Collage Around the Room

My Draw around the Room activity has been popular. (Both with  my students and with my online readers!) Today I share my Collage around the Room activity.


Just like the Draw around the room, this is an activity designed to quickly expose the students to a lot of different collage papers, glues, scissors and techniques. It is done prior to “opening” the collage center.

Each of my 6 tables will be set up with different materials. I have gone back and forth between 4 and 6 different “boxes” on my worksheet. Really it would depend on what types of papers you have for your students to use and what techniques you want them to experience during this activity. This year we had Magazines, Construction paper (solid colors), Tissue paper and “Scrapbook paper” (patterns and such.) Different tables had different glues and scissors that might best fit that type of paper. I have regular scissors and funky edged scissors for the kids to use at most of the tables. Glue sticks, sponge glue, and white glue bottles are at different tables, with the goal that kids try out the different glues. I try to match them with which paper I think they work best with. Students move in table groups from one table to the next to complete one collage at each table. We usually spend 2 days on this part of the activity.

As kids finish up and for the 3rd and 4th day of the project, they get a small ½ sheet of tag board to make a free choice collage. A mini lesson that is part of this week unit is the “Rule of Space” and how to use focal points in a collage. The small free-choice collage can be any combinations of papers, but with the goal of showing the “Rule of Space.”


Some management things to note:

I usually assign table group jobs. There is a “Glue Boss”, a “Paper Pusher”, the “Garbage Man” and a “Table Leader” Glue boss checks that all the glues are properly closed and upright at the end of the work session. Paper Pusher (probably should come up with a better name, but I like alliteration) is in charge of making sure the bin with the paper supply is neatly organized at the end of the period. I think that Garbage man and table leaders are self-explanatory. The jobs are chosen and kept for the 2 days.

Another management tip is that I tell kids that if they reject a piece of paper and it now has glue on it… it must go in the garbage. Or paper that is smaller than the palm of their hand is probably not going to be used by someone else, so in the bin. BTW There is a garbage tub at each table! (This is very important to limit unnecessary movement.) Everyone picks up stuff from the floor and the Garbage Man empties it at the end of the period. I sometimes play a little game that there is a “magic” piece of garbage and the person that picks it up will win a prize. (I have a bin of pencils and erasers for my rewards.) Or alternately to the fastest, quietest and cleanest table gets the prize.

Just like the Drawing game, there are laminated Vocab and Technique cards at each table. These can get lost in the bins of paper, so the table leader needs to make sure they are clipped together and set aside during clean up.

I will tell you that collage is my personal favorite medium, and I have used it in my own artwork for decades. Managing all these piles of paper, glue and scissors can look and feel like chaos to the uninitiated but I love it.


How do you introduce students to collage? What is your favorite type of glue for kids to use with collage?

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1 Response to Collage Around the Room

  1. Thank you so much for sharing so many amazing resources! I just found your blog and I absolutely love it. This is my second year teaching Art and my first year trying out TAB and I am very happy to have found your blog all of your knowledge and resources that you share here are unbelievable and are really helping me solidify my idea for my classroom. If possible would you be able to share the editable version of the files with me for the “around the room” games and vocabulary sheets? I would greatly appreciate it, thanks again for all of the awesome posts, keep them coming!

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