Last friday I did an art lesson with a class of 28 fourth graders. The lesson was using tissue paper in a collage. I had done this lesson before a couple of times with one or two kids. It was a lot harder with the large class.
First, I talked with them about sillouettes. I don't think they all understood just what a sillouette is. I gave a quick run through of just how the whole project was done, while also showing some examples. I only had an hour to have them do this project from start to finish and I knew this project took some time. I felt I really had to get my lecture finished quick so they would have time to finish. I don't like that stress and I felt rushed. Because of that I feel I really didn't explain as good as I could've.
First I had them draw what I wanted to be a simple silouette on black tissue paper. There were some that did just that. There were also some that didn't get it and drew quite detailed little drawings. Much too detailed to cut out. Flaw number 1 on my part. You really need to emphasize to do a SIMPLE outline, and make it pretty large. Not something the size of a quarter! Some needed me to help with their drawing mainly to draw a dolphin or spider which were both ideas I had shown them. If I drew the thing for them I tried to have them draw a little something to go with it. So that it wasn't ALL my drawing.
Then I had them paint a watered down glue mixture onto the paper, and place the black design onto the glue. I had them paint gently on top of the black design. When they were done with that I had them choose 3 colors of tissue. At first I thought it would be best to use only 3 colors, each like eachother. In otherwords no contrasting colors. But many didn't listen to that, and in the end it didn't matter. I guess I was thinking it would make the whole piece too chaotic, and the sillouette might get lost. That wasn't a prob since we only used lighter shades of tissue to put over the black. Next time I will strike the mention of what colors for them to choose. Just keep it to 2 or 3 colors plus black.
Then they were to start making these into strips and gluing. Again having them glue onto the background first - not directly onto the tissue. I think most are used to putting glue on to the small paper, not the background, and they forgot that sometimes. It's also a good idea to mention to try to keep one hand clean of glue. I don't know if many can do this though! Most kids I don't think care about the sticky stuff, but some can get a little frustrated.
Some kids were really able to do the whole thing with no help. Some needed my help from the beginning. I had 5 different sillouette ideas, but some wanted to do there own design. I want to encourage their own ideas always, but it seems the kids that had the hardest time were the ones that had their own ideas. Because the silouette can be hard to make look like you want it, without all the details. This project would probably work better with a little older children - maybe 5th, 6th or 7th grade would be best. I was a very busy helping draw, cut, strip, and sometimes helping glue strips at the end because of the time restraints. It was just so mucher harder because of the amount of kids this time too. Oh well you live and learn.