Today, I was facilitating an art project in the after school program that I'm a "teacher" at (I put 'teacher' in quotes because I don't really feel that I am a teacher to the extent that non-supplementary program teachers are, but that's another story). Contrary to last Friday's art project, it went pretty well.
For last Friday's art project, we were trying to make a flower that had hand prints for petals. I'll call it... a hand-flower. I forgot to take it with me... so I can't show you a picture right now. I'll have to upload it later. There were three particular girls in the group that tore my project apart before my very eyes. What I mean by that is that I had placed all the construction paper on the table and as soon as I placed it down, all of them just grabbed at it before I could even open my mouth to give directions. And, when I tried to give them directions, they weren't even paying attention to me. I recall one student saying "Yea yea yea... we know how to do it." For example, I was trying to give them a specific number of hands that they need to trace and how to place their hands on the paper plate, but they wanted to simply place as many hands as they could. That was kind of upsetting since that was the same day that I arrived from the 6th grade onslaught. In other words, I lost most of the control of the project. The remaining five students were listening to my directions. So, I got lucky there.
Today's art project was extremely simple. It's referred to as "string of leaves." Contrary to this project, I did not use construction paper for the leaves. I went outside and picked up a bunch of real leaves. I did that for a few reasons. #1 I thought that the real leaves might be more interesting than the... fake ones that I had. #2 It's cheaper. #3 It doesn't require cutting out pictures of leaves. As the title indicates, this time around, I was able to significantly restrict the level of chaos this time around. This project only required three kinds of materials: 5 pieces of tape per person, 5 leaves per person, and 5 pre-cut pieces of string. I only had three students for this project. I broke the project into segments in terms of how I restricted their access to supplies. Now, they had no choice but to listen to me explain how to do it.
The first segment of the project was that they would attach some tape to the stem of each of their leaves, which I tore off for them. I didn't give them access to string until they attached a piece of tape to each stem. And then, the second segment begins. Once they showed me that their tape was satisfactorily attached, I gave them some string to attach it to. And, that's it.
Wish I had figured this out sooner... The project went a lot smoother. Had I left all the materials out as I did before, I'm pretty confident that chaos would have revisited me. I suspect that that is true since today, I left the tape out for a moment and one of the students was already trying to grab at it before I could say anything. Anyway, here's the end result:
That's mine... Yea... I know it's not that pretty. That's ok. The project as a whole went much better than Friday. :-) That's good enough for me.