One of the things I've learned lately about teaching, is that the better I lay out expectations FIRST, the better everything goes afterwards with students. It sounds obvious, but it's so key. Anyway, one of my expectations when doing a school-wide mural with kids, is TEAMWORK and COLLABORATION. Those are the biggies. Kids are expected to work together on the mural, and respect each other's ideas and contributions, for it all to come together. They might not get to paint the "coolest" or "best" part, or at least not on their own. It's everyone contributing to the whole, that makes it look nice in the end.
So to drive this point home, this was the first project I did with my most recent group of students. A collaborative mural....but in paper! This school's mission is about these 5 "Heart Skills", as they call them: Teamwork, Empathy, Honor, Accountability and Respect. Here's how we did this:
1.) First day: I had every student k-5 draw their self portrait on a 4.5 x 4.5" square.
2.) After that, if kids finished early, they were allowed to go over to our big butcher paper and paint designs with tempera around the words I had written in black paint.
3.) I glued every kid's self portrait down around the words. The kid's designs and colors peek through as the background.
** If I were to do this over again, I would have made it an even bigger piece of paper so that we could spread the portraits out a little more, and see more of the painting underneath.
This is SO worth it to do with kids. This is getting them ready to work TOGETHER, and turns out ridiculously cute and awesome. Also, nice enough to laminate or mount and hang somewhere as a mural in it's own right!
Happy paper mural-ing!