Collaboration and Community Building

Every year for the past three years, I’ve made a whole school bulletin board message to get our year started.  I like this activity because it helps us focus on line designs, but it also allows me to see what students are interested in outside of my classroom. Back when I started this job, I took a lot of ideas from Pinterest.  A lot of ideas start with the traced hand. Who can’t resist seeing little tiny Kindergarten hands?

This year was no different.  At first, I thought, “Oh boy, kids are going to be sick of this activity.” But then we started and all the kids loved the idea of working on their hands and working on a project which involved a lot of people.  It put some students at ease knowing their hand is one of many, and it is all in the name of celebrating being together in school.

I traced all my kids’ hands this year.  Just because when they do it, they go super close to their bodies and fingers end up being super thin, arms are too thin to actually work with.  They all got to pick out their base color though.  I chose super bright colors for the youngest but tried to steer my older students to white so they could show more of their designs and colors.

Then I did a lot of lessons focusing in on line designs, patterns, and colors (please see next posting).  This year, I also focused some energy on visual representation of self.  All the kids are familiar with emojis.  I gave them idea booklets containing graffiti letters and images for them to incorporate into their designs.  The one main thing I asked for was that they make at least six line designs and to not color large areas with markers (never looks good).

Students were able to work with Sharpee pens, Sharpee markers, markers, metallic colored pencils, colored pencils, and crayons.

My job was to work on the lettering at the top, and obviously to put it all together in the end. All the hands for grades Kindergarten to three are put together in one space.  This helps to build community, and it also allows people to see progression of artistic skills throughout the grades.  This is what it looks like for this year:




Our school is working hard to incorporate six characteristics of 21st century learners.  They are: collaboration, communication, citizenship, critical thinking, character, and creativity. Since this is a focus for the school, I think it should be a focus for the first bulletin board of the year. We started by learning what these characteristics are (tying into home classroom experience), and then by learning how to draw these words using bubble letters.

In the end, we’ve got lots of colors, a good representation of our student populations’ artistic talent, and a good message to start us off on our learning adventure this year.

The most surprising thing for me is that students want to do another one, just like it.  Next year!

Author: Sonia Chapman

I am an art teacher, living in the Middle East, following my passion for art, teaching little children about the finer things in life, and loving every bit of it.

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