The Florida Art Education Association annual conference is always inspirational! I attended a wide variety of discussions and presentations and I look forward to using what I have learned in my own classroom. One class that inspired me right away was "The Cutting Edge" by Nan Williams. After she walked us through an abridged history of the popular cutting tool scissors we followed along through a series of activities that challenge and engage in cutting skills.
My brain resides in this make-believe world where every child has had an opportunity to use scissors and has been challenged well before they come to my art room. I put my students to the test with the Scissor Skill Olympics! I used the activities that Nan showed us in her workshop and a timer to challenge the table groups of my first and third grade classes and discover who was a true Scissor Olympian!
Here is a Prezi that I used when I presented to fellow art educators about my experiences. You'll see the different events that I used as well as further inspiration from Henri Matisse to create cut paper collages.
One thing I would like to do to improve this lesson is to have a brief presentation, perhaps a Prezi like the one above that shows a variety of scissors from different time periods, different cultures, and for different cutting purposes. One thing that Nan spoke about was building the background knowledge and an understanding of where the skills, concepts and ideas that we study come from. Building the connections is what learning is all about.
I have a feeling that these skills can be used to begin any number of paper projects. I am thinking about other lessons where students can create other collages, 3-D sculptural projects, masks, cards, pop-up books etc.
What kinds of cutting projects do you do with your students?