began painting a background with
watercolors on 12 x 18" ( 24 x 36
cm) tag board. The
typically splatter-painted or had simple
patterns or borders
that wouldn’t distract
from the figure.
While the backgrounds dried, students cut shapes for their figures.
Over the course of several classes,
students cut out and stored shapes
in envelopes with their names on
them. I did not want them to glue
pieces down until enough shapes
had been cut in order to determine if
their figures would fill the space. If a
shape was not large enough, it could
be re-cut, or if it was
too big, they could
trim it down. Once
all the shapes were
cut and arranged on
the background, stu-
dents began gluing
down the pieces.
• use details and layering in the
design of the figures?
• use clean and neat artistry?
The figures’ body
positions push the
edges of the frame as
though they are being
constricted or confined.
Emily O’Connell teaches art at Mill
Creek Upper Elementary School in Belton, Missouri. firstname.lastname@example.org
To what extent did students:
• arrange shapes in a way that shows
energy and movement?
• demonstrate an effective use of
space, pushing the edges of the
frame with the figure?
Students intentionally take advantage of the qualities and characteristics of art media, techniques, and
processes to enhance communication
of their experiences and ideas.