SchoolArts Magazine

MAY 2018

SchoolArts is a national art education magazine committed to promoting excellence, advocacy, and professional support for educators in the visual arts since 1901.

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20 MAY 2018 SchoolArts E L E M E N T A R Y each other. The first requirement was that the opposing teams must have some sort of connection, be it symbolic or ironic (e.g., shoes vs. feet, suns vs. moons, hamburgers vs. hotdogs, apples vs. oranges). The second requirement was to determine how to designate each team's king. In traditional checkers, the pieces are stacked to identify a king. If the shapes of the students' pieces did not lend themselves to stacking, they were required to find another method to denote which pieces were the kings. For example, one student made donut pieces. These were painted with a solid color on one side and with colorful sprinkles on the other. The student would play the game with the plain side showing and when that piece became a king, it would be flipped over to reveal the colorful sprinkle side. Starting with the Game Board Students created their game boards on 8 x 8" paper. I encouraged them to use any two contrasting colors, rather than the traditional black and red motif of a traditional checkers game. They used a ruler and pencil to draw a grid of 1" squares on the drawing paper. Then they outlined the boxes with black per - manent marker and colored them in an alternating pattern. E arly one school year, while reviewing my lessons for the semester, I was stuck in a rut. Having been teaching art for several years, I found myself repeat- ing the same lessons and projects over and over again. Yes, these lessons were successful. My students enjoyed them and they produced nice results. However, I felt like I needed to refresh my curriculum and challenged myself to reinvent several of my lessons. I decided to start by redesigning my lesson on utilitarian art. This was a ceramics lesson where students learned basic hand-building skills. Typically, they made functional ves - sels such as bowls, mugs, and other containers. I did an internet search for other functional items students could create instead. After some searching, an image of a chess set with sculpted pieces caught my attention. My stu - dents love games and I knew that they would jump at the opportunity to cre - ate their own game board and pieces. Chess or Checkers? I also knew, however, that sculpting a set of chess pieces would prove too time consuming for my fifth-graders. I decided, then, to have my students design and create their own checkers pieces and game board, thinking this approach might be more manageable and age-appropriate. Criteria We began with a brainstorming ses- sion where I first explained that the board game checkers is played on an 8 x 8" board and each player has twelve pieces. I asked each student to design two teams that would face Janice Corsino M tudents love games and I knew that the would jump at the opportunit o create their own game board and pieces. The Art Of CHECKERS Hayden and Ellie, grade five.

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