Saturday, March 5, 2011

Collages: What to do about space

One problem that I have often had with collages, specifically collages that involve cutting magazines, etc, in preschool is that there just never seems to be enough room.  The magazines get scattered all over table, they lose the picture they just cut out, and you start hearing "hey, you have your book on MY paper!"  It's a jungle... what's a teacher to do?

Now, I love the collages they make with magazines the best (although I love collages in general),  I love seeing the things that each child picks and the things that each one finds interesting- sometimes I am amazed by these things.  On the other hand, in the past, I have hated these the most for just the reason described above- there wasn't enough room, they couldn't organize their materials, and in the end there were scraps all over the floor.  So, as a solution, I have systematized the magazine collage process, in an easy, comprehensible manner suited (I believe) to preschoolers.

she is cutting on her tray; to the left you can see her collection of pictures

Set up:  Put trays on the table.  On each tray put a pair of child's scissors.  Put two or three piles of magazines on the table (with maybe five magazines in each pile so that they are easy to paw through).  On a shelf or other unit beside the table have glue ready.  For this activity I prefer glue with brushes or paste works really well for magazines.  Have a garbage close by so as the "scrap" pieces from the pictures they cut out accumulate you can toss them.

Instructions to the children:  Tell each child that he or she may use the tray that they are sitting in front of to collect their magazine cuttings for the collage and to let you know when they are ready for their big paper and glue.  (Once they are ready for paper and glue, help them to push the tray back on the table so that it is just behind their collage paper, then put the glue on their tray as well).

using the tray to keep her pictures organized as she pastes them to paper.

The benefits:  Each child uses the tray to put their magazine on and cut and set the collage items on.  Their "pictures" don't get lost, and it creates for them their own space.  It is easy to keep the magazines in order and not all over the table by either reminding them to put the magazine back in the pile or by putting it back yourself, as you are monitoring, once they have finished.  Some might not consider the following a benefit, but I do: they cut out many more pictures than they need and so they end up making two or three or six collages from what they have cut out.  By separating this into steps it takes a lot less time as well because they aren't going back and forth from cutting to gluing to cutting to gluing or losing their precious "pictures."  Because of this they do not tire of the activity; in the past they would "be done" after finding only a few pictures because (it seemed) they tired of going back and forth between the two activities.  Now, as I mentioned, they find dozens of pictures and make multiple collages from them.  For some children this is also an added bonus because it allows them to do spacial planning; putting the pictures on the paper before gluing to see how to make use of the space.

For a post about other types of collages go here!

Happy collage-ing!

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