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Rotating Table Art

MonaSubmitted by: Eva Hendrickson
Elementary Art Specialist, Hoover and Washington Schools
Title:  Rotating Table Art
Appropriate for all age levels / Mixed Media


1.  This is a great end of the year/ before a holiday break lesson. Each table has a different art material/media placed on top of it:  (markers, rulers and pens, scissors and Hole Paper Punch. and yarn, paints, texture plates and crayons, construction paper scraps and glue and scissors, stamps, glitter and baubles, magazines and glue and scissors, etc.). Each student gets a 12”X18” (30.5 x 46 cm) sheet of paper.


2.  Explain to students that they will make a mixed media project where they choose their own subject matter.  Define/describe to students the art terms “mixed media” and “subject matter”.  Define an art media as the art material used to create an artwork, like clay for a sculpture and paint for a painting.  Then define mixed media as any artwork that combines two or more art media.  Describe subject matter by stressing that the students are the artists and they will choose their own “subject matter”.  Explain further that they can choose their subject matter by making a landscape (picture of the land), a portrait (picture of a person or living being), a still life (picture of found objects like flowers in a vase), or create a design that uses the elements of art. ** One could also assign students a theme— like a season or a garden. A snow theme is a great success before Winter break when the kids are really excited**


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3.  Model to students how they will start in their assigned seat and then rotate from table to table to use different art media. Have them follow you around the room as you make a quick example.  When students are working, have them rotate every 6-7 minutes to the next table.  When students change tables give specific orders like, “Rotate from table 1 to table 2, table 2 to table 3, table 3 to table 4, table 4 to table 5,  table 5 to table 6, and table 6 to table 1”


4.  When students return to their original table, they straighten the materials and clean up their area.


5. Finally have an “art show” at the end of class.  Have students leave their work on top of the table at their assigned seat.  Have them push in their chairs and then rotate around the room looking at each other’s work.  Remind them not to touch each other’s work and to only use kind comments.


6.  Have students write “mixed media artwork” on the back so parents know the motivation for the artwork. Have students take their masterpieces home with them right after art class if possible. 

I have used this lesson with all elementary grade levels, and sometimes twice a year.  Students love the opportunity for freedom of expression and I love the pace which keeps them moving and happily occupied.  I tend to use this lesson before winter break and at the end of the school year.  There are so many ways to change up the lesson and keep it fresh and new by adding different art media/materials.




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