Towards the end of my first year, I started building a class library of art books. Stories about art, famous artwork, and artist biographies. More about my favorite books later. My family came to visit that summer and brought a treasure---$100 of children's books I had ordered with the next year's budget.
Year two began with a different book for each grade level (Ish, The Dot, and others). At that time, I thought I would continue with those books every year, one permanently assigned to each grade level. I can't remember if I kept the tradition in year three, but year four brought a different idea. I kicked off the year with one book for the entire elementary school. Art is...
Beautiful Oops. It's part of my new stash. Broke the bank (or should I say, the budget) and brought back nearly $170 of books from my time in the states this summer. Well this book is unlike any I've seen before. If you haven't purchased it yet, rush out to your nearest bookstore and get it! I'd say order it online but amazon is temporarily out of stock. To call it a pop-up book is a gross understatement. Ripped pages, bent corners, flaps and overlays and crumpled up paper. Each "oops" is creatively transformed into something beautiful. Seemed perfect for art class!
While I want my students to practice good craftsmanship, sometimes you just have to make it work! Your neighbor drips paint on your picture--make it work. Don't like the line you drew in pen--make it work. A smudge and a smear--make it work.
Transform oops moments into a wonderful part of your finished work.
To practice, I asked students to pick an "oops" page from the board. (I clipped up scraps of paper with tears, folds, wrinkles, smears, smudges, and drips---most gathered from scrap piles in the teachers' workroom, a few with additional and intentional markings from my hand.) Students then used markers, colored pencils, scissors, and glue to modify and create masterpieces. Some of the students finished early and wanted to do a second piece. Others added lots of details. One particular first grade boy thought the challenge was too easy. After he beautified the smudge on his paper, he took some markers in hand and made some wild dashes along the bottom, chanting something about more mistakes and more oops. He then managed to incorporate those scribblings purposefully into his scene.
All the "oops" art will take over the bulletin boards outside my classroom next week. They are really quite special! I am more than pleased with the results. Some of the students were so engaged they wanted to continue working on their oops project next week!
(The picture above is also a small preview of some new displays in my room. Check back for more info about my word wall, noise chart, color wheel, and other additions in year five!)
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