Tuesday, September 18, 2012

In the Art Room: We are the World

Okay, this is gonna totally date me, but I was 10 years old when a group of the biggest 1980's celebrities gathered together to sing "We are the World". That was 1985 and I remember so many things about that year: my brother was born, forever ending my "only child" status; Haley's Comet made it's every-75-year appearance; my fifth grade teacher encouraged my love of creating and I loved her for that; a month into 1986, we watched in horror as the Challenger exploded. And the rock stars of the  mid-80's lead us all to believe that we could change the world. That's a lot of memories to pack into one year.
A World of Artists

I'm sorry. Maybe it's the weather, but I'm feeling sentimental of late. And this mural created by the students, faculty and staff of my school reminded me of that song. I can still see Bruce Springsteen (my all time fave), Michael Jackson and Lionel Richie (who both penned the tune), Tina Turner, Cyndi Lauper and so many others singing and swaying. 

But silly me. This is an "In the Art Room" post, not a kumbaya/hand holding session. I best digress before I become a mushy mess of memories.

Let's talk about the map, shall we? Every new school year, the kids create one big school mural together. Last year, we did the Self-Portrait/Rainbow Mural that is all over pinterest. It was a hit. I knew I wanted to do another mural that would tie in with our travel theme. A map of the world seemed like the answer. To begin, each student created a self-portrait in pencil and traced over it in Sharpie on a 3" X 3" piece of paper.

From there, students were given either all blue, green or yellow colored pencils and markers to color their mini-portrait. After looking at a map, students understood that they were either going to be in the water, on the land or apart of the frame.
I did some (very bad) calculations to come up with the size of the map. I was off. Way off. I'll show you how I attempted to correct that in a moment.
As the kids began finishing their portraits, I began gluing them to the map. As it filled up, some kids volunteered to use half green and half blue to be apart of the coastline. I placed their drawings on the map and lightly drew in pencil where the blue and green should be.

As you can see, once the portraits were glued, it was difficult to visually separate the land from the water. This had me seriously perplexed.
You might notice that some self-portraits were created on blue copy paper. Those were created by our faculty and staff in a pinch at a faculty meeting. The kids have loved seeing the drawings created by their teachers.
Thankfully, I've had this great group of art education students hanging out in my room a couple times a week. They volunteered to finish gluing down all of those little masterpieces. They also came up with the idea of outlining the continents to make them more prominent. That college education is really payin' off for them, don't you think?

Oh, look! It's Europe, our destination for this school year. Since having snapped these photos. I've made a little yellow dot with a string attached to show just where we are headed first. Paris, France, ya'll!
Those lovely college girls also crafted this nifty grid so the kids can (hopefully) find their self-portrait. Although they mostly just come up to me and say, "Where am I?" To which I reply, "Why, you are all over the world!"
Okay, so I did the math and came up with a 6' X 5' dimension. I drew out the map, painted it and was pretty proud of my mad multiplication skillz. And then, completely forgetting about my calculations, I decided to have the kids create this yellow border. Which lead to a whole lotta South Pacific emptiness. 

Solution? A compass rose. The kids learn about them later in the year...and it sure turned out pretty, if I do say so. Not only that, but I now have room for new kids to add their drawing to the mix. So, happy accident, says me.
Do you think we are just a little excited about our Parisian Adventure?
And there you have it, one We are the World complete. Thank you for indulging my memory lane stroll. Now I'm off to youtube to enjoy those mushy feel-good memories.


  1. Beautiful work, artists! Now I'll be hearing that song in my mind all day. (Thanks for the memories.)

  2. Great project.
    But I had to laugh at your 'this is going to date me' statement. You make me feel old. I was 7 in 1959 when Barbie came out in her Black &white striped bathing suit; I was12 in 1964 when the Beatles 1st came to the US; I was 16 in1969 when the Woodstock Festival took place. So in 1985 I was 33 and had already been teaching 9 years.

  3. splendido lavoro !

  4. Anonymous5/28/2013

    Cassie, How long did it take to complete this mural?

    1. Well, for the kids to create the drawings, that probably took 45 minutes. Painting the backdrop map and adding the portraits ... well, I had some local college kids work on that for me ;) I'd say it probably took them about 2 hours to complete.

  5. You are amazing! We are planning a "World Art Tour" for our school's art show next year to coincide with the World Cup that our Health and Fitness teacher will coordinate. You have such great ideas - I especially love this mural. I appreciate all the inspiration (and funny posts)!

  6. I never saw this one! I love it and will be doing it someday... Thanks!

  7. How did you know how many students to assign green, blue, and yellow? Did you trace the continents over the self-portraits? How many students participated in the project?


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