Found Object Sculptures 

Create a Found Object Sculpture using small objects, a box lid, hot glue and spray paint.

Inspired by Louise Nevelson, second graders created a found object sculpture by working with their classmates. They could bring in an object or choose an object; then they chose where they wanted to glue it and voted on what color the artwork should be painted.

PowerPoint: Found Object Sculpture

Parent Letter: Found Object Letter (Edit it with your school’s info)

Art Display Sign: Found Object Sign

Supplies:

  • Small objects
  • Cardboard box lids
  • Hot glue
  • Donated spray paint

 

Create a Found Object Sculpture using small objects, a box lid, hot glue and spray paint.

At every Showcase, I display a piece of collaborative artwork that the classes worked on together. Sometimes, it comes together as one large mural-type display. Sometimes, four students will work together to create poster-sized art. Because the second grade Showcase was scheduled for January, I planned a project that they could complete in one art rotation.

Image result for louise nevelson sky cathedral
Sky Cathedral, Louise Nevelson, 1958

I started by sending letters home with my students, after we talked about Louise Nevelson and found object art. I emphasized that they would not be getting their objects back and that the object needed to be small enough that it could fit in your pocket. I had bags for each second grade homeroom so that kids could give their object to me early. By pure luck, I happened to have recess duty that week, so I also collected their objects in the morning.

Create a Found Object Sculpture using small objects, a box lid, hot glue and spray paint.

I emailed the faculty and staff at our school, asking for donations of partially used spray paint. We ended up with so many contributions! I also scavenged in my classroom and found a bunch of random objects that students could choose from if they forgot to bring an object. I asked the office to save a few cardboard lids from our paper boxes. It was pretty cool to be creating a project using all donated and free supplies!

Create a Found Object Sculpture using small objects, a box lid, hot glue and spray paint.

On the day of the project, we started by talking about found object art and voting on what color the class wanted their sculpture to be spray painted. They chose between two different colors.  I have three 2nd grade classes each day, so I recorded each class’ vote and explained that the color with 2 or more votes would win.

Create a Found Object Sculpture using small objects, a box lid, hot glue and spray paint.

During class, I had a drawing project that they were working on at their tables. I called up one group at a time and had them show me where they wanted their object glued. After I put the hot glue on the right spot, they could choose to place their object themselves.

 

Create a Found Object Sculpture using small objects, a box lid, hot glue and spray paint.

At the end of each day, I spray painted the artwork the color that the classes had chosen. For our Showcase, I used a staple gun to secure them to the wall. (Another reason to encourage kids to bring small objects! There were a couple of sculptures I was afraid were going to be too heavy.)

Create a Found Object Sculpture using small objects, a box lid, hot glue and spray paint.

It was so much fun to see the second graders talking about the sculptures with their families at the Showcase. There were big groups of people who stood and observed the art for a long time! The students were so excited to search and find the object they had added.

 

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Installation Art

Create installation art using everyday materials and change the way people see a space.

Elementary art students worked together to create installation art using everyday materials and displayed them on campus.

PowerPoint: Installation Art

Art Display Sign: Installation Art Sign

Safety Pledge: Hot Glue Pledge

Supplies: Whatever extra stuff you have crowding your cabinets!

Create installation art using everyday materials and change the way people see a space.

For our art program, I needed to do two things: 1) Fill in the weird schedule gap caused by our Field Days. 2) Use up the boxes of donated supplies that I wasn’t going to be able to move to our new school. Installation art was the perfect solution!

I started by grouping our supplies into sets that would work well together. I had pipe cleaners, foam shapes, cardboard tubes, art straws, wooden blocks, popsicle sticks and bamboo skewers. The foam shapes worked well with the pipe cleaners and skewers. For the other materials, I gave each table an adhesive, like masking tape or hot glue.

Create installation art using everyday materials and change the way people see a space.

About a week before we started, I set up a hot glue station at the back of the room. Kiddos who finished their art project early helped glue the popsicle sticks into triangles and squares. Having those pieces ready to go really streamlined the building process.

Create installation art using everyday materials and change the way people see a space.

I made a very big deal about the hot glue safety rules! Each students had to sign the Safety Pledge and wear gloves to protect their hands from accidents. (I was thrilled to find kid-sized gardening gloves at the Target Dollar Spot!)

Create installation art using everyday materials and change the way people see a space.

On the first day, each table brainstormed about how they were going to use the materials and where they would want the sculpture displayed. At the end of each class, they wrote a note for the kids who would be at their table next.

Create installation art using everyday materials and change the way people see a space.

I changed the set-up of the tables as each of the sculptures got to a new step or were completed. By the end of the week, the cardboard tube sculpture took up 3 different tables: one for taping, one for painting the outside and one for painting the inside.

We installed the sculptures in waves; as soon as one was finished, I would assign a table to take the pieces outside and secure it in the ground. Bamboo skewers and tape helped to hold up some of the more flexible artwork. The students taped laminated signs about installation art to the sides of some old magazine holders. Bamboo skewers were able to keep the sign boxes in place.

The installation art made quite a splash! The students were so excited to see the finished projects they had helped with. Teachers and parents also commented on how much they enjoyed the artwork. It was a fun way to introduce an new art concept to our school’s community.

Motivate Students with Art Tickets

It’s important to me that I have meaningful incentives built into my classroom routines. I wanted to use something more substantial than a box of trinkets to motivate my students. I came up with three different Art Tickets that students can choose from. I love that the tickets are for things that really matter to the kids, but are also completely or almost free for me to provide.

Motivate students using meaningful incentives.

The Sit By a Friend Ticket is a big hit because I have a seating chart that students have to follow every day, except for during centers. When a kid complains about not being able to sit where they want, I remind them that they can earn a ticket to choose their seat for a day.

Motivate students using meaningful incentives.

Our mascot is the eagle, so I bought a stuffed eagle that kids can have sit with them at their table for the day. I also brought in an octopus puppet that my dad gave me for Christmas. The kids love to us their Eagle Handler Ticket and have one of them sit at their table for the day. Some of my 4th graders even made necklaces for the eagle!

Motivate students using meaningful incentives.

The students work throughout the week to earn time for centers every Friday. On Fridays, I put out a Golden Ticket center. This is by far the most popular ticket! The play-doh and modeling clay were donated to my classroom (I think I’ve had the modeling clay for about 7 years now!) I fill the watercolor tub with paint trays that were used for a project, but still have all the colors in them.

At the beginning of the quarter, I have my students work in teams to do a scavenger hunt for important places in the art classroom. The winning table all get to choose an art ticket. That day I send home a wish list of supplies they can donate. I make sure to have items on the list that don’t cost any money, like old newspapers or magazines.When a student brings in supplies, they get to choose an art ticket.

Motivate students using meaningful incentives.

Students can also earn a ticket by helping me with a job. I have to make it clear that these are not the normal jobs they do when they clean up at the end of class. I keep a list of things I need help with and if a student finishes their work early or wants to help with something during Centers, I find them a job. I try to make sure that every student who wants to earn a ticket can. (I have been known to have someone organize the bookcases or dust the shelves if I am out of jobs, but a student is eager to help.)

For some classes, I award art tickets when a student or a few students are being a leader by following directions. I try not to lean on this strategy too much with my classroom management because it can cause other students to feel like I haven’t noticed how hard they are working. But every now and then, it’s nice to recognize outstanding behavior.

I love using this ticket system because it gets my students involved and excited about the art room and it is incredibly simple for me to maintain. Classes that bring their binders are responsible for keeping up with their tickets. I keep a baggie in the class drawer for tickets if a class is coming from PE or lunch, but they know they are responsible for writing their name on it and putting it up.

Downloadable Tickets: Golden Ticket, Sit with a Friend Ticket, Eagle Handler Ticket

Downloadable Poster: Earn an Art Ticket