This is a fun project to do with your students at the end of the year. At first glance it looks like an art project (and it is!) but when you peel back the layers, you’ll see that it helps students develop their decision-making and reflection skills as well.
On top of that, the final piece is a visual representation of students’ successes and happy memories in their drama class. So grab your markers and get to crafting! And if you aren’t artsy or craftsy yourself, feel free to let your students take the lead on this one.
- Small, colourful pieces of paper to make cutouts (approximately post-it note size, but use whatever is appropriate for your students)
- Tape or glue
- A large piece of poster board (or another item to make the base of the poster/art piece)
- Any additional decorations you wish
1. As a class, have your students choose a small symbol that is easy to reproduce or cut out. You might choose hearts, snowflakes, speech bubbles, stars, clouds, leaves, or whatever you like. You can also use found items such as postcards, Instax photos, ribbons, magazine cutouts, leaves that have fallen to the ground — whatever makes sense for your class and is easily available to you. Students will be writing on the cutouts — more details on that below.
Ideally, your class will choose something personalized and representative of the subject or the students themselves. If you did a class production, you might choose something related to your show. For example, if you studied The Gorgon Sisters in your class, you might make cutouts in the shape of snakes (representing the snake-hair strands). If your class really enjoyed a unit on technical theatre, you could use cutouts of lights and microphones, or you could use fabric swatches for a class that loved costume work. If your class went on a field trip or had a guest speaker that really made an impact, you could design the cutout symbols around that.
2. Each student will take one of the cutouts and write down something they’ve achieved during the class (a success, a moment they’re proud of, something they learned, etc.). Keep the memories positive and encourage students to write in their own words: “I loved playing Heracles in The Gorgon Sisters,” “I learned so much from our stage makeup unit,” “I’ll never forget laughing really hard during improv class,” “I made so many new friends this semester,” “I’m proud of myself for performing a monologue for the first time.” It’s up to you whether you want your students to sign their cutouts or not.
3. Use the cutouts to make a poster or art piece, and display it with the class title and date, semester, or year. There are many different ways to create the piece. Going with the example of The Gorgon Sisters above, you might try one of the following:
- Mount the production poster or a group photo of the students on a piece of poster board and attach the students’ cutouts to it.
- Have a student who is a good artist draw or paint Stheno’s head on the poster board and place the snake cutouts around her head like hair.
- Create a 3D art piece by decorating a mannequin head or foam head and attaching the cutouts.
- Get a snake plushie and attach the cutouts to it with safety pins.
4. Eventually, if you continue this project over different classes and semesters, you can create an art installation with celebration posters/pieces from multiple drama classes to use as classroom décor. This way your drama students can look at the pieces and remember the good moments and their successes, and new students can look at the pieces as inspiration for the future.
5. If you wish, have students complete an exit slip at the end of the class (click the link below to get it!).Click here for a free exit slip.
Kerry Hishon is a director, actor, writer and stage combatant from London, Ontario, Canada. She blogs at www.kerryhishon.com.Want to find out more about our newest plays, resources and giveaways?
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