Thursday, February 17, 2011

School Logo Paper Mural

Some people who see this in person can't find the picture!  I think it's easier to make out when viewed from the center and at a distance.

Yesterday I wanted to do one-day projects to try and get my classes back on the same schedule after snow days.  I got the idea for the mural from my friend Amy's blog but adapted the project for my students.  Her students had more variety of media but I stuck to my brand new Mr.Sketch markers.  I knew that I wanted to give each student a small section of the logo and show them how to create a grid to enlarge it.  I opened the logo up in Photoshop because that is always the easiest way for me to find the right size to scale the image and to add even lines.  Also, I have the file saved so I don't have to do the work again to use the project in future years.  I printed the logo in black and white so there were pretty much three values of black, gray, and white.  I haven't really done a project focused on value before so this was kind of an experiment.  I asked the students to make the black areas (pretty much just outlines) solidly colored in, fill the gray areas with line and shape designs, and either leave the white areas white or add sparse designs.  I also asked the students to use an analogous color scheme.

This project was completed by two 4th grade classes, a 6th grade class, and me.  There should have been enough students to complete every section.  But the power was out for an hour yesterday morning so the 4th class that I had planned to have work on this had to do a different project.  I figured I would complete a section in each class to demonstrate but I think I ended up finishing 16/72 pieces.  If I hadn't done that, the day would have been kind of a waste.  You can't put up a half-finished mural!  We had conferences today (and last night) so I finished my sections and one of our social workers helped me hang it.

When I do this project in the future...

I will probably stick with 6th grade.  It was tricky for some of them, the 4th graders needed LOTS of help.

I will probably tell the students what they are making.  I didn't tell the 4th grade classes what the "big picture" was going to be.  I wasn't going to tell my 6th grade class but decided to on a whim and they instantly were more interested and motivated!  I forget how much they are into anything with our school logo and it made a big difference!

I will try to figure out how to handle the REALLY simple sections.  Some pieces only had a little line down one side or a small shape in the corner.  One of my students with SUPER low motivation chose a section that was almost empty so when he finished that, I had him take over another section for a student who had to leave early.  And for once, he actually did the work!  (And with little more than a half-hearted protest!)  I was so happy!

I will have the students fold their paper "hotdog" and then "hamburger" style to make a simple grid with the creases instead of measuring.  I had the 4th grade classes use rulers to make their grids and you'd think they've never used one before!  I have vented about ruler issues before and had lots of the same problems again. I showed the students how to find the middle.  I told them that the paper was 9x12 inches.  This is what followed with the first 4th grade class.
Me: What is 9 divided by 2?
Students: 18!
Me: No, that's 9 times 2.  What is half of 9?
Students: 3!  No, 2!
I decide to draw it on the board and show the students that 9 divided by 2 is 4 and a half.  I asked them what half of 12 was and thankfully they figured that one out a little quicker.  I marked the measurements on both sides and connected them with the ruler.  Simple, right?  Haha, that's what I thought.  Several used the wrong measurement, one even blamed it on me, several used the right measurement but just marked it once in the middle of the paper so it wasn't straight, several even measured correctly but tried to draw the grid lines free hand instead of with the straight edge of the ruler.

I feel a little like a quitter to give up on using rulers (I mean it's a simple but important skill the students should know) but I don't feel like I get enough class time with them to spend as much time as it would take for them to get it...

Another issue was students turning one of their pieces (either the small section or their drawing paper) horizontal and the other vertical which of course doesn't match up.  I don't think a lot of them had the visual-spatial skills yet to take on the more complicated sections.


  1. Hey Katie,
    your school has a nice logo! Ours is boring, so I don't think I would do a mural like that!

    I do find it strange too that some children have so much difficulty using rulers.
    I even find some of mine (7th grade) in the beginning of the school year having difficulty!
    Sometimes they can't construct a box without crooked lines!

    The result is quite nice :-)

  2. The result is awesome! and I have been trying to think of doing something similar with an empty bulletin board that is screaming "MURAL". This helps a lot! and if it makes you feel any better my 8th and 9th graders also can't figure out how to use a ruler/make a grid, sometimes even when I stand over them for the first half to make sure they have it right.

  3. why cant I see the images? I can see the text but no images???

    1. I'm sorry I don't know! I can still see them all.