Monday, September 12, 2011

round and round.

The first week of school was abbreviated due to the Labor Day holiday at one end and the SoCal blackout on the other, but the kids still produced something pretty darn cool.

I had bookmarked an image created by artist Lee Gainer over a year ago, and I finally got the chance to use it as  the inspiration for a project.

This artwork is a prime example of the importance of both unity and variety in an artwork. Most successful images find a working balance between these two principles. If an artwork is too unified it could be visually boring and if there is too much variety then the image could be too chaotic to take in.

I shared the image with the students and we identified how she created unity- repetition of shapes, and variety- different heights, widths, and colors.

I also shared that the materials used in the image were all recycled or leftover from other projects.

After giving the students the lowdown on Lee's artwork I told the students that they would be doing something similar. However, they would be working together and the final artwork would be very large.

Students started off by making cylinders of different heights and widths. Once these were complete I gave teams a couple plates with elmers glue and they dipped the bottom end of the cylinders in it and then placed it on a larger sheet of paper. Students could place smaller ones inside bigger ones and vice versa. When a sheet would become full, I would replace it with another sheet and the construction process would start anew.

This was a simple way of getting kids into my room to review rules and procedures and make something to beautify the school as well. Each class visited me for 30 minutes the 1st week, so students in 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th had a chance to participate in the project.

In a cliche way, I see our school in the project. Each of the cylinders is like a student, so are all unified in their desire to succeed and be a positive part of our school community. Each of those cylinders is different than the others in height, width, and color, just like each of our students is special and unique.

This project was also great for my classroom physical space because we were able to use up A LOT of paper that was leftover from projects done over the past couple of years. There is a lot less clutter in my cabinets!


  1. Nice to hear from you again! Love, Love, Love the cylinder project! Great way to "unify" the students in a "roundabout" way! I couldn't resist!

  2. Did you have them use glue when they first rolled the paper and made them into cylinders? or did they tape them?

  3. Ms. Shuman,
    The students used glue sticks to make a line of glue at one end of the strips. Looped to make a cylinder and count to a quick 10 while holding the glued portion to make sure it sticks.

  4. I did this with pre-school, and then with 3rd graders. It was such a great collaboration. Thank you for the great idea!

  5. Check out this blog to see the cylinders still in action and in Spanish!

  6. gracias por vuestro comentario. nos encanto la obra de lee gainer y todo el proyecto colaborativo que creasteis. Es increible la imagen que conseguimos con todos los cilindros juntos.Los niños y niñas han disfrutado manipulando, creando , inventando sus cilindros y su obra de arte y viendola plasmada en una obra comun. un saludo desde españa y felicidades por vuestro trabajo

  7. how did you attach the cylinders to the large paper?

  8. That is my question also, what did you do to make the cylinders adhere to the flat paper. Makes sense to previously glue/tape the cylinder forms into usable tubes, but do they contain glue flaps on the end? And can you give any advice as to the practical limitations of height cut for to make the cylinders form strips. The project reminded me of a kind of quilling project, on a more elementary scale where precision has more flexibility (as it should at this level). I love the triple benefits, a 3-D project (using scrape paper and glue -simple ingredients), cooperative learning/collaborative assignment, (if the large size of the viewed results) a community involvement/awareness project to be viewed/appreciated in a prominent area for all students and families to appreciate. Do you have just one large work of art being made by all classes? or each class makes one and is then displayed together to create an art event

  9. How did you attach the sections to the board?

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