Invitation for Creation: October

Typically, the lessons I teach in K-5 Art are usually teacher-led. But while planning lessons during a busy week before a seasonal break, I first saw an opportunity to come up with a more student-led project.
I call this an “Invitation for Creation”.
Basically, students are provided with a challenge to incorporate a given piece of media into their artwork.

For a 2D piece, the students are given:

  1. The challenge piece of media
  2. A blank sheet
  3. Guidelines for use of acceptable materials

1. The Challenge Piece

The Challenge Piece can be anything extra you have on hand. If you don’t have an abundance of material, you can always draw one and copy it to make enough for a large class or grade level. For this month, it was two white circles and two black circles, punched from Construction Paper, and put together to make “GOOGLE-Y” eyes.

2. A Background

I like to use a blank sheet of thicker piece of paper, such as sulfite or construction paper. Sometimes, I’ll have them use tag board/cardstock. Another idea is to have the students pick the size or color. You may even use a patterned piece of paper, or a painted sheet of paper leftover from another project or lesson.

3. Guidelines

Here is where I define which material will be set out for students to incorporate into their artwork. I like to use up my scrap construction paper pieces this way, and I’ll put some out on the table along with glue. Other times, I’ll have them use just crayons- like at the end of the year when supplies are being stored away for the summer. I do demonstrate some possibilities as far as technique.

Why October?

This simple challenge was perfect for October. You have students who may want to celebrate the scary, and others who may not celebrate Halloween, but they are still able to participate in your challenge. Since you are not necessarily defining the subject of the artwork, you can easily allow for individual preferences.

Challenge Piece: Googly Eyes

I suppose I could have used the actual plastic googly eyes. I didn’t have enough for the whole class at the time, so I just made due!

Background: Whole Sheet of Construction Paper

I let students decide which color would best suit their idea, and made each color available to them as they chose their base.

Guidelines: Gluestick, Scissors, Construction Paper Scraps Only 

I told them they may use whatever is available to them on their tables and that I was checking to see how well they would share with others. I also told them that I am looking for their craftsmanship skills.

Craftsmanship Skills: Practice for Correct Technique

Craftsmanship Skills I remind about and look for:
  • Put the glue on the small piece
  • Use enough, but not too much glue… just enough to make it shiny, not “clumpy”
  • Cut smoothly, no jagged edges
As they are practicing these skills, I am able to observe their strengths and give suggestions on areas of improvement.

Early Finisher Extension

If a student finished early, I would have them write a story about their creation. I had some comic relief when reading them! And their teachers loved that I provided a built-in prompt by having them create their story based on their artwork!

Also, if time allowed, I had the students tell me what is happening in their artwork, as they shared with the class.

Some Results…

I hope you are as amused by the results as I was!
As always, feel free to share pics or modifications in the comments below.

Best wishes for your October creations 🙂