Who wants to risk the outcome of a project on the one day you're out for a doctor's appointment anyway? Better to come up with a fun activity that allows students to stretch their creative wings and let you have peace of mind.
I came across this book, Magic Trash; The Story of Tyree Guyton and His Art, written by J.H. Shapiro.
It's the perfect mix of life lesson, inspiration, and inventive creativity. It's also a great read whether the class is in kindergarten or fifth grade. There's just something to relate to at any age level.
The short of it is that Guyton finds himself in his troubled neighborhood and is faced with the choice to walk away from it or to do something about it. What does he do? He turns to art OF COURSE! He gathers up the trash in the neighborhood to create wondrous sculptures, splashes paint here and there, and beautifies his community.
After the reading, students are given the task to turn "trash" (aka - left over art materials) and to turn it into something beautiful, useful, unique... and fun!
Here is a quick run down of the lesson:
Materials: "Garbage" (basically all the leftovers from the year's projects - scraps of paper, beads, old egg crate shells, cardboard, string pieces, glitter, confetti, paper towel and toilet paper rolls, streamer, ribbon, felt.. the sky is the limit!), glue sticks, scissors, color pencils, crayons, markers, etc.
Goals for Lesson:
Know: By the end of the lesson, you will KNOW who the artist, Tyree Guyton, is and how he turned trash in his neighborhood into "Magic Trash".
Understand: How art can take many forms and with a little imagination, anything (including trash) can be transformed into marvelous works of art.
Do: For our activity today, you will be given the challenge of turning trash given to you into "Magic Trash" - works of art of your own invention.
Outline of Lesson:
1. Read "Goals for Lesson"
2. Introduce and read Magic Trash.
3. During reading questions: What do you predict Tyree will do? How did Tyree make this (refer to one of the book examples)? What would you make if you had these materials? Why does Tyree choose to use trash to make art? How did Tyree's art change his neighborhood?
4. Activity: Place a back of "trash" at each table. Invite students to work individually, in pairs, or as teams to create a "Magic Trash" art project to be presented at the end of class. Make available: scissors, glue, tape, crayons, markers, blank paper, etc.
5. Closing: Invite students to do a gallery walk around the art projects. Once students have had a chance to study each work of art, travel as a group from piece to piece and invite students to present their work, how they went about making it, what it symbolizes/means, if they could change or do something differently what would it be, likes and dislikes, etc.
6. Clean up: Send student work home with them or for pick up after school. Have students place any leftover materials back into bags in preparation for the next class.
I've had students make crazy hats, princess tiaras, necklaces from ancient civilizations, a cloak, and parachute with man to name of few. The sky is the limit with this activity and clean up is a breeze because you just throw all the leftover "garbage" back into a zip lock bag.
So breath deeply my friend, put together this simple lesson for the sub, and relax - you can now enjoy your day off. *SIGH*