Elementary Studio Lesson
very art teacher needs a nofail, in the pocket, do anywhere lesson. My favorite
involves making sculptures
from recycled newspaper rolls. It can
be completed with one student or one
hundred, kindergarten through high
school, and everyone is always successful at it. This lesson also eliminates the "that's weird" and the "I
don't get it" conversations. I love it.
You can build large abstract group
installations, connect mathematically with geometry, or build small
individual sculptures. It's up to the
I begin with a quick study of installation artists such as Christo and
Jeanne-Claude, Andy Goldsworthy,
Judy Pfaff, and Rachel Whiteread.
Discussing these artists' goals and different use of materials helps students
visualize the possibilities and understand the meaning of installation art.
Making Newspaper rolls
After the introduction, it's time to
build the newspaper tubes. I divide the
class into groups and supply each with
a pile of newspaper and a few rolls of
masking tape. Then I demonstrate the
newspaper rolling technique.
As students work rolling tubes, I
turn on rock and roll music. I usually
have a "rolling" contest and let the
group with the most rolls at the end
of the class be the first ones to start
building at the next class.
A Collaborative Installation
Because the collaborative artwork
may swing or drop under its own
weight, make sure the school's motion
and light alarms are not on where the
work is hanging. (Ask for permission
before beginning the installation.)
Building outside on a sunny day or in
a covered area is also fun. I had a blos-