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Little boxes on a hillside

and they're all made of ticky tacky and they all look just the same

Does it really matter???

I recently spoke to a student that was feeling 'frustration' with her art teacher. They were using papermache to turn laundry detergent bottles into big faces, and the example had eyes, a nose and lips. The student had added big ears and a hat to her own, but these were quickly pulled off her creation by the teacher, and she was told in no uncertain terms that the heads were not to have ears...

Why not?

Like seriously??? is she going to learn less about papermache, sculpture and design by being original? I think that we could all do with having a little less control when it comes to our student's creations... I mean, would it really matter if that one has horns? and that one has big ears? and that one's a rhino? 


Student ownership is what drives student engagement, and student engagement drives student learning. If we as teachers can learn to separate our learning objectives from our 'project preferences' we could revolutionise the way students create in our rooms.

This is a short post, but I wanted to leave you with some pictures of a theme I did a few years ago. It was when I first introduced Steampunk. My theme was broad... Robots... My parameters, (or learning objectives) were...

To represent 3D form

To consider the final look, feel and texture of the piece within all points of the design project

To use papermache and construction techniques

To incorporate recycled and up-cycled materials

To incorporate the features of the 'Steampunk' art movement in the finishing details.


The Students were 9 years old, and to my knowledge this was their first time doing construction or sculpture.

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