So last week I had told students that we were going to Spain, and making pottery. Turns out I didn’t actually have any clay and wasn’t going to get to place the order for a while. “They’ll KILL me!” I thought. (I am not actually scared of children and I do not cater to the whims of my students, I am just being dramatic here for effect.) So in order to save myself from the angry mob of 20 something students in my two Art Around the World classes, I decided to tell them all that we were boarding a cruise ship to Spain. A ridiculous idea because that would take forever, but it bought me a way out of the Spain promise. The students came in put their coats away and sat on the carpet as per usual. “Close your eyes,” I said, “and imagine you are sipping a smoothie and taking in the sun. Lean your head back and imagine you can feel the sun on your face… WHAM! BAM!” I made a few other dramatic noises and then explained that pirates were attacking our ship.
I have to admit this got everyone a little loud, but I wasn’t surprised and I was mostly flattered that I was successful in getting them involved. We also had three 5th graders as volunteers this week, because after weeks of badgering the school for an assistant I had finally gotten my wish, along with a second class because apparently, as they explained it, the class had been so popular that there was a long waiting list. Would I mind teaching a second class, for twice the price? Would I ever! So, as a result I had three volunteers, which solved my problem of not having time to set up, and a second class.
As I quieted the class down I informed them that unfortunately the pirates had stolen all of our food and we were going to have to dock the ship, but what they hadn’t managed to steal was our treasure. The 5th graders were actually expert swordsmen and they had fought off the pirates. I had the three 5th graders stand up at this point and introduce themselves to the class. We read a story about a girl who lived on an island and could hear the ocean in her sea shell and then it was time to make art.
Because the Pirates hadn’t stolen our treasure we still had it, but we knew they would return soon to try again. It was best if we all made out own treasure chests and buried them ASAP! Each student got one treasure box (cardboard jewelry boxes I had taken from the recycling at an old job) and six pieces of treasure (assorted junk including old fabric and beads from my apartment). The 5th graders were absolutely wonderful in helping my little kindergarten/first grade artists find six pieces each of “treasure,” and what would normally be seen as junk became very special stuff. On the table I had old broken popsicle sticks, among other things, and one 5th grader declared them to be “pieces of a sunken ship”. This made them very popular items, as you can imagine.
After we made out treasure chests it was time to bury them. So we did. We “buried” them in our backpacks. It was important that we were able to get back and find them again once it was safe. So obviously we wrapped up the class by making treasure maps.