Once Upon A Time Twelve – That Time We Fit The World In The Gym

This is a post about that time we fit the whole world in the gym with the Global Village project undertaken at Miscoe Hill School in the spring of 2007. This is the twelfth in a series of Legacy Posts about projects that happened early on in my art classroom. Recently I was able to tap into some archived photos that I thought had long ago disappeared. I’ve decided to write some blog posts incorporating these photos to share the memories and/or inspire others to try these projects. Some are very dear to me because I took risks with my students and the end result was big learning for all of us, especially me. Also, in my nineteenth year of teaching now, I realize that ideas, projects, and programs come and go, and sometimes come back again. These art projects are just a memory now, and I believe they are worth remembering and preserving. The first post in the series can be found here, and the rest of them follow. Simply search Once Upon A Time in the categories on the front page of the blog.

Global Village at Art Show 2007

I visited the International Museum of Folk Art in Santa Fe, New Mexico in the fall of 2006. Inspired by the many clay models of animals and figurines depicting cultures from around the world, I wondered if the Miscoe Hill art students in grades four through seven could use some of the same techniques for a large, collaborative Global Village.

I brought the idea to my former colleague, Leia Roberts, and she was open to giving it a shot. She was teaching grades four and five and I was teaching grades six and seven at the time. We decided to use air dried clay (we didn’t have a kiln at that time) for the figurines, and found objects for the buildings and landscape. We split the world by region and went about collecting resources for our students to refer to as they planned their tableaus. Students worked in small groups.

Art Show 2007

My older students were responsible for created the world map upon which we would place the tableaus. We used a book of outline maps to make transparencies, which we then enlarged with an overhead projector to trace on large white rolls of mural paper. This worked pretty well; our only problem was that the maps within the book were not relative in scale with each other. We went with it anyway…:

Meanwhile, as the maps were being made, students had begun creating their tableaus or dioramas. Leia and I decided on using the found objects and anything the students brought in from home. Keeping in mind our art rooms were often on the receiving end of emptied crafts closets, we had a lot of fabric, cardboard, straws, fiber fill, and many other materials. It was a great opportunity to use them for a great purpose.

Click on the first photo to view the gallery as a slideshow.

When the entire Global Village was laid out in the gym, we couldn’t help but beam with pride at the serious intentioned work of all of our art students. For that art show, we hung the regular artwork on our accordion display walls (we only had two then) on the actual day of the show. We never could have put it all together without the help of many parents who came in to give us and the students a hand in setting it up. Seriously, it really takes a village.

I have to say this is one of my all time favorite projects. It was a beautiful blend of collaboration, creativity, imagination, science, math, art, social studies, and an authentic project based learning experience. It was terrific!





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