Tuesday, May 28, 2013

The Secret to Collaborating on a Mural

Are you looking for a project where you can collaborate with another class? I was. And I found a way to do a project with the Life Skills class at my school.

The Idea

The Life Skills class has a program where they runs a cafe in my school.  Teachers and staff can buy a snack and have a cup of coffee there. The Life Skills teacher and I came up with a plan to how we were going to re- design the cafe.

The Support

 I had a 'Foster Grandmother'  volunteer and a teacher assistant (who wan't afraid to climb ladders) in my 7th grade art class. So I decided with those extra hands in class, that would be the group to work with the Life Skills class on this project.  My principal fully supported the collaboration  and bought all the paint/supplies for the project!

Our Cafe

The Steps

 After we cleaned and primed the walls, I sketched in the basics- where the chair rail would be, the curtains/tassels and the medallions. Then I just let the kids paint, starting with the stripes. The stripes were the easiest to paint. The kids who were not as confident about helping out with the more creative/detailed aspects were chosen to help paint  the stripes. After the stripes went in, the enthusiasm just continued to grow.

The Chair Rail

 After the stripes, we moved onto the chair rail. I showed the kids samples of easy flowers, leaves and vines to paint. But I was open to any flower design the kids could come up with. The chair rail was a good place to start for those kids who felt confident in their creativity. I just let them go after my demonstration. They were free to paint their flowers.

 Next, we painted the curtains. That was one of the more challenging parts of the project.   Luckily, my Teacher Assistant was happy to go up on the ladder to work on those. A few kids did go up, but I was very selective as to who helped out with the curtains. There was a lot of us standing around (even the janitor) ready to help out if some one was losing their footing or getting dizzy up on the ladder.

Have a cup of coffee while you grade papers!
 Lastly, we painted the medallions on the wall on each side of the doors. The kids who were very confident in their painting ability were chosen to help out with the medallions.  Again, my Teacher Assistant came in handy here. She would go up on the ladder with the kids who helped out in the painting of the medallions.

 One of the medallians
RMS Cafe Medallion

The Secret to a Successful Mural

All the kids in the two classes got to take part in the painting in the area they felt most confident. 
That is one of the secrets in painting any kind of mural.  Find out who feels confident in doing what. Some kids just want to do the basics. Other kids want to take on the challenge of the heavy lifting and show their creativity. Use that knowledge in choosing who does what on the mural.

At the end, our last step was signing our initials.   Those who wanted to, added their initials in an inconspicuous place near the door as you walk into the room did.

Our Initials
Have you ever done a collaborative painting project. I'd love to hear about it!

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