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Collaborative “I am Human” Display

Collaborative “I am Human” Display

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With Dot Day coming soon (September 15), I thought I would share another collaborative display that my students and I created a few years ago. For this display I decided to take Dot Day in a different direction and combine it with the amazing new book “I Am Human” by Susan Verde and Peter H. Reynolds.

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If you haven’t read it yet, this is a book all about what it means to show empathy, how we all have the ability as humans to make choices, learn from our mistakes and show kindness and compassion. Each student in our school “made their mark” by painting their self-portrait in the style of Peter Reynolds. This mural was inspired by the cover of the book with all of the small faces behind the main character.

Peter Reynolds’ illustration from the book I Am Human, the inspiration for our school mural.

Peter Reynolds’ illustration from the book I Am Human, the inspiration for our school mural.

I facilitated this mural with the help of my amazing specials team in the gym. I had a large piece of black bulletin paper laid out that was the length of the bulletin board I planned on displaying it on. I then used Crayola Premier tempera (regular & fluorescent) paint mixed with a bit of white paint to make the paint more opaque so that it would stand out on the black paper. I mixed each color of the rainbow, as well as the intermediate colors (red, red-orange, orange, yellow-orange, Yellow, etc..) in several container cups so that multiple students could paint at the same time (probably 3-4 cups of each color) and had them laid out along the side of the black paper in ROYGBIV order.

In small groups, I had students come up to the black paper (starting at the top of the paper so they wouldn’t step in wet paint) and carefully paint a simple self portrait illustration similar to the style of Peter Reynolds, but also painted uniquely to represent each child.

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Once every student in the school had a chance to paint their portrait, I hung our rainbow portrait mural in our hallway with a line from the book that said: “I am Human. One of billions but unique”. My students loved finding their self-portraits and the impact this collaborative piece had in our hallway. If you decide to try a mural like this in your school, be sure to tag me on Instagram so I can see your amazing work!

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