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Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Collaborative Classroom Projects

Amanda, from Teaching Maddeness is having another linky party.  This month she's looking for classroom projects ideas.  I decided to write about some of the collaborative projects we do in my classroom. My favorite collaborative projects are probably all of the class books we do but I am going to blog about that later...maybe a linky party if I can figure out how to do that :)

The projects I am writing about are ones where everyone contributes... but not just by making a distinct part of the whole.  In other words, these projects are not like my quilt where everyone made a piece that I then put together to make a whole.  Instead, these projects resulted in one shared product that couldn't easily be divided after it was completed.  Perhaps because these projects result in something that can't be sent home, they really do feel like they belong to the class.  Here are a few of the things I have done recently:

Collaborative Mosaic

This mosaic was made by gluing plastic caps to a circle of foam board.  This project was set out during free play for several days during our Art Unit.  I simply cut out a large circle from a piece of old foam board.  I used colored electric tape to cover the edge (because my cutting wasn't perfect).  I then put out tacky glue in shallow pans and a large pile of plastic caps.  I asked each child to stop by at some point and glue on at least 8-10 caps.  They were to try and make sure the caps were touching. If the children were interested they could glue on more caps.  I, together with a few interested children, went back later and filled in holes with small glue stick and glitter glue lids.

Rolled Paper Collaborative Collage

I described how we made this collage with rolls of painted paper here.  It is actually incredibly beautiful and, if I can figure out how to frame it, I want to put it in my house. 

Cardboard Box Castle

During our Fairy Tale Unit, I made a really cool castle with 8 large boxes and Mr. McGroovy's special rivets.  
The children worked together to paint and decorate the castle.

We also worked together to decorate this dragon by attaching pieces of tissue paper with watered down yellow paint.

Retelling Props

During the Fairy Tale unit we created lots of materials that we used for retelling.
Our Story Path for Goldilocks and the 3 Bears
We decorated 3 pieces of cardboard for retelling the 3 Little Pigs with painted bricks (using a sponge to paint the bricks),  glued on sticks and glued on rafia (for the house made out of hay).

Bulletin Boards

Many of our bulletin boards have collaborative aspects.
The kids sponge painted the water.

The class worked together to paint the rainbow.
The kids illustrated the elements of art - color, shape and pattern, by putting little pieces of tissue paper, fun foam and scrap book paper onto large pieces of contact paper.
The kids used Dot Markers to paint this background.

Just for Fun Group Painting

On several occasions I set out long sheets of bulletin board paper with markers and crayons (inside) or paint (when we attached the paper to a fence outside) for the kids to work with during free play if they were interested.

My one problem with these collaborative projects is, "What should I do with the finished projects?" I can recycle the casual group paintings or bulletin backgrounds but I hate to get rid of the more "finished" artwork such as  the mosaic or collage.  I asked parents if anyone wanted the castle and one parent said they had room for it and took it apart. I think that next year, I might send the collaborative types of pieces home with children the way I do with class books (if we have enough for everyone to get something). Any other ideas?


  1. I need to do more collaborative artwork like this!
    ❀ Tammy
    Forever in First

  2. WOW!! Those projects are amazing! I especially LOVE the castle. How did you have space to do that? I would love to do that during our fairytale unit. Thanks for linking up!

    Teaching Maddeness

  3. Wow! Thanks for the great ideas. I especially love the 3 little pig houses. Love the castle too, but we would have to make a smaller version. I can't believe that I've never thought of using dot markers as a background :)

  4. I LOVE collaborative projects. These are super cute ideas. :)
    iTeach 1:1

  5. I absolutely love your fairy tale ideas, what a great way to get the kids to take pride in their learning. Love it.

  6. These are all awesome collaborative projects! I especially like the rolled paper piece. I can see why you would want to frame it and hang it at home.

  7. I love, love, love that castle!!! What great times you must have working together!


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