In my classroom, the first day of school is for games. Kids learn more when content is connected to fun and I want them to start internalizing my Artistic Thinking Process (ATP), the framework I structure all class content around, ASAP. So I build games to teach it, as well to get to know each other and have fun.
This year's version, Can You Build It?, had three rounds, meant to introduce a variety of Inspiration and Development strategies, along with collaboration and problem solving.
As kids come in the classroom I hand them a card which tells them what table to sit at, keeping groups even. The class period starts with a brief survey using Google Forms. I ask about student's experience, goals for the class and a bit about them. During this time I ask everyone to write one verb on the card I gave them. I collect the cards to be used for round 2 and start the game.
I've written about each section below using the ATP framework.
Round 1: Cup Stack
Challenge - stack the cups as high as you can in ten minutes. No adhesives. Points for height and aesthetics.
Materials: styrofoam cups
Inspiration: New media.
Development: Experiment. Give groups a few minutes to mess around with the cups to figure out a plan for stacking.
Creation: Students stack and build for 10 minutes!
Reflection: Each group shares their strategy with the class.
Round 2: Active Illustration
Challenge - communicate the work on the card your team selects by acting it out. No sound. There must be a visual element created by the team. Points for craftsmanship, clear communication and use of humor.
Materials: Verb cards that students created during the survey, plus a range of materials for construction. I let my kids use paper, construction paper scraps, newspaper, markers, tape and scissors.
Development: Brainstorm. Give groups a few minutes to list ideas for communicating their word.
Creation: Quick! 15 minutes to create presentations and the visual component.
Presentation: Each group performs, then the class attempts to guess their word.
****Not pictured because I was laughing so hard during the presentations I forgot to take photos!***
Round 3: Table Mascot or Logo
Challenge - create a mascot or logo for your table group using symbolism.
Materials: choice of 2D media, poster size paper.
Inspiration: Guiding question.
Development: Research. What do you have in common? How can you communicate it visually?
Creation: Students work together to create images.
Presentation/ Reflection: Each group presents, sharing how they used symbolism to represent the group.
Now I know my kids better and have some pretty awesome decorations.
I'm an high school art teacher who's really interested in student choice and creating opportunities for self expression. I'm also a writer for The Art of Education and co-author of The Open Art Room.