The Art Of The Back Up Project
Teaching Artists = Improv Artists
An experienced Teaching Artist knows that improvising a simple back up project can make all the difference on how their day will go. A main project that is too easy for the age group or doesn't resonate with the dynamic of the group can leave a blank chunk of time in the schedule which can lead to classroom chaos.
Back up art projects have the following features:
- They should use some of the same supplies as the main project or supplies that are typically in inventory.
- The supplies should be readily available meaning you can swing by the store super quick to get more if you're out.
- The supplies should come in bulk supply and be inexpensive.
- They should be easy to pull out and clean up at the end of class.
- The project should be able to be completed at a few different skill/age levels.
- Bonus: if you can elaborate on it if there's more class time.
- Bonus: if you can relate the back up project to the concept covered in the main project.
My favorite back up project supplies include:
- popsicle sticks
- pipe cleaners
- beads (gotta keep them under control with bowls and bins)
- washi tape
There's an insane number of projects you can create from the supplies listed above:
- Finger knitting
- Collaborative drawing mural
- Drawing games
- Basic bookbinding---next level: write in the book
- Comics---next level: get story sequencing and character development in there
- Puppets---next level: act them out
- Pretend crown, jewelry, or glasses---next level: make a play
- Popsicle stick weaving
- Straw and Pipe cleaner people---next level: act out or writing about the character
The teaching artists I've worked with are amazing!!!! They're so inspiring and impressive!