Story time: Back in 2008 when I first started teaching, I taught in a very rural elementary school in South Carolina. I was so bright eyed and bushy tailed and just ready to create pure magic with my new students! Unfortunately, very early into my first year I learned that the art teacher before me pretty much only did coloring sheets with the kids and creative very little "real" art with them. There were hardly any materials and zero respect for the program as a whole. I remember while I was teaching my 5th graders I asked them "what are the primary colors?" (assuming they had learned them back in 1st or 2nd grade like the standards would imply) but instead there were just crickets. The only thing worse than the lack of instruction my students had received was their lack of confidence in anything I asked them to do. My students were so behind skill wise that they would immediately shut down when I asked them to start a project. I was a brand new teacher at a total loss of where to go next. So I started to think, how can I build their confidence? What are some low pressure art projects that will not only help build their confidence but engage them in the project and my class? My solution? MONSTERS.
Yes, you heard me- monsters. Do you know why monsters?? Because there is absolutely no wrong way to make a monster. You literally cannot mess up making a monster because they are born from our imaginations! So, you can call my early years of teaching- the monster years! I taught ALL grades how to make monsters. We used monsters to learn about line and texture, created "organi-monsters and geometri-monsters" to learn about shape, we created life size paper mache monsters to learn about form and how to collaborate. We even created monsters and then wrote detailed physical descriptions about our monster and then had a friend read it and have to try and re-draw the monster. I'm telling you, monsters opened my students UP! They were able to check their insecurities with making art at the door because the fear or making something wrong was no longer there.
One of my favorite lessons was a lesson I created called "The Monster in my Closet". As someone who was obsessed with the movie Monster's Inc by Pixar, I loved that my students could create not only a monster from their imaginations but also be able to connect that monster to something person to them, like their bedroom and closet. Plus, what kid doesn't love art that is also interactive? Over the years I have done the monster in my closet lesson with grades all the way from Kinder through 5th grade, just modifying and differentiating the materials and objectives but the outcome is always the same- adorable! I mean, SCARY (but seriously, adorable). It's such a crowd pleaser for all ages and leaves so much room for creative expression! So I am beyond excited to share that I finally now have this lesson available in my TpT store and website!
Everything is done for you- you just have to open it up in either google slides or Powerpoint and you're good to go! There are books, videos, 3 different artists, examples of body types and textures to use when designing your monsters, and step by step photos and video to help guide your students to their final product! If you're looking for the lesson, you can grab it here. I hope that you and your students love this lesson as much as mine have over the years and please please share any final photos with me over on Instagram, I would love to see your students final pieces!!! Have fun and keep creating!