My JH students are a challenge. And yet they definitely have their moments as my favorites...if I had to choose. Being a K-12 art teacher, I get to see them all big and little. Those in the middle are just interesting. Mostly due to their trying to fit in and be cool, their hormones, and attitude. I have to say I am pretty pleased with some of my students who have stepped up to the plate. Being with the same students for 2 years now, I see growth and maturity in a lot of my students both artistically and in general.
My idea for this project came to me rather quickly and then exploded into this HUGE and FUN project for my 7th and 8th graders. I took a trip to the grocery store and bought these:
I have 12 students in my JH class so I bought 1 type of candy per student. I tried to be cheap, but also choose popular items that my students would enjoy creatively and as a snack too :)
I presented this display of candy to my students with the candy on a cart all covered up with a tablecloth. I kept calling the candy "items". I told the students that they would choose their item in order from oldest student to youngest student. They had to figure out the order as a bell work activity at the beginning of the hour. The oldest would be able to choose from 12 items, and each student would remove one item so there were fewer each time. The youngest who went last, would not have a choice but would get whatever item was left.
I moved the cart to the hallway and had students come out 1 at a time in their order to select their item. They then remained in the hallway until all students had their item. They had no idea it would be candy and boy were they excited!
I was very direct and specific with my directions, telling my students that if they worked hard and did what I asked that after a few days they would get to eat their candy during class.
After our candies were selected, we talked about how they could use some or all of their candy, could open it, break it, use the wrapper, etc. The sky was the limit. They setup their candy "still life" on a plate the way they wanted it and then they took a photograph of their composition. As each student was setting theirs up, I walked around and discussed opportunity for colors, textures, and arranging their candy in an interesting way.
Students then worked from their photograph grid style and also kept their plates set up to work from real life as well.
I had my students add color using oil pastels, and we did them really big on 18x24 paper. I liked having them use oil pastels because colored pencil would have taken a long time on such a large scale and with all of the color mixing and shading thought paint wouldn't turn out as well.
I am impressed with the results and ideas that my students came up with and although there will always be some better than others, they were all pretty good.