371
New Jersey
Art Teacher
You could probably manage to paint with watercolors without causing too much of a mess.

You could also do scratchboards or metal tooling.
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Old 10-14-2012, 12:34 PM
kassrose kassrose is offline
Join Date: Sep 2008
Posts: 111
5th Grade
Could you take your class outside?
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Old 10-14-2012, 08:41 PM
ograwk ograwk is offline
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 33
HS art teacher
I taught art in a room without a sink, so I had to do unmessy projects. Paper mosaic squares for making mosaics was always a hit. We used a lot of construction paper, too. Gummed packing tape works well for paper mache - it does require water, but it's not too messy. Good luck to you!
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Old 10-14-2012, 08:54 PM
TeacherGroupie TeacherGroupie is offline
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 25,793
If your kids like fine detail, try having them do works inspired by Pointillism with fine-point markers. I saw a class of sixth graders produce some astonishingly nice work that way.
Education isn't what you know. It's what you can do (and fake, intelligently) with what you know.
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Old 12-10-2012, 09:24 PM
md1234 md1234 is offline
Join Date: Dec 2012
Posts: 1
Fremont, CA
If you're looking for an idea for an art project that all your students can contribute to, we're putting together a project to raise money for the American Red Cross. We need a ton of art work to complete the project. We'd love to get artwork from your students.

Check out our project kickstarter. It's called America the Beautiful Mosaic Art Project.
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Old 12-18-2012, 10:57 AM
ArtTeacher01 ArtTeacher01 is offline
Join Date: Dec 2012
Posts: 8
Art Teacher
It sounds like you are in a tough situation with so many students under less than ideal conditions... THe above mentioned mosaic project sounds good... In the past, I have done class mosiacs by having each student replicate a grid section of a large artwork...

Something that comes to mind for me is studying surrealism. You could find images of different objects and items that have meaning and have the student assemble a collection of them on their paper via redrawing it to achieve a meaning. I have noticed that 4th and 5th graders are really into the art of Salvador Dali, especially when you challenge them to interpret meaning from the paintings...

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Old 12-18-2012, 11:02 AM
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mrachelle87 mrachelle87 is offline
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 2,722
Kindergarten Teacher

My old art teacher had the kids make baskets out of grocery sacks that they wove together. They made them in the spring for Easter. They didn't require paint; but they did take a few days, so they will need to be stored.
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3035, 5th, graders

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