Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Messy Art Room Alert - bad choreography!

I think teaching elementary art involves a lot of choreography. You plan so that there aren't too many wet paintings at once for the drying rack, too many sculptures for the storage... oops. Somehow my 3-D projects have all bumped into each other as a result of bad timing.
So I have those 6th grade "people in motion" plaster bandage sculptures, 5th grade papier-mache flying pigs, and now 1st grade abstract cardboard sculpures growing - all at once!
Things are piled EVERYWHERE. It's going to get crazier when the papier-mache projects all get gooey, and even moreso when the pigs get their wings. And the cardboard sculptures will get taller, and then everything will need to get painted. YIKES!!!
The cardboard sculptures are one of my easiest, favorite-ist projects, always successful (at least as long as I'm using Elmer's Glue-All and not the inferior product, Elmer's School Glue). And it's no secret that I absolutely LOVE papier-mache. So my room may look like a disaster area, but it's happy!
* By the way - the piggie armature is a plastic bread bag stuffed with newspaper, and toilet paper rolls are cut in 1/2's to use for legs and snouts. Cereal boxes make ears, and will eventually make wings as well. Stay tuned, more to come!!


  1. Morning Phyl! I am having a bit of the same - penguin sculptures and 1st grade cardboard sculptures! No free flat surface!
    You can check out the 1st grade cardboard sculptures here:

    On the snow watch - we have a delayed opening for now, we will see if that changes!
    ~ Susan

  2. I'm a sixth grade teacher (math right now, but I've taught general ed too) and a paper mache artist. I've taught paper mache to many classes of kids. You are a brave soul! And you are a saint for exposing kids to this medium. I'll bet your classroom is exciting. If an art room isn't cluttered,then nothing is happening. A lot of great things happening in your room!

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  4. Hi Phyl! I'm stuck at home on another snow day.... Wish I could come work with you today. I was just wondering how you get your TP rolls. Do you save your own or have students bring them in?

  5. You truly are the papier-mache queen. Flying pigs? Can you get any more adorable???? As of today, I am saving my toilet paper rolls and bread bags.
    Thanks for the push!

  6. I am over the moon with excitement. My post has a comment from Dan the Monster Man!! I have been a devotee of his work since I bought a copy of his book The Simple Screamer back in the 80's. There is simply NOBODY who does papier-mache like this guy. I'm more excited than if a renowned contemporary artist like Jim Dine or Chuck Close or hey, even a movie star like Johnny Depp stopped by.

    You've got to check out his blog at (I tried to leave a comment but it hasn't shown up - will try again later) or his website at

    I have a lot of questions for Dan, beginning with HOW DO YOU FIND THE TIME? (He's also a teacher.) Thanks Dan for visiting my little blog! You've made my day! :-)

  7. Susan, your cardboard sculptures look awesome! Is that from my lesson plan? If so, thanks. If not, great minds think alike!! We didn't get more than a couple of flakes of snow. It all went toward you and NYC it seems.

  8. My bad habit is not putting the supplies away once the project is done. You could review the history of my school year by undigging a pile! Seems like if I do put it away I turn around and get it out again so I just wait until the year is over! I very much enjoy your blog :)!

  9. Hey Phyl! Yes, my cardboard sculptures are completely inspired by YOU! Thanks - The kiddos loved them!
    Happy Friday, enjoy the weekend! Susan

  10. I love the comment that if an art room isn't cluttered- there's nothing totally justifies those moments where I want to crawl under my desk and hide from the hurricane-force mess that my K, 3, and 8-12th grade students create. Right now I Have 3d sculpture book sculptures (thanks Phyl) from one end of the room to the other, ceramics waiting for a home, a still life and whatever I start with 3rd grade today.....Good luck everyone!