Art educators living, working or interested in Asia
Having organised the resources into different areas of art focus in the Art room, I came across many small mosaic tiles that has been ordered and not used for who knows how long! Majority of the teachers don't even know what art materials are available and how to use them. I thought it would be a fantastic opportunity to use the resources that the teachers didn't even know existed, trying to encourage art skills other than what the teachers are teaching in their own classes and enhancing my own professional development through mosaic.
I have never created or worked with mosaic tiles before, this I think is also true for the children in our school. Their experiences of mosaic would be paper or fabric based in the form of collage. I read up on many books we have in the library on how to create a mosaic project, and believe me I was very uneasy starting. However, like many things in conquering the unknown, one just has to do it. I created my own mosaic tile and found it to be laborious! However, it is not difficult for children of any age to do, time would be the only factor in this.
After my own professional development, I was very keen for the Year 1 (5 yrs old) to do this project. There was no particular reason why that age group was chosen, only I wanted to show the teachers if you create challenging and high quality projects even the younger ones can do it! Luckily the school was in the process of creating a school garden and therefore I volunteered to provide the decorations!
We have 5 classes for each grade in our school. Therefore each class will be responsible for one part of the decoration of the garden. 2 classes will create individual mosaic pieces for the stepping stones in the garden and the rest large, whole class, mosaic creations with a garden theme. The teachers were very skeptical that their children could do the activity so I invited them to a teacher-training session on mosaic. They all came early in the morning and really enjoyed creating their own pieces. In training the teachers I was able to introduce the first session with the children and the teachers to complete the project themselves. Unfortunately for me, I am not an art specialist teacher and have to be responsible for my own class so during my non contact and 1/2 hour of my lunch hour I was doing the this project!
The stepping stones tiles were easy as they already had a grid that the children could use as a guide to place their tiles, but the larger pieces I had to draw the grids on the wooden base. I gave the teachers a squared planning sheet the same size as the wooden based and the children coloured in what they wanted their piece to look like. Meanwhile, the teachers linked the planning of the mosaic tiles into their math work focusing of repeating patterns and symmetry.
Teaching the classes was the easy part! It didn't take the children long to use the skill and work independently. The only difficulty we had is running out of tiles and the ordering of new ones!
However, the school garden group also wanted to get involved in doing mosaic. The garden group had their opportunity along with the rest of the Year 4 class (9 yrs old) to create a mosaic sign for the garden during Environment Week. This time the Year 4 children had the opportunity to break and cut some tiles which they thoroughly enjoyed! This event was 5 classes, one hour for each class over the course of 3 days!
The only problem I have now is the WILL to grout all the pieces and to stick the tiles that have fallen off because the children did not put enough tile glue! Lets just say that I will be taking a break from mosaic for a while!