Good ideas for altered art in the classroom?

Gayle Simone
(Indiana, USA)

I am an elementary school art teacher and would like to do altered art in the classroom. Do you have any good ideas for students ten to eleven years old?

There are actually lots of things that you could do, but we do have a few suggestions. It's not exactly altered art, but we're very big on artist trading cards here. We thought that creating something on a smaller scale might be less daunting for the kids, they'd have fun creating them, and then they could swap them amongst themselves afterwards if they wanted.

There are lots of ideas for making artist trading cards in our series of articles on how to make artist trading cards.

We also thought that the kids might like to try their hands at making a frame for a special artist trading card. There are some instructions for this as part of our advice on how to display artist trading cards. Once it's made, all that's needed is to decorate the finished frame. The kids could let their imaginations run riot here, with paints, beads, shells, fibres - anything at all really.

We did have a little reservation over the use of a craft knife for cutting out the two pieces of corrugated card for the frame, as we suggest. If you don't trust the kids with a craft knife, perhaps you could do it for them, or (less work for you!) they could try it with scissors.

Another thing that we thought of: if the kids still have any of those cardboard drums that contain savoury biscuits etc. left over from Christmas they could decorate them, and use them for pencil tubs at home or in the classroom. Again, the sky's the limit with decoration: paints, collage…

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