City Collages 

Make a city collage by cutting shapes out of patterned or textured magazine pages.

Third grade students cut out textures and patterns from magazines to create a City Collage.

Art Lesson Video: City Collages

PowerPoint: City Collages

Supplies:

  • 9″ x 12″ paper
  • Magazines
  • Scissors
  • Glue sticks
  • Scrap paper to use as glue mats

 

Make a city collage by cutting shapes out of patterned or textured magazine pages.

One of the things I have learned this year with our six day rotation schedule is to embrace the madness! It doesn’t matter how hard I try to get all of my classes back to the same spot in the schedule, something will always come up and throw us off. Engaging, one day art projects have become my go-to solution.

Make a city collage by cutting shapes out of patterned or textured magazine pages.

I needed a project that was simple enough that my students could finish it in one class period, but challenging enough that they wouldn’t be bored. I decided to go with a collage project that focused on using patterns and texture.

Make a city collage by cutting shapes out of patterned or textured magazine pages.

After the first rotation, I realized I needed to emphasize what patterns and textures would look like. I chose a page from a magazine that had examples of what would and wouldn’t work. The most common misconception was that they were supposed to cut out pictures or words.

Make a city collage by cutting shapes out of patterned or textured magazine pages.

They really enjoyed looking through the magazines to find interesting patterns and textures. We had a lot of fun conversations and some students were sharing and exchanging pages they had found. There were a few kiddos who needed an initial boost to get started. For them, I went through and pointed out 3-5 patterns or textures that they could choose.

Make a city collage by cutting shapes out of patterned or textured magazine pages.

I made a really big deal about “flippy flappies.” When a students brought me their artwork to turn it in, I showed them how to bend it slightly. Any “flippy flappies” that stuck out needed to be glued down more. (When Showcase time came, I was so glad I had done this. Their artwork stayed much more secure in the hallway.)

Make a city collage by cutting shapes out of patterned or textured magazine pages.

If I had needed to, I could have extended this to a two day project. Some classes only had a handful that didn’t finish, but in other classes there were 7-10 who needed more time. Several of the students who needed more time were really invested in the project and spent almost their whole Center’s Day finishing it!

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Monarchs and Milkweeds: Collaborative Collage

A collaborative art project that combines scientific observation of a monarch's life cycle with a group collage project.

I was excited to bring four monarch caterpillars to our Art Room for my third graders to observe for their collaborative art project based on the monarch’s life cycle.

YouTube Playlist: Monarch Videos

Day 1: Observe and Sketch

Day 2: Painted Paper

Day 3: Collaborative Collage

Each class period, they got to observe the caterpillars. This was truly the most joyful part of our year! Every day they saw something new – they were so surprised by how quickly they grew. I had a couple of classes that were fascinated by the caterpillar poop. I told them they could talk about it, but they had to use the scientific word for it – fras.

I created videos so that I could share interesting moments with the classes that missed them. For a few weeks, it became a wonderful ritual that we would watch the latest video during our Circle Time at the end of class. One lucky group was there when a caterpillar morphed into a chrysalis. Another class got to be there when we released one of the butterflies.

A collaborative art project that combines scientific observation of a monarch's life cycle with a group collage project.

Monarch Caterpillars Video: Monarch Caterpillar Growth StagesMonarch Caterpillar Eating MilkweedMonarch Caterpillar Makes Path of Silk

A collaborative art project that combines scientific observation of a monarch's life cycle with a group collage project.

Chrysalis Video: Monarch Caterpillar Morphs into Chrysalis

A collaborative art project that combines scientific observation of a monarch's life cycle with a group collage project.

Monarch Butterfly Video: Monarch Butterfly Release

Warm and Cool Shapes

Students glue down organic and geometric shapes, then fill the background with warm or cool colored lines. Elementary art project

After cutting and gluing organic and geometric shapes, elementary art students use warm or cool colored markers to fill the background of their artwork with lines.

Art Lesson Videos: Warm and Cool Shapes, Part 1 & Warm and Cool Shapes, Part 2

PowerPoint: Warm and Cool Shapes

Supplies:

  • 9″ x 12″ white paper
  • Sets of warm and cool colored construction paper
  • Scissors
  • Glue sticks
  • Sets of warm and cool colored markers

Students glue down organic and geometric shapes, then fill the background with warm or cool colored lines. Elementary art project

I really enjoyed starting the year with this project! It was the perfect balance of structure and freedom. I was inspired by a lesson I saw on Art Tango and decided to make it appropriate for my third graders by allowing them to make more of the artistic decisions. I tried to step back during the first day while they were cutting out and gluing down shapes. I wanted them to have the creative freedom to make different choices than the steps they saw in the demonstration video.

Students glue down organic and geometric shapes, then fill the background with warm or cool colored lines. Elementary art project

I wanted them to have the creative freedom to make different choices than the steps they saw in the demonstration video.

Students glue down organic and geometric shapes, then fill the background with warm or cool colored lines. Elementary art project

I let them decide how big or small they wanted their shapes to be. I didn’t put any limitations on how many shapes they needed to have or if their shapes could overlap. During the first day of this project, our room had that pleasant buzz of kids working! I overheard so many great conversations as they brainstormed with each other about their art.

Students glue down organic and geometric shapes, then fill the background with warm or cool colored lines. Elementary art project

On the second day, I had some kids that jumped right in to drawing lines to fill their background. There were other students who needed a little more direction one on one. I told them to start out by drawing an outline around each shape three times. After that, I showed them how to fill in the new spaces their outline had created.

Students glue down organic and geometric shapes, then fill the background with warm or cool colored lines. Elementary art project

In the demonstration video and during class, I made sure they knew that they could be creative and come up with their own way of using lines to fill the back ground. It was so much fun to see how unique everyone’s artwork was!

Students glue down organic and geometric shapes, then fill the background with warm or cool colored lines. Elementary art project

This was a great project to set the tone for how the art room operates. Students had a chance to see that they have the creative freedom to make different choices about their art. The project also had enough structure that they were able to learn the art room procedures and expectations.

Students glue down organic and geometric shapes, then fill the background with warm or cool colored lines. Elementary art project

 

 

Shape Robots

 

3rd graders use organic and geometric shapes to create robots.

To create a collage robot, third grade students cut out and glued down overlapping organic and geometric shapes.

Supplies:

  • Glue Sticks
  • Scissors (mix of small and larger sizes)
  • Construction Paper
  • Pencils, erasers

Downloadable PowerPoint: Shape Robots

One of the challenges of teaching elementary art is learning to think like a kid again. What is fun? What is challenging? What concepts do you already understand? What concepts do you need to have explained?

3rd graders use organic and geometric shapes to create robots.
The first time I taught this robot shape lesson, I jumped right in! It seemed like a simple, straight-forward project. I was surprised to find out that many of my third graders were baffled by the idea of overlapping shapes to create an image. So with the next class, I broke it down into the easy steps. We compared my sketch to the robot I had started; we talked about how I glued down the larger shapes first and picked different colors for the smaller shapes that went on top.

3rd graders use organic and geometric shapes to create robots.

Once I had the kinks worked out, this became a great project to start off the new quarter. I begin the lesson by having the kids brainstorm what they would look like as a robot. It makes the assignment so much more fun to connect it to a self-portrait.

3rd graders use organic and geometric shapes to create robots.

My students start off by sketching their robot – I remind them to draw their shapes big enough so they fill the whole paper. Otherwise, they won’t have room to fit the smaller detail shapes inside. Usually, the sketching step takes one class period. If I have a couple students finish early, I let them work in their sketchbook until the end of class.

3rd graders use organic and geometric shapes to create robots.

Before we start cutting and gluing on the second day, I do a quick demo. I don’t take anything for granted! I show them step by step the easiest ways to cut out shapes (cut with the inside corner of the scissors; turn the paper, not your hand) and glue them down (put the shape onto scrap paper so glue doesn’t get on the table). I also emphasize that the shapes don’t have to look exactly the same as they do in the sketch, because sketches are like rough drafts.

3rd graders use organic and geometric shapes to create robots.

I use plastic magazine holders as a way to keep the construction paper at each table organized. I also have a system where students can line up by the paper shelves if they need more of a color. If I see them there, I come over and give them the color they need. I like that it gives the kids autonomy to get up and move around the room when they need something. But that is balanced with me helping them get materials so that the shelves don’t get crazy messy and kids don’t end up with five sheets of green paper that all have just one shape cut out of it.

3rd graders use organic and geometric shapes to create robots.

The only downside to this project is the little scraps of paper that take over my room! When it’s time to clean-up, I show them how to dump out all of the paper in their holder. Anything that is smaller than their hand, they recycle. Everything else gets stacked together neatly and put back in the holder. Instead of doing Circle Time, I have each kid pick up three scraps off the floor as their ticket out the door. And it truly is their ticket! I might I have to insist with one student per class that they have to do their part before they leave.

3rd graders use organic and geometric shapes to create robots.

I love how diverse the artwork is at the end of this project! Each kid has a chance to create something from their imagination; I’m always surprised by what they come up with. This project also really pops out when it’s matted and hanging in the hall for the art show at the end of the quarter.