This week my co-teacher and I had an open class to prepare for. While the entire school (us included), acted as headless chickens in a frenzy of preparing, cleaning and beautifying our classrooms –we also had the added stress of making a lesson that meshed well with the arts. Our chosen art form: one-sided sculptures.
At first we brainstormed about using clay or papier-mâché but like every class we unfortunately have to speed on through the textbook – so our artsy lesson would have to be done in a mere forty minutes. Of course, we had to minus from this 40: lesson revision time, demonstration and instructions. Rest assured, I’ve become a pro at this speeding along thing and so I decided to steal the idea of foil sculptures…thank you, grade 5 art textbook.
At first my co-teacher was a little hesitant and scared things would get too complicated but I reassured her we could do it. Our topic: “My Special Day”. This topic was our own, an extension of the text book unit “What did you do in the weekend?” which is all about teaching past tense vocabulary. The activity acted as a final project for our students to show off what they’d learnt throughout the unit.
Let the Sculpting Lesson Begin!
Before any big project I always make a demo version. For this lesson I prepared a foil sculpture about Christmas Day and sculpted four different things that happened on Christmas Day. My co-teacher helped with the brainstorm example and overall the students always enjoy seeing an example project. I think it is a great strategy of inspiring your students to challenge themselves and sets the entire class a high standard to strive for.
As an added POW to impress the open class spectators I thought making a simple instructional video of how to make a foil sculpture would earn us some extra brownie points. (Still no word on said brownies) So here is the video the students watched: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UDQJr5gF2K8
At first the length of it frightened my co-teacher but it actually turned out that the students were deeply engrossed the entire 2 and-a-half-something minutes. I think it was important to show them exactly how long it took me to point out how fast and easy sculpting with foil can be. Plus the lengthiness of the video built up drama for the climatic reveal of the end product- a pair of foil men playing basketball!
First off, we brainstormed what different “special days” exist and we came up with all sorts…
After brainstorming we gave out papers with the title “My Special Day:_________”. Each group had to choose one of the special days we brainstormed on the board and then start thinking of activities that they did on those days – emphasizing the past tense verbs, of course. Here are some of our student brainstorms:
Making was the fun and easy part. The students were such busy bees during this! We made sure that every group member had come up with a sentence for their brainstorm and so each sentence equalled to one foil sculpture. We gave out big sheets of black card, one for each group and by the end each card had three or four activities sculpted from foil to show what they did on their chosen special day. Our last requirement was that they write the name of the special day on their black card with a silver or gold marker and then present their work to the entire class.
Overall, a really easy and affordable artsy activity to spruce up any English learning lesson.
By Ardyn Baia