Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Art on Parade! Fifth Grade makes their own version of Chicago's Cows on Parade!

My husband owns a music store and my father-in-law does all the guitar repairs that come in.  Occasionally there is a guitar that is just not worth fixing.  That's where art class comes in.

I collect the old useless acoustics, basses, cases, and ukuleles for a project I call Art on Parade.  Similar to Chicago's 1999 Art Exhibition "Cows on Parade,"  Art on Parade asks fifth graders to choose a theme, and turn an old instrument, box, or board into a fabulous work of art.        
I even got the custodian to mount a guitar hook behind my desk to show off the guitars ready to be turned into masterpieces!

We started by discussing "Cows on Parade."  My classes went through a slideshow that included a few news broadcasts about the event as well as a slideshow featuring nearly all 300+ cows that were in Chicago.

We also discussed WHY? these cows were so special in Chicago, and what was the draw of seeing artistic cows.

Then students had a chance to brainstorm.  They could work in teams or alone to complete their project.  At this point, they didn't know what their final media would be. Once they established themes and groups, (I said they could work in groups of up to four) the raffle for what their final project would be on began.
I put their choices on display so they could decide what they wanted most.

Students had to choose their 1st - 5th choice -

Acoustic Guitar
Bass Guitar
Ukulele (or Mini Guitar)
Guitar Box
Uke Box
Piece of Wood
Guitar Case
Or other.... (they would have to tell me if they had a different idea)

Once all the tickets were collected and put in their boxes, the drawing began.

I divvied my collection up by class, so my later afternoon class would have as much chance of getting to decorate a Bass as my morning class.  In total I had 3 Acoustic Guitars, 1 acoustic bass, 2 electric Basses, 2 Ukes, 2 Guitar boxes, 2 Guitar cases, 7 Uke boxes, and 9 pieces of wood from an old book shelf that fell apart.  Of course the kids were most excited about the guitars.  However, the pieces of wood were also a big draw.  This lesson could be modified with so many different everyday objects.  I was teaching high school during the time of the original "Cows on Parade" and we made plaster casts of our heads and hands on parade!

The students witnessed the selection process and most were fine with what they got.  A few students became unhappy with their group, because they realized only one student would be able to take the project home!  I gave them the option of going separate, or donating their project to the raffle at the end of the year art show.  Other students did not quite follow directions on the raffle paper!  No Names!  Unreadable choices!  Too many entries!  Those students were basically disqualified and given a box (the least popular choice, and what I had leftover).        

I created a series of sketchbook pages depending on what the student would be designing.  They have an outline for the students to design and say:
You have already come up with a theme for your “Art on Parade” project.  How will
you design your guitar, bass, ukulele, guitar case, box, or wooed/paper within that theme?  You can draw, paint, construct, collage, use textiles, found objects, magazines, or anything else you can think of! This is a 3D work of art. Be sure to consider all the sides. 

Here is each page:
Guitar or Ukulele
Guitar Case
Electric Bass
Guitar or Ukulele Box

Next students got to work!  Some primed, some didn't.  I left the options and media completely up to them.  I would give a few suggestions here and there, but I really wanted students to problem solve on their own.  I told them several times I had a ton of supplies and whatever they needed, let me know and I can get it out.  I had a few kids ask for something specific, but most went with the paints and markers that I had available.

We spent two hours working on our actual finished product.  The kids did great and I could tell they enjoyed all the independence.

When students were finished they reflected on their work with a simple question/answer page.

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