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Square 1 Art

This is one of the sample projects I show kids for Square 1 Art. I used Keith Haring as the inspiration to help emphasize that kids designs should be bright, bold, colorful and fun.

Every year I do Square 1 Art with the kids. I didn't when I first started teaching. I hated the idea of making money off the kids art by basically taking their drawings and selling it to parents on all sorts of junk. I became convinced to try it after parents came to me saying they wanted me to do Square 1 Art because the products were so high quality. Parents in my community genuinely wanted to have the opportunity to buy phone cases, mugs and other items with their kids art on it. What put it over the top for me was that Square 1 give all the kids a free sheet of stickers with their art on it whether they buy anything or not. That was key for me as it shifted this from a project I do to make money for the school into a project I do so kids can have stickers and get other stuff if they want. The money is nice, I'm not going to lie, but for me it was important that every kid gets something out of it and that it didn't feel like just a means of extracting cash from families who already do a ton to support the school.

For this project, I give kids two class periods to create whatever they want as long as it is appropriate for school. I give them choices of media and subject matter, and I focus mainly on the principles of design. We particularly focus on balance, contrast and emphasis. I tell the kids they need to make something that is bright, bold and colorful to make it eye catching. We talk about placement of the figure and keeping key details an inch away from the edge to avoid potential cropping. Other than that though, I largely let kids do what they want. The exception of course is my kindergarten students who don't have enough background knowledge to be self directed at this point in the year. With them, I do three different guided projects then, they choose which one they want to send off to Square 1.

Click Here to see the youtube playlist of different videos I use to teach sample projects. I give my students access to all my instructional videos during their self directed art times as a supportive resource.


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