Energy, creativity and sometimes, bodies have been flying at Campus Community School in Dover, DE (something about lots of kids in a tight space!) with my three day residency made possible by the Delaware Institute for the Arts in Education (DIAE.)

Monotype masks with collage

Proud masked third graders

Session #1 with each of the grades began with an *Ice Breaker (see below)an Introduction to the residency, and an opportunity to see, touch and talk about authentic Mexican Folk Masks generously loaned to the DIAE by a board member.

Collaborating with an energetic, creative, as well as highly knowledgeable and patient professional art teacher such as Jennifer Boland is inspiring- and fun.

3d paper mask

Jen Boland modeling one of her 7th grade students 3-D paper masks with collage.

In the 3 session residency with each of the two 3rd grade and two 7th grade classes we studied Mexican Folk Masks, talked about symbolism in art, the roles and functions of masks in culture, and then, created our own masks with paper and other materials.

Monoprint mask with collage

Monotype mask with collage

The third graders created their own animal templates and learned about printmaking using a table top etching press to print various textures and colors in our second session together. Session #3 (this week) the students learned about collage and “went to town.” Presenting their masks to their classmates, we discussed the masks they created observing similarities and differences within each tribe (a.k.a. art table.) Hands were shooting up anxious to share their observations and connections.   It was all we could do to have them leave their precious creations behind so Mrs. Boland could photograph them for Artsonia– before they could bring them home.

3-D paper mask with collage

A mask, a tower, a headdress… all of the above

The seventh grade focus was an introduction to working three dimensionally and learning about structure.

Bird mask made with paper and tissue collage

Colorful bird mask

We have one more day with one class of third graders and one class of seventh. I will add them to my Mask Making Board on Pinterest so be sure to check the board.

*Art Ice Breaker with Frida

Remember the childhood game of noticing called I Spy? How about the circle memory game that begins “I’m going on a picnic and I am bringing ___, ?” Each person in the circle repeats what the person(s) before them are bringing and adds what they are bringing to the picnic. You have to be a good listener in order to remember what the people before you are bringing- and in the correct order.

Frida Kahlo, Self Portrait with Thorn Necklace

Frida Kahlo, Self Portrait with Thorn Necklace

For my Ice Breaker with the students in Dover we put Frida Kahlo’s painting, Self Portrait with Thorn Necklace projected on the Smart Board and asked the students, one at a time to notice something in or about the painting (ex: I notice that there is a monkey on her shoulder) then the next person would say “I notice that there is a monkey on her shoulder and they would add what they notice.) We had some great listening, some help from the audience and it was the perfect intro to symbolism in Mexican art and culture.

What is/are your favorite ice breakers in the classroom?

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