Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Art In-Tents

I meant to do this post last week during National Arts in Education Week but life got in the way! :)

Last spring at one of our K-12 Art collaboration meetings, the Art teachers started talking about the possibility of doing a massive Art event for all the 6th grade students across the district and the 8th grade Art students.  We decided to go with the theme "Art In-Tents" to play on the "intense" nature of the day.  We got our public relations guy and the foundation that funds special projects in our district involved and took off!  We picked a day which just happened to fall during Arts in Education Week, a happy accident!  The plan was for each elementary school to take their 6th graders to the high school for a two hour field trip in which they would make two projects to be displayed in an Art show in the high school's new library.  The buses came and we took off (boy, I forgot what it's like to be on a bus full of 11 and 12 year olds!) for the high school where we found two giant tents with lots of helpers waiting for us!  We started off at the jewelry tent where two of the high school's Art teachers demonstrated step by step how to wrap a stone with wire.  The high school Art students for each hour were in the tents assisting students.  As the students finished their pendants, they were slipped on a cord and one of their labels printed with name, school, and homeroom teacher was stuck on a tag for display.  The next station was printmaking where students drew into a piece of styrofoam and learned how to ink a brayer and pull a print.  We decided that the "intense" part of the name was accurate!  It was crazy but the students had a blast!  They were dissappointed to find out they would not be going back again the next day.

Disclaimer: Not everything was perfect!  We didn't expect it to be the first year.  I probably would have enjoyed myself more if I wasn't still stressed out from dealing with all the t-shirts the day before.  -Each student got a shirt with the event logo on the front so I had to sort through the student list to see what size they ordered and pin a section of labels on the back.  Thankfully one of the 5th grade teachers who has a student teacher this semester stepped up and helped me or I would not have gotten it all done in one day!  Can you tell I can be a little high strung?  Anyway... all of the elementary schools in my district are set up K-6 except for my two which are K-3 and 4-6.  This means that my school has almost twice as many 6th graders as the others so not all of my students could fit in the tent at a time.  Some of the high school students took the extras off to the side to play games and picked Red Rover... I see why Red Rover is not allowed on the playground anymore.  One of my students ended up with a bloody nose that they thought might be broken, I haven't heard the final report yet!  BUT, we have already started brainstorming what could be done differently next year and hey, you have to start somewhere!


  1. I love this! I am a parent leader at an arts-focused elementary school in Southern California. I think having an event like this would be great for not only our students, but to bring awareness to the importance of art in our schools. I'm interested in learning more about what other art projects you did at the event and how it was put together.

  2. Since this was our first year, we just had two projects in the tents. Students used wire to wrap a stone which was hung on a cord for a necklace and then they made a print using foam... (I think I've been saying styrofoam which is probably not the right word!) During the opening, we just had the artwork hung and musicians playing. We are going to try to have more projects next year if we can get funding to do it again.