The first day of school can be daunting for students, particularly younger students. Art is a wonderful way to calm the nerves and collaborative art is a great way to get kids working together, right off the bat. As with adults, the benefits of student collaboration are nearly endless. Collaborating takes the pressure off of perfection, introduces students to each other’s unique styles, techniques, and ideas, fosters an appreciation for each other’s differences and most importantly in the room, builds comradery and respect for each and every student.
Below are five, fun, collaborative projects perfect for easing those first day jitters. Each project can be easily adapted to suit any skill or grade level.
Pick up a large-sized jigsaw puzzle from your local dollar store and give one piece to each student. (Child-sized puzzles with larger pieces works best.) Have students create their own mini masterpieces on the back of their pieces, using various styles and mediums like collage and 3-D. Once all pieces are complete, assemble the puzzle to reveal the complete piece and show your students that the sum is greater than the parts. Glue the pieces in place and mount on the wall as an artful reminder of the importance of teamwork.
Masking Tape Mural
Help your students to plan and outline a city scape on a large sheet on craft paper. When complete, give each student a strip of masking tape and have them cover the outlines of the scene. Assign each student a section to paint, making sure note to cover the masking tape lines. The picture isn’t complete without the contributions of each and every student.
First Grade’s a Bear
Sketch the outline of a bear onto a large sheet of foam board cut it out. Provide students with strips of white paper and let them paint the strips any colors they wish. When dry, the students attach their strips to the bear, overlapping to form a colorful “fur” that covers the bear.
Discuss a master painter and share one of that artist’s most famous works with your class. Then, assign each student a small section of the piece to reproduce in his or her own unique style. When all pieces are complete, assemble them to recreate the masterpiece, with a slightly abstract spin that represents the entire class.
Collaborative Circle Weaving
Your whole class can collaborate to create a colorful, Kandinsky-style masterpiece! Using donated yarn and recycled cardboard, each student weaves their own circle, sewing in a bit of their personal style. All circles are hung from a common frame, creating a singular, modern-art piece that represents each unique child.