Over 60 sixth grade students participated in Art Club for a week in October to create projects inspired by Dia de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead. This holiday is celebrated in Mexico and ties in with the Mexican folk art unit sixth grade students will study later this year.
Last year, Art Club was an application-required group with a limit of 25 students. These students were asked to commit two days of lunch/recess a week to attend art club for the entire spring semester. This resulted in inconsistent attendance, wavering levels of interest, and difficult planning.
I decided to revamp Art Club this year to make some improvements for myself and the students. The goal was to increase student participation, and provide a meaningful, productive focus. The application requirement was eliminated, and all students were welcome to participate. This year, Art Club will meet for one full week at a time, with weeks scheduled periodically throughout the year. Students are permitted to come any number of days, depending on their level of interest. Each week has a specific theme, with multiple project options for students to choose from.
Our first week of Art Club was from October 20th-24th. Each day was a full classroom of students. Some students came repeatedly, while others attended for one or two days. This allowed students who may be involved in other lunchtime activities to still participate. Students created various artworks inspired by Mexico’s sugar skulls. Students could pick and choose which projects they wanted to create. Throughout the week students made skulls from plaster, paper, or foil. They created papel picado banners from tissue paper, and watched video clips of Mexican celebrations and Dia de los Muertos films.
The week proved to be a great success compared to last year’s structure, in terms of participation and meaningful content. OES Art Club will continue with this structure, with week-long activities focused on a common theme.
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