I created art room centers at the beginning of the 2012-2013 school year. They have been an amazing addition to my art room ever since. The 3-5th grade students love center time. They work hard to earn center time for good behavior. Plus, early finishers and awkwardly timed projects are no longer a problem.
I wanted my students to understand the supplies and the capabilities of the supplies a bit more in depth. I developed independent projects for each center and started my fifth graders off to work more independently.
We started with the Textiles Center.
I developed five lessons that the students could choose from. I passed out a brief explanation of the Textile Centers assignments. Below are the individual assignment sheets for each project. These are very general and were used to get students started with their assignment. I had other papers available showing examples and techniques. Then, I would walk around to each group and teach the steps.
Plastic Canvas lacing
and Card Loom Weaving (we did this in fourth grade so I did not make an assignment page - but I honestly should have!)
I used one class period to briefly explain each art form. I showed a few videos and ran through a PowerPoint I had created.
Students then had to choose which work of art they would spend the next 8 weeks on. I reminded students that their Textile Project would be due at the end of second quarter, but we would also be working on another project all together during that time too.
Choosing the projects was not as hard as I had anticipated. I had a few flip-floppers the first day. I told them sternly that they would not be able to change their projects again! Next, I created a new seating chart based on what each student was making. This made it easy for me to give more private instructions. I had the supplies on my work table divided up by each project. Huichol kids only had to get stuff from the Huichol box, Embroidery kids, the Embroidery box... etc. We spent two class hours solely working on our Textiles project so that I knew everyone had a good start. Then, I introduced a new project that we would be doing all together.
I admit, that it was not smooth sailing for 8 weeks. Some students chose projects they really couldn't handle. Every direction would confuse them, and reading my instructions was not helping. I would get frustrated super fast when I had to reteach five different lessons 22 times. My solution was to have students start to teach each other within their own medium. This worked great! And it's part of the Common Core!
The second problem was the Plastic Canvas Lacing. I never have done this before in my life. I chose it because I had it. Also, I have a thing for terribly awesome stuff and I was totally hoping some kid would make a Tweety-bird Kleenex box. I watched a few YouTube videos and messed around with it and figured it was pretty easy once you get the hang of it. So, I thought my kids could handle it. I had eight fifth graders choose this medium and not one kid finished or got far at all. Fifth graders could not wrap their head around this concept. It seems so mundane, and after one row I was like "I got this!" But, that never happened for any of the 10 & 11 year olds. The last few weeks of the quarter most switched to a card loom weaving, with one kid insisting that he would finish. He did not.
Each project did not have it's own rubric. Grading was based on our general scale:
Did you follow directions?
Did you finish your project?
Is your project unique?
Is your project neat?
Did you use tools and supplies correctly?
Usually I have a historical context question, but not for this lesson. I was very pleased with everyone's effort and the finished products! It really was successful! I ended up having to grade them before most kids were complete. After report cards, I collected the finished projects and the projects that the kids "never want to look at again!" If they were not done, they had the option of keeping it in their art box and working on again when they had independent time.