Third Grade’s Adventure with Collage

I have always loved the idea of collage. It’s always been very messy though and I end up hoarding way more things than I would like in an effort to make my project.  This project was a great way to push through the mess and learn how to create some really fun things with lots of paper and glue. 

My students seem to like it too.  They did two projects for this unit and I hope they use the collage center in the future to make their own projects. 

I decided to do a collage on vegetables or fruit.  I wanted the subjects to be easy to draw and not to complicated.  We practiced drawing apples, pumpkins, and carrots. On the day we started our collage, I had students with similar vegetables, simply so they could share supplies.  Then I introduced the collage center.  

Then we went shopping at the center.  Students stuffed very large ziplock baggies in lightning speed.  It was like “Supermarket Sweep.”  After I put a stop to the frenzy we emptied our bags on the tables.  I told students to put half the stuff back.  I also told students not to use very large pieces of paper.  Collage works really well when you get lots of variety in textures and colors. There is SO MUCH to choose from.  Like I said, it can be overwhelming. 

I also wanted to introduce students to the Printmaking center, so we got to make some prints using the gelli plates. 

We looked at the color wheel and I advised students to paint their background the complementary color of the subject in the background.  At times, my message was not received.  Some students really like purple.  They wanted to to an eggplant and paint their background purple too.  Nope. Let’s try this again.  

After the paint dried, we drew our object’s shape.  No details needed. The we set to work.  It was a learning experience for sure. 

One of the main problems was how students rushed through.  They tore the same paper over and over again and put the pieces next to each other.  There were also a lot of open spaces.  I introduced students to Mod Podge and that really helped. 

After the first collage piece was done, we spent a lot of time reflecting. We looked at some really good ones and we all learned the importance of small pieces and a variety of colors and textures. 

For the next collage, students could do whatever they wanted.  I opened up all the centers and students got to really explore mixed media. 

At the end of the unit, they filled out a reflection form I bought from Teachers Pay Teachers.  Overall, I’m very pleased with their results and hope they continue to explore mixed media collage in the future.  As of right now, they can identify it on their clothes and in different places when they see it so there is now a connection. 

This student laughed when I told him his pumpkin looked like three different kinds of bell peppers.  He understood the importance of using variations in color and using mall pieces.  His second shows a lot of detail. 

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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