4th graders continue to work on their collaborative project (journey back step by step by starting here). Every day we get back into this project I get nervous that the students won’t be “into it” anymore – that it has run it’s course. I am always surprised just how much they not only want to continue their work but get into the next step.
This past week, that step was problem solving the grass. To bring our project together, we had to put some grass under that tree. I didn’t really do much to prepare them or set them up for this because I wanted each group to decide how they were going to do this. It was decided by classes that they would like tissue paper, yarn, glue, and paper. So I simply set it out on my center table and told them to send a delegate (we talked about what this means) to grab materials whenever they needed it.
The results have been great – each project has a bit of a different twist than the one before it. Some are collaging the tissue paper and then adding the yarn as texture. Some of them are making the worth while but long effort of making the yarn look like blades of grass. Some are cutting the tissue paper in a way that looks like grass and then laying the colors.
Either way, we always start class with a discussion about collaboration, cooperation and leadership. If they didn’t know what this meant before, they do now. And they seem to thrive off of the idea about working in groups. The art they are making is absolutely beautiful and I can’t wait to see how it rounds out, but overall the impact this project has made on their social skills and leadership skills is unmeasurable.