I had a hand in how this school’s 2nd grade class celebrated 50 years of open doors. Like this school, Hawaii was turning 50 years old as well. And the school mascot is a Panther. I think that explains the fun artwork.
First, I outlined the design on the wall in sharpie, so the kids could clearly see it, then divided the square footage by the number of students participating in the project. I had the game plan in mind for how this would go.
I had done drawing instruction inside the classroom with a lot of success at KR Smith, so the students were familiar with me. The 2nd grade teachers each brought their classes out to discuss the project and the rules before getting started so the interruptions to classroom learning were limited. I then asked each student, in groups of six at a time, to come out quietly and paint a shape or 6 inch by 6 inch space/area. Each student was to tap the next student on the shoulder and pass them their smock.
Let me say, the students treated it like the privilege it was. They get to leave their mark on the school forever. Each student painted between 5-10 minutes and the students were wonderful throughout. Of course they were. It was so much fun to do. Bit by bit, the artwork came to life.
Even before we had finished the mural, the students felt a sense of pride and enthusiasm in their school and their work. The response was immediate and amazing. It was overwhelming, They’ll always remember painting Hawaii and this experience they shared with their fellow students.
From there, I added my Gemellos touch. I detailed the mural and outlined the images. I added colorful seashells. I added textures and rocks. I didn’t need to touch the water or trees at all. The students did a great job. They added the bubbles and their natural fill patterns blended into an awesome wave. Now, we’re ready for the writing.
I taped up a large arch on the mural, which is a lot harder than it initially seems, and the portion I was going to write in the sand. The teachers decided that the most diplomatic way to do this was pick their students of the week. This was a fair pick of the draw and being rewarded for improvement.
These students, one from each class, did the writing in the arch I had created and we picked a new student for every letter and in a new style every time. In their own handwritings and without matching each other. This was like having a physical font picker. It was so cool to orchestrate this little group. I had them writing @ symbols and numbers too, which they eventually understood towards the end.
In the end, the 2nd grade students had a great time creating something beautiful and long-lasting at their school. They’ll always feel that pride I feel when painting. They’ll walk by it for years to come and feel a little joy knowing they put it there.
We did this project beautiful common core, but in the future, I might apply mathematic and writing properties into the creation of this with older students.