This lesson was discovered on the Incredible Art Department website. For those of you who haven’t visited there, go now! it’s a great resource for teachers everywhere. This lesson, in
particular, was submitted by Michelle Peacock of Mohave Middle School. Thanks Michelle for sharing!
I thought this was a perfect lesson to do with my fifth graders. I have many posters of Matisse’s artwork for inspiration, but if you don’t, simply talk about how cutting paper can express movement and emotion.
I gave each child a piece of white construction paper about 10 x 16. Each table had scissors and glue sticks (regular white glue is too messy for this project). At the back of my art room, I arranged scraps of paper. Note: This is a great project to do towards the end of the school year when your recycled paper box is very full.
I instructed the students to cut out the letters in their name plus something that is unique to them. I demonstrated that by reducing a large sheet of paper to a smaller rectangle or square, letters are easy to cut out. This can be a challenging lesson, and many kids will balk at not using a pencil, but don’t give in! I think being encouraged to “see” the shape and cutting it is beneficial. Of course, I stress that any shape, size or style is perfect.
We discussed the benefits of cutting all letters out first, then the back ground shapes and playing with the arrangement before gluing. Some kids will rush this part then be caught having to pull up their letters.
Here are a few finished pieces from students at Mountain View:
Student photographs: Brandon School
Artwork by Mrs. Bossee’s 5th grade students at Mountain View School