Friday, August 3, 2012

Piven Box

I've written about artist Hanoch Piven before, so instead of boring those of you who have been around for a while, I'll just link to the old post instead of going on and on about how great his work is. (You should also check out his website,

 The first lesson I designed based on Piven's artwork was a mixed media self portrait lesson where the objects chosen for facial features were supposed to represent the student. I wanted to come up with something more hands on to expose my younger students to his work. It's obvious that Piven uses actual objects when composing his portraits but I knew letting students make something permanent with real objects would not be realistic- I have usually 110+ students in each grade so that would be a lot of objects to collect!
My solution was to put together a Piven box that can be used during rotations. I collected a bunch of random objects that students can arrange on top of colored construction paper when it is their group's time at the Piven table. I created a document with some images and a brief explanation of his work to the lid as a reminder. After the students create their portraits, they write their name on a scrap of paper, place it next to the portrait, and I snap a photo for Artsonia. The only real challenge is keeping the box from turning into a trash can but I usually have a few students who like to organize things check it at the end of class.

 I don't think my Kinders or 1st graders have tried this out yet but it was a hit with 2nd and 3rd grade students this spring.
 Some students went beyond the paper to make big pictures, like the bird below.
 I decided to get in on the fun and make a hippo.
I plan to keep adding objects to my Piven Box and maybe someday I'll have a kit for each table!


  1. I love that you have kids manipulating real objects. I'm thinking it would be great to have a variety of artists' boxes -- the possibilities are pretty endless!!

  2. Hi, Katie. Always willing to support another artist, and this sounds like a fun idea. If you were to give us an address, I bet many of us would be willing and able to send you "stuff" for your other artists' boxes!