Serving Art Educators
and Students Since 1994


End of the School Year FUN

End of the Year FUN! What did you do to MOTIVATE?

The Challenge is on... Share your best ideas

Submit your ideas all summer long. Check back next year when you feel those "end of the year" woes - "Art show is over, now what do I do?"


From Barbara Yalof
Plasticine Clay Relief

End of the year woes? Here's one the kids loved - they worked in colored Plastilina Modeling Clay (plasticine), creating scenes of the best vacation they ever had. The first class consisted of making a detailed face, including 3-D eyeballs and properly mixed skin color.


They had to use only red, yellow and white or tan to create the skin, adding brown if they were quite tanned! This is a good one for elementary and middle school - I bet a high school class would have fun with it, too. Tie in the Children's book illustrator: Barbara Reid


From Patty Knott - Cure for "Senioritis" -"So You Made It?"

fun ideas       fun ideas

Patty gave her AP student this theme:

So you made it?
You may use any style or process but your theme is
you made it?
YOU made it?
you MADE it?
So you made IT?

Think of what the question could mean made what? Made it through high school made it to college made it? (constructed it) What is made? What is it? What is so?

Be creative; MAKE IT work worthy of a final project

First thing was one girl reading aloud the inflections and I asked her her to say those infections  loud that got them thinking and.... The thinking started immediately --- one kid will finish a project she has been working on for 2 years - "I finally made it"  Another thought of a figure made of dollar bills working in a mint making dollar bills - Who made it? -  another - a duck in a flock of geese asking  how'd you make it?  and many more then someone asked,  "Can I make a song?" Of course! Why not make a video of the song? Which led to a collaboration with another student...


I'm so excited that seniors that have worked so hard and are burned out are excited and mostly they asked, "Where did you get this idea for a theme?" "Just came to me," I said -- because I never stop thinking and I'm thinking this simple theme generated such ideas. Why don't we pose more problem solving around ideas instead of how-to's. Kids want the thinking. Images from Patty to come?


From Jennifer Maria Middle School:

I try to do a different group activity "end-of-year project" every year... One I did was newspaper chairs. Full-size chairs made from newspaper and masking tape ONLY. No armatures or cardboard allowed and the final product had to be able to support one member of the group for 5 seconds. (From Linda Woods: Another chair idea use cardboard tubes and corrugated cardboard) Smaller students were VERY popular at this time when it came to group picking! The chairs had to be built in the "style" of an artist we studied during the year or an art style we studied. This is open to interpretation. We had a competition amongst the classes to see which chairs were the best Form and which were the best Function (held up to the 5 second sitting test). (Middle School)


From Jennifer Maria - Middle School:

My students are ALL over the place after they take their state test (TAKS) so I usually try to do something involving a group of 4 students. Last year, I did paper-maché combination animals.  The students had already drawn combination animals in their Sketchbooks. (Combined two animals into 1) so then the group voted on which animal to do and made it! Great (messy) fun. We put the animals on display around the school the last 2 days and then cleaned the art room! Nice idea for when a student is gone on a field trip and the group can still work on the project. (Middle School)


fun ideas


Barbara says they really loved doing this, and the kids who love cartooning could practice bubble letters in 3-D. Doing their own names seems to eliminate the "fear "of drawing with perspective. Glue outlines could add textural interest.


fun ideas

From Judy Decker - Jewelry Assemblage

Start garage sale hopping this summer. This might be a fun challenge for an end of the year jewelry assignment - when you don't want to hand out any additional silver. I made a wearable "shrine" to my family out of several old pieces of jewelry:

This pin (while a bit heavy) has remnants of 9 pieces of jewelry plus some new Beads to finish it off. I made the face from a mold from Backyard Cards and Gifts, then made a little Sculpey red hat to fit. The piece framing the face is a little ceramic frame made by an artist I met at Arrowmont. Each charm has personal meaning. The rose in the center is a little hard to see. I will be making a Tooling Foil frame for this. The shadow box has the Poem "Warning" by Jenny Joseph collaged on the outside.


fun ideas

From Judy Decker - 3-D Photo Collage Shadow Box

I thought I would share an idea that you could do for an end of year photo assignment - or graphics arts (Vivian Komando did a similar project with her students - Joseph Cornell shadow boxes). It would use photos the student have already taken over the course of the semester/year... Or you could make it a new assignment for local Architecture in the community

Mine has a "surreal" quality to it. It uses five photographs that my son took - one of his senior pictures (Matt with MG) - and fish I found on the Internet (those are the four fish of his fish that died from an ammonia spike under my watch -- so this is a "shrine" to them, too. Thanks you Pet Fish web sites for allowing me to use these images). The building is Stocker Hall at Ohio University (where my son's main courses in ME are held). Behind the doors is a full image of the building along with a park scene and my son with his MG

The main building was done with four photographs the same size (mine are all printed from the computer - his photos were on CD) - layered - and separated with Mat board for a little relief and/or with foam core board for more relief. The images in the foreground (sculpture-flower and plant) are supported with blocks of wood. The doors have plastic in them to simulate glass. The box is collaged inside and out with the history of Stocker Hall and Ohio University. I put a full size photo of Stocker Hall on the back of the box. This piece will have a frame and will be under Plexiglas.


From Christa Maria -  Painting with Kool-Aid - for Kindergarten/early grades

It's summer and Kool-aid. time... You want to put the watercolors away for the year....
Buy the cheapest packages of Kool-aid, get cheap Brushes, Construction Paper  ( it soaks well - White Drawing Paper. will show colors best - slick paper will not work) and create ' scratch and sniff' paintings ... On lids or egg cartons mix a small amount of Kool-aid with a few drops of water to a rich consistency, that will be the paint, used with regular cheap paintbrushes. Let it dry well, usually 24 hours and than the painted surfaces can be scratched and sniffed.... Very cheap art project , summer fun and "Aromatherapy" 


From Carolyn in Virginia Beach - Middle school - high school

I am always looking for those perfect spring days to take my kids outside with Drawing Boards..  We even took Prang Watercolor Pan Sets. out last year. Sometimes we do Plaster of Paris. sculpture outside.  We pour plaster in milk carton boxes, sit in the sunshine on the bleachers and carve away! Less mess in the classroom. 

If I have leftover Pariscraft., sometimes we go outside and do casts of hands.  Two students work together.  One day, they do one person's hand. The next day they do the other. There are some really neat ideas of plaster hand sculptures on IAD Hands Ideas page. This should get some problem solving going!

I teach middle school  but most of these ideas could be adaptable to most levels.


From San D - High School

As for fun end of the year projects, kites (essentially shaped structures to paint on) are fun, especially when they get flown on the front lawn of the high school, chalk painting in the school parking lot (we did underwater scenes), Pinwheels (we did Escher linoleum cuts).


[ Also See - Ideas that Motivate ]