I explained that students would create armatures of their symbols, tape
them on the tubes, and then coat
everything with plaster. Students
spent the next week constructing
the armatures and plastering their
sections. When the students finished, they painted their sections
with black acrylic paint. Finally,
they carefully built up the surface
by dry brushing on several layers of
metallic acrylic paint.
When we finished painting, it
was time to stack our totem. We
used 1" sheetrock screws to hold the
four sections together. A base was
constructed out of cardboard and I
filled the bottom section with bags
of sand to prevent the sixteen-foot
totem from tipping over.
The totem was displayed at the
school district’s annual City-Wide
Art Show, where it received glowing reviews. This unique project
brought together two groups of
students who would not normally
interact socially or academically.
Ultimately, these students realized
that they had much in common.
The totem we created became a real
symbol of kinship for a new community of learners.
Michael Chiariello is an art teacher at
White Plains High School in New York.
Students apply media, techniques,
and processes with sufficient skill,
confidence, and sensitivity that
their intentions are carried out in
07-Totem-Websites- 2.ht m