Sunday, April 22, 2018

In the Art Room: Fourth Annual Chalked Ceiling Tile Event!

Well, here we are...it's that time of the year, y'all. Time for ALL THE THINGS TO HAPPEN ALL AT ONCE: Clay Week, Art Show Prep and our fourth annual Chalked Ceiling Tile Event!
 That's right...it's been four years now that my second grade kiddos have created legacy ceiling tiles to be permanently displaced in the ceiling of our school. What started out as an "alternative project" has quickly become a school-favorite and an annual event. You see, four years ago, I had a visiting sidewalk chalk artist come to our school with the idea that my students would also chalk outside right along with her. But on the big day, rain was in the forecast so we had to improvise. My admin had been requesting painted ceiling tiles...knowing that, I had my custodian buddy Mr. Scruggs (see here!) get me a tile and I played around with drawing on it. After fiddling with the front of the tile, I realized that the back actually worked better as it wasn't as porous. And that's how our Chalked Ceiling Tile Event was born. You can read all about our first event here and here
So what do you need for an event like this? The following supplies:

* Faber-Castell Chalk I used to swear by a brand called KOSS but I can no longer find it. So we started using Faber-Castell and it turns out I like it better! The colors are so vibrant and the shorter size is perfect for my student's hands.

* Ceiling Tiles We always have a ton on hand as we do this every year. We ALWAYS use the backside of the tile. One tile per kiddo.

* Foam Brushes These ceiling tiles are huge and would be much too difficult for the kids to blend colors with their bare hands. We use foam brushes for blending. I've had the same set of brushes for years now.

* Baby Wipes This is a messy task, not gonna lie. But with me being in charge of four classes of second graders, I'm not about to let them all loose on the bathrooms. So baby wipes it is!

* Bulletin Board Paper Again, this is messy...like having rainbow dust everywhere. So we try our hardest to control that by putting paper down on the floor of the multi-purpose room.

* Hairspray I always fix the tiles when we are finished by dousing them in hairspray. It will dull the colors slightly. However, the spray doesn't matter too much...the tiles are in the ceiling and therefore no one will be able to touch them and cause them to smear. 
So, how does it work? Well, I usually create a video to walk the kiddos through the process. This saves my voice in a loud space like this big room. I block out about an hour and a half to two hours of time for the kids to spend on their piece. I pool all of my second grade classes together and, well, we just go for it! It's loud, messy but beautiful and so much fun!
 Usually the classroom teachers will take 30 minute shifts during this time or my specials team will help out. Really tho, it's an easy event. Once all the kids are rolling and understand what to do, it's just fun to watch them roll up their sleeves and create. 
 Every year, we do something a little different. Our first year, we did the butterflies. The following year, we created flowers and last year, we made fish! You can watch the action here:
Here's the video I used to teach last year's tile: 
This year, Ms. Rebecca, our cafeteria manager, has requested healthy foods for the ceiling tiles. We're going to be creating fruits for our tiles...you'll have to stay tuned to see how they look!
  These tiles will remain on permanent display. I've been asked before how the kids react to this, knowing that they won't get their artwork back. We spend a lot of time chatting about what a legacy is and how important it is to "leave your mark". I've not had a student yet get upset about having their work up in the ceiling.
The only wear I've noticed from the tiles is some slight fading on the first year's butterflies...but I think that is hardly noticeable. Thankfully, Mr. Scruggs loves to hang these tiles. I hung the ones that are up in my art room and I ended up with a ton of chalk in my eyes! 
 He does a beautiful job of spacing these out and getting them up!
 On top of this big event, I also have first graders painting their clay projects and third graders FINALLY finishing their plaster crayons...the art show is quickly approaching so we are in "wrap it up" mode. 
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7 comments:

  1. Love these! How did your get permission to do these on the ceiling tiles from your district? I feel like it isn't allowed in mine but it is in others and was just curious. :)

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  2. Brilliant, love it. I can't see anything similar happening like this in the UK. We are swamped with health and safety regulations.

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  3. Are they considered outdoor chalks? I’m teaching art this summer for a month with a camp. This looks perfect. Going to do 3-5. Maybe insects, or flowers. I usually do 5th grade ceiling tiles with acrylics during the year it is a 2-3 month project. This will be quicker!

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  4. Hey Cassey! I love this! Did you spray them with fire retardant or fixative when you were done???

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    1. Anonymous4/28/2018

      I have the same question. It looks amazing but they're highly flammable if you spray them with hairspray.

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  5. wow! what a beautiful project. i love it. keep posting more
    Surprised at Thin Brick

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  6. OK. So, I am about to attempt this!!! Yikes. I did a sample one just to see how it would go. Since I am doing this as part of my guidance curriculum, my school is going to do inspirational quotes on the tiles instead of pictures. In the one that I attempted, the chalk disappeared so quickly that it was hard to get it vibrant likes your colors appear. Any suggestions? All three background colors of chalk disappeared in about 1 minute.I have a picture but can't seem to force it into this text box. In short, way too much background tile is showing and not enough chalk color. Any idea how regular sidewalk chalk would work? My system won't let me paint them because they are worried about them sticking to the gridwork of the drop ceiling.

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