“When we learned that we would be learning virtually, apart from one another, I wanted our art project to be collaborative” Ms. McWhorter stated. “Even if the students would be working independently, it was important to me that they arrive at a shared goal, something they could make together.”
Over the past several weeks, students in grades 1-5 have steadily and concertedly worked on their joint Tessellation Project. A tessellation is an arrangement of repeating shapes closely fitted together, especially of polygons. At the start of virtual learning, students received hexagonal templates. Each week thereafter there has been a theme, per grade, for how students design their personal tiles. The 3rd grade started with self-portraits, for instance, while the 5th grade began with objects in nature as their theme.
Since the motifs change weekly, students are able to explore a diversity of artistic techniques and interests. Yet, since all students have the same hexagonal template, Ms. McWhorter plans to connect each uniquely designed hexagon at the close of the school year to form one, single tessellation.
“Some students have mailed their tiles already. Others have dropped theirs off at school. At the end of the project, we may have 300 hexagons,” said Ms. McWhorter.
While there are rotating themes each week, Ms. McWhorter calls attention to a grander, more meaningful theme that defines the project as a whole.
“This collaborative tessellation will serve as a symbol,” Ms. McWhorter affirmed. “It will be a concrete sense of hope that we can point to when we’re all together again.”
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