Saturday, November 7, 2009

Photo Journal of Ongoing Holiday Card making classes for After School UAC special program

Just completed the first week of After School art enrichment classes in Immokalee Elementary Schools for the United Arts Council. Teaching classes of 3rd and 4th grade students how to make their own greeting cards for their Holiday House fund-raising events planned for December. It's great fun and extremely gratifying to see the students embrace the process and make it their own. It has also been quite eye-opening as to the logistics and flexibility required for efficient and successful sessions. Originally I had intended to provide each student with their own set of 24-50 Crayola Super Tip markers, and I am quite thankful that someone along the way chose to order sets of 8 broad tips markers/student instead. It is challenging enough to have each student clean up and collect their 8 markers by the end of each class. I can't imagine what a classroom might look like with 360-750 single markers spread all over the work tables or desks.

Completed cards by the end of the class. Given the rambunctious spirit of this group of 3rd graders observed in the hallway right before this after-school class, I decided to limit the final decorating step to drawing snowflakes and other decorative symbols with the metallic silver Pentel Outline pens. It proved a sensible choice, since we still managed to complete 2-3 cards per student and reduce clean up time afterward.

The finished cards above were colored with markers and decorated with glitter by 3rd grade students. Given a choice of 6 coloring card templates, most students picked the Snowman or the Santa card design. Given the simplicity of these cards coloring outlines, this class was able to complete and decorate 2-3 cards per student in the hour-long class. The big take away lesson for myself was to limit glitter dispensing to smaller shakers with smaller diameter openings for subsequent classes. Using the large 4 oz shakers with larger openings resulted in glitter flying all over the finishing table.
For this particular class we managed to use the Crayola broad tip washable markers (both Classic and Multicultural sets of 8 markers), Pentel Outline markers, and some glitter shakers which resulted in some nice-looking cards. The Multicultural marker set proved really handy to render a variety of skin tones and open up the expressive potential of a fairly limited palette of 16 markers. Though this level of craftmanship meant than on average each student was able to complete only a single card in the hour-long class.

While I am quite happy with the effort and enthusiasm of all the participating classes so far, I am particularly impressed by the attention to detail and skills demonstrated by this group of 4th grade students.

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