Tuesday, February 15, 2011

5th Grade Lanterns

So I know my timing is a little off (something I am still struggling with as a 2nd year teacher) since the Chinese New Year was February 3rd.  Yes my students are still wrapping up our unit on China.
I had my 5th grade students create Chinese Lanterns to celebrate the New Year.  Simple idea hoping they could make these marvelous.  Well I do struggle with 5th grade at times. Some of you might snuff me because I only teach 3rd, 4th and 5th grade! How could I struggle with one grade level when I only teach 3!?!  I know I ask myself the same question and beat myself up for it in the process...I love 5th graders some days and...well don't enjoy them other days! The beginning of the year they still feel like 4th graders to me so they are still excited about everything we do! Now the year is part way over and they are starting to bring out the attitudes!  
I can say that this project was not a huge success. I was pretty disappointed with this project overall.  Some did marvelous work and exceeded my expectations! So I had to show the ones that worked and how we displayed them for our own Lantern Festival! 
I had a lot of Chinese inspired pages of Chinese designs, characters etc.  I had my students choose from a yellow or red 12x18 page paper.  They had to have a top middle and bottom design. I told them to fill the page 90%.  They could outline with marker but could not color in with marker. They had to use colored pencils and work on blending colors. We also added tissue paper on the inside so it looked like a lighted lantern.

Here is one of our displays.  Included is 3rd grade couplets and 3rd grade blue Chinese vases (blue vases inspired from Deep Space Sparkle).

My plan of attack for 5th grade the rest of the year is to REALLY challenge them and do a few lessons that is ALL about THEM!  
Do you have any great motivating ideas for grade levels that challenge you??


  1. I've been teaching 5th-8th graders for 4 years and working with that age group for many years and I promise you it is not an issue with you or your teaching. It is a very normal time for students to start testing their independence and boundaries. Stay firm and do not let them get away with rude behavior. It is perfectly ok to say(in a polite voice), "Do you realize you are being rude to me right now? I do not treat you that way and I would appreciate if you would not treat me that way." At this age that should be a firm but gentle way to let them know they have reached your limit.

  2. I like that! I am sure I will have an opportunity to use that phrase today! Thanks!

  3. Your display looks amazing. I am sure it will get many people in your school talking about art. Again, I just love your connection to cultures and am always excited to follow you.
    Jessica Balsley

  4. I love these lanterns! I'm totally gonna use this project in my class!!!

  5. Thanks ladies! I really enjoy making huge displays in our hallways. Teachers and parents love it too! :)

  6. Struggling with one particular grade is not unusual. Sometimes I think that coming to art is the only time they have to just be themselves.

    Students have to follow directions through out the day and rarely have the opportunity to break a rule or two :) When I have one of those days I just change the project a little and try to give them more choices.

    I believe that the art process is as important as the end result.
    Sometimes just completing the project is good enough.

    I did love your display, and the little clay dragons were adorable

  7. Well said on the art process being just as important! Sometimes it is just a great set up for the next project. Thank you for the positive feedback! I just love letting my students know their art is enjoyed all around! :)

  8. Hi there! I loved this tutorial so much that it made the Weekly Top Twenty at the Art Fairy. Stop by an pick up a button if you get a chance.