My last post was about the Dia de los Muertos prints some of my 5th graders chose to make. Others wanted to try out printmaking but with their own themes.
Did all of the prints have lots of thought put into them? Honestly, probably not. I did ask the students to check their plans with me before I gave them the foam plate. When I talked to the students about their plans, I asked questions and gave advice. If I saw an issue, like that a student forgot something would be reversed or their drawing had details too small to show up on the foam, I pointed it out. When I saw a few designs that were a little trite, even though it made me cringe a little, I let the students do it within reason.
There were lots of hearts/stars/peace signs and the like. I think we have to remember that at least with elementary students, even if the images seem old and overused to us, the students don't see the symbols the same way. I remember making art out of those symbols when I was growing up in the 90's, and I've seen doodles from my aunts in the 70's that had the exact same symbols. The symbols are a "safe" place to start for students who may feel unsure of their abilities. So, instead of "banning" those symbols, I asked the students if they put thought into their designs. I asked if they could add anything to the simple symbols to make them more interesting. I made sure that their design wasn't an exact copy of the friend they were working next to. Most of those students sort of got the triteness out of their systems and haven't used them in art class since.
|This student combined characteristics of different dragons from a book in the art room to make a new kind of dragon.|
|There were a few "muscle" men.|
|A student with pretty low motivation was engaged in making a print about one of his interests, skateboarding.|
My room's not really set up in a way that would easily allow printmaking to be open all the time. I had the supplies out for a few weeks before they went back into storage. 4th and 6th graders will have a chance to try printmaking this spring, and a few 5th graders who started their plates but didn't yet get a chance to print will get to give it a go then.