Notebook, 1993-

MATERIALS & METHODS - A Perspective on Art Education - Activities for Children - Themes & Topics

Drawing & Painting -- Modeling & Sculpting

Fingerpainting -- Mural Making -- Paper-Mâché -- Puppets -- Mask-Making -- Crayon Encaustics -- Crayon Resist Drawing -- Crayon Sgraffito -- Collage -- Mobiles -- Watercolor -- Common Earth Clay -- Salt Ceramic [recipe] -- Clay / plasticene Non-hardening -- Carving in the Round -- Newspaper Modeling -- Paraffin or Wax Sculpture -- Plaster Plaques or Reliefs -- Relief in Plaster -- Relief in Soft Wood -- Repoussé -- Sandcasting -- Working With the Coping Saw or Jigsaw -- Straw/Toothpick Sculpting -- Painting on Window Glass -- Diorama -- Peep Shows -- Whittling -- Wire Sculpture

[From: [Meaning in Crafts. Mattil,, Edward L. Chairman, Dept. of Art, North Texas State University. Third Edition, Prentice-Hall, Inc., Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey, 1971.]

Mural Making

The making of a large group mural provides an excellent outlet for the feelings created at special seasons and holidays and develops within the children a spirit of cooperation and an understanding of the problems of their classmates. Imagine a classroom of fourth-grade children who want to make a large mural on brown wrapping paper for the impending Christmas or Chanukah seasons. Through group discussion, the class may select "our town during the December holidays" as a topic. The teacher may suggest, "Let us write on the board everything that we know about our town. How many parts are there to our town?" Back come the answers: the business section, industrial section, residential section, and so on. After the main headings have been written on the blackboard, the teacher may ask, "What kind of buildings would we find in each section?" Soon the board will be filled with the things that the children know about their community. Then the teacher may ask, "What makes our community different now from what it is like at any other season?" Some will suggest snow, colored lights, decorations, Christmas trees, people shopping, bundles, and so on. Finally, when all the fact have been written on the board, the teacher can suggest that they begin and asks each child to select one thing that he wants to make. After each child has made his choice and begun to work the teacher can select two or three children to prepare a background with tempera paint, chalk, or colored paper. They can work directly on the brown wrapping paper, which by now has been fastened onto the wall.

It is not necessary, or even good, to have a preconceived idea of how this may turn out, for as the children begin to work on the background, the ideas will flow freely. They will be able to solve the problems adequately without much assistance from the teacher. Meanwhile, at their seats, the children will be working along, some rapidly, some more slowly, and when the first ones finish, the teacher can suggest, "What important things have we omitted?" or "Suppose you start making the people or the trees." There is always a multitude of small details that need to be filled in, and by holding some of these back, a good balance can be kept on the use of class time so that all the children are working all the time.

When everyone has completed his task, including the small details, the group can put the work aside to discuss the organization of the mural. Now the teacher may ask, "What shall we put in the center of our mural?" and as decisions are made, one by one the buildings are brought up by the children and pinned temporarily to the background. Most likely there will be too many objects for each to be seen in its entirety, so the class will discuss the problem of overlapping. There may be an imbalance or poor distribution that the children will want to correct when they see the mural parts assembled. Through these overlappings in cut paper, the children can begin to understand the meaning of overlapping in drawing and painting. During the discussion the children will see that they need more of this or more of that, and later some children can volunteer to make the needed parts. Finally, when the group concludes that it has developed the best possible arrangement with the added parts, the whole mural is pasted into place.

In the end the children will experience a great delight in what they have accomplished as a group and will feel the real meaning and value of group activity. Each child will realize that he could not have done by himself what the group has done together. The poorest student can identify with this mural, realize that it is part his, and get a deep sense of accomplishment.

This mural procedure is only one of dozens of possible approaches. The class may use the same method by drawing or painting individual pictures, cutting them out, and pasting them on a background, or by having each child paint a part directly on a large mural. It is incorrect to think that one method is better than another. The teacher must simply make the decision as to what method will be most effective in his room based on the students' age, materials and time available, and interest.

[Meaning in Crafts. Mattil,, Edward L. Chairman, Dept. of Art, North Texas State University. Third Edition, Prentice-Hall, Inc., Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey, 1971.]



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