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Have you ever tried mosaics in your classroom? I enjoy mosaic projects for many reasons:

  1.  It is an easy enough art project from grades K and up.
  2. Gives an opportunity to discuss art history. My students get to travel all over the world.  They’ve seen famous mosaics in Barcelona, Turkey, Jordan.  Many of them have been to Park Guell in Barcelona and have seen the work of Antoni Gaudi. Now we get to discuss mosaics in detail, make deeper connections, and learn some history in the mix.

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http://www.ancient.eu/Mosaic/

3.  You use up all those lonely construction paper scraps you didn’t have the heart to chuck out throughout the year.

The cons of this lesson include having a gazillion tiny pieces of paper all over your floor at the end of the lesson.  It looked like a confetti bomb went off in my room at times. Also, if the glue doesn’t stick, the kids end up spending a lot of their time regluing (which can be frustrating).

The mosaic project was a huge lesson in perseverance. Students spend so much time cutting, gluing, cutting, gluing.  Every day. For a couple of weeks. Tedious.  But, a lot of the projects turned out fantastic in the end.  Students (and their teacher) were reminded again that artistic endeavors take time and care. In addition, we all have a renewed respect for mosaic artists.

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The suggestions I would make for the future me:

  1. Keep the subject matter as simple as possible.  This project takes a long time, and you want only one thing to focus on.
  2. Draw your subject to be as big as possible.
  3. Pick your mosaic shape carefully. I did not want to use torn paper because I thought it would look junky.  I told the students to use squares for the first mosaic and if they had time, they could experiment with other shapes.  I made a heart using triangle shapes and it was pretty complicated.  I would only do triangles for middle school grades.
  4. Allow students to use chalk in background if needed.  Some of my students were losing it by the end.  By allowing them to use chalk, students were able to focus more on their subject matter.

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