Positive and negative space is a new concept for my 3rd graders. Inspired by a local cut paper artist, I thought this project would be a simple 1-2 class project. We first reviewed line quality and "Stole a line" from a series of images in a powerpoint (kids drew on whiteboards building a composition with lines they saw in the images). We practiced ruler skills and measured out 2 inch marks at the top and bottom of our papers, then connected the dots across the page with various types of line. So far so good.
But whoah! Was I not prepared for the low scissor skills of this group of 3rd graders. Did we never pick up a pair of scissors in 2nd grade???? Students had a real challenge following the lines they drew with the scissors to cut them out. Of course, some had drawn amazingly detailed, fussy lines that any adult might find a challenge to cut out. I even had some kids break down and nearly give up because they felt they weren't good with scissors. Magic art teacher to the rescue! There was a box of special scissors (loop scissors that all you have to do is squeeze ad they spring back open) that I NEVER pulled out last year, but they are wonderful for some of my special needs kids with OT issues. Of course, everyone wants special scissors...
It was perhaps not the most exciting project ever, but it brought to light some interesting skills issues. The challenge level was huge for some of my students- but maybe that's why this was a good lesson for them. It took some ids 3 entire 50 minute class periods to finish! Others did an amazing job of careful cutting, arranging, and gluing and finished in one and a half classes! Go figure.
With the odd rate of completion on this project I had a bunch of kids who needed a new activity. This being Halloween week, I let them have a "freebie"- a project I would not grade and that was just for fun that they could take home immediately. It was not REALLY just for fun though- it was a super extension of positive and negative space by creating stencils!
Kids cut out a "spooky shape" from scrap paper, placed it on black paper and brushed white or orange color stick from the center outwards. I have no chalk- it would have been easier I think. After stenciling they went back in and added details as well as a "spooky message".