Sunday, May 5, 2019

Fifth Annual Chalked Ceiling Tile Event!

This year marks our fifth to do the chalked ceiling tiles with second grade. I can't believe it's been five years...and I'm happy to say that this year's was by far the easiest and least stressful. I guess I've finally learn a thing or two after all these years! 

In case you aren't familiar with this project that we do, it's a legacy piece that my second grade students create on the back side of a ceiling tile. We use chalk and have a different theme each year. This year, we created tigers because we are the Johnson Tigers!

I always get a ton of questions when I share this project on my social media platforms. I thought I'd try and answer them here and also share the last four legacy projects we've created. Be sure and click on the link as many have instructional videos!
Why do you use chalk and not paint? We use chalk because of the history of how we came to doing these tiles. You see, this was an accidental project. Initially, we were going to do a sidewalk chalk project with a visiting artist (more here). But on the day of the event, thunderstorms were predicted. I was at a loss of what we would do until I remembered that my principal had been asking me to have our students decorate ceiling tiles. So I got one and drew on it with the chalk...we had all the chalk prepped and ready for the sidewalk chalk event, so I was determined to use it. The problem was, the chalk didn't work well on the front of the tile. So I flipped it over and, what do you know, it worked perfectly...just like a sidewalk. And that's how the whole thing got started. 
Why do you use the back and not the front? I found the front didn't take to the chalk as well...but the back is perfect. There are numbers on the back but the chalk covers it up.
What brand of chalk do you use? Doesn't it get everywhere? I really like Faber-Castell chalk and Sargent chalk. We do a lot of coloring with the side of the chalk, not holding it like a crayon. This helps fill in large spaces. These two brands make very vibrant chalk colors. Yes, it's super messy...especially since we work on the floor. I tell the kids to wear their play clothes and come ready to make a mess. But, honestly, look at that floor! It's not even that bad. Having a paper banner under their work really helps.
So...how does this work? How do you teach this? On the day of the event, I have all of my second grade classes come to the multipurpose room. I lead all of then in this activity. I don't ask for additional help or teachers to be in the room...I'm kind of a solo act. This year, I did things in a way that I think worked the best: I had my classes all in rows, by class. Each had an assigned spot to cut down on any behavioral issues. Then I lead them, guided drawing style, in the creation of their own unique tiger. It took us an hour and a half. I happened to have a plan period so this worked out well and my other classes still had their art time.
How do you seal the chalked piece when it's finished? I just use hairspray. Yes, some of the chalk smears when it's placed in the ceiling...but not enough to tell. 
Do you do a different theme for the chalked drawing every year? If so, how do you decide what to do? Yes, I do a different theme. It's sometimes based on what the kids are learning about (butterflies) or I also take requests. For example, the cafeteria manager wanted healthy foods, so last year we created fruit tiles. This year, we did tigers as that's our mascot. 
What will you do when you run out of ceiling space? Retire.

Below is a sampling of what the kids have created over the last 5 years...the links have videos too, including clips of the set up and kids working if you are interested.
But first, I thought I'd take you down memory lane so you can see all the tiles my students have created over the years. Let's start with the very first one, which you can read all about here
The second year, we created these flowers. For this demo, I created a video. You can see how I went about doing this lesson with four classes in previous years here. 
Our third year, we created these geometric patterned fish! Prior to this, we did a lesson inspired by Sandra Silberzweig and created these fun black glue and chalk fish
Last year, we did fruit! These are in our cafeteria and I just love them. More details here!
Let me tell you this: it's a bit of prep, a lot of chalk dust, a crazy mob of children...BUT WORTH IT! The big undertakings always are, right? 

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3 comments:

  1. How/why did you choose second grade? Thank you so much!

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  2. I did this with my high school group at our synagogue for years - what a wonderful way for them to leave a legacy before they go off into the world! I visited it last night as I attended their Baccalaureate service and they were so proud to point theirs (as well as friends who were not able to be present. LOVE this!!

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  3. BTW, we painted instead of chalked.

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Thank you so much for your comments. I appreciate each and every one :)