Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Papier Mache with 32 Students

Wow. Just wow. I have 4 different classes working on different papier-mache projects right now. We have already gone through 8 gallons of papier-mache mix.

Here are some images from one class. I wish you could see their faces! I loved editing and looking at these pictures. Sometimes it is hard to assess in the moment -when you are trying to keep everyone on-task and safe- how much fun the kids are having. Based on the pictures, my kids are having a blast!

I, however, may have earned a few gray hairs. ;)


  1. You are one brave and talented lady!!! Do you have a lot of storage? I know when completing clay I cannot handle more than 2 grade levels at a time!!

  2. Shannon, I do have quite a bit of storage space in the room, and open shelving. I use most of it to store supplies. I use the open shelving to store 8 bins (the number of tables I have) of each "free" material: colored pencils, crayons, markers, oil pastels, art stix, glue sticks, and scissors. I'm trying to teach my students personal responsibility. . .

    And, that is all great until it comes time to store sculpture! If you notice, all of their sculptures are attached to a clear cup. I had them write their name on the cup in permanent marker. Each class has a different storage "area" in one of the "low traffic" areas of my room. . .One the floor! I'm lucky in that my room is big enough to accommodate that. I didn't put down a floor covering (but should have!).

    So, yeah, I use the floor! haha! I've been using the floor for storage for years. . .And, I love it.

  3. Oh how I love papier-mache...

    Curious as to what you are building. You know I have an aversion to papier-mache-ing over balloons, ever since they all popped one afternoon (still covered w/wet goo). I use everything BUT balloons for armatures!

    I notice a couple of other things in the pics: it looks like your kids wear uniforms; am I correct? Also, it looks like you have WAY more boys than girls!

    Re: using the floor for storage - your custodians are OK with that? Mine would probably try to move them.

  4. Ms. Amy- what do you cover your tables with? Are they just plastic tablecloths? Do they stay on every class or just for 'messy' projects?
    I also use the floors for storage- I have the kids line projects up against the back wall. I have such little storage space :(

  5. Miss- I covered my tables with plastic tablecloths (actually donated after a big school function). I keep them on just for "messy" projects. This week everyone (6th, 7th, and 8th)was supposed to do papier mache, so I could keep the coverings on all week. . . BUT, the 7th grade got behind and that idea was thrown out. Since my schedule goes 2 8th grades, 2 7th grades, and then 2 6th grades I have to take off the coverings and then recover. . . IN..SANE..

    Phyl -Oh, I know the evvveeeeelsss of the balloons. I have more to say, but I don't want to "jinx" anything until the project is over, so I'll update. The 6th graders are doing these cools tie-dyed interior bowls (I'll do a Lesson Plan post), and the 8th graders are making some wicked cool "designer" bowls (we're doing some cool sculptural things with them after papier-mache etc.). The #1 thing my kiddos wanted to do was sculpture, so we're rocking out. The other issue is that only 2(!!!) have ever done papier-mache before, so i wanted to start from a place where I knew they would have some success. . .So, bowls it is!

  6. Phyl - Yes, my kids do wear uniforms, just like most kids in GA in Title I schools. They must wear a black, navy or white polo shirt with a collar with khaki, black or navy pants/shorts (or skirt for girls and NO cargos) and black shoes.

    Every once in awhile they earn a "dress down" day and I LOVE those days. The kids are so creative about how they express themselves through clothing. My students don't have a ton of $$ so a lot of them customize outfits with bleach pens, and paint. I love the art of dressing, so I get a kick out of it. And, I learn so much more about who they are when I can see how they choose to present themselves.

    I know all the great parts to the arguement about uniforms. . .But the kids love that I'm the only teacher in the building who will commiserate with them about the uniform. . Well, inasmuch as a I do. I typically just say: "Yeah. I'm not a fan of the uniform." And, leave it at that!

    I also have a ton of boys. The chorus, band, and orchestra is a "choice" option at my school, and they are able to un-invite students who behave poorly. And, you know Middle School boys. . .So, I end up with a lot of kids who either didn't choose a music course and/or were removed from a a music course due to some form of behavior etc. But in many ways that is okay because those "wild" kids are usually my most talented students. ;)

    It does, however, make class very intense at times. These boys are eager to define their "manhood" to one another!