Our school’s Texas Program tradition is something that they’ve been doing way before I got here. It’s a fun time for the 4th graders to showcase what they’ve been learning in specials – line dancing (PE), a beautiful concert of Texas songs (music), and sharing the Texas-themed art they’ve been putting in hours of creativity on (art). I love it because it’s a great time for the families to dance with their children and really cheer them on in so many different ways. It’s also a great way to connect with the parents and give them a close up view of what we’re working on in specials.
My 1st year here, the 4th graders created engraved aluminum missions. We made clay Alamos my 2nd year. Next year…??? Stay tuned.
How awesome is it as Texans to have such a rich cultural history to draw inspiration from?! Several missions were established in Texas, and this project focused on these 6 missions: Mission Espada, Mission San Juan Capistrano, Mission Concepción, The Alamo, Mission San José, and Mission Socorro.
I asked the students what they’ve learned so far in 4th grade about Texas history and the Alamo in particular. Several students shared various facts, and it was fun to hear and also learn new facts (for me as a Texas transplant.) We looked at images of each of the missions, and saw several close-ups of doors, windows, niches, bell towers, etc.
I made copies of the 6 missions and the students picked the one that was most exciting to them. We drew them with pencils on manila drawing paper, and added details. Once they got the basic shapes together, then we added even more detail. Especially with Mission Socorro, for example, the artists added several details that weren’t there in real life (implied texture, creative texture, creative color.)
Once drawn, I showed them how to tape a “hinge” between their manila drawing and the aluminum sheet cut to the size of their drawing. We used magazines under our taped drawings to cushion the engraving and ensure the deepest engraving possible.
After the lines were all engraved (and some embossed on the other side), we busted out the color Sharpies. Did you know that colored Sharpies on silver aluminum look amazing? They look like they glow from within – I love it! After the missions were bedazzled with pattern and shiny colors, there was the background to do something with. I showed them how to add Van Gogh-styled stars and moons, and that gave us a little extra something for the composition.
When you’re done, you can punch a hole in it to make it a wall hanging, or you can mount it with foam core behind it for some depth on a poster board cut to size. Or it can become free-standing art or framed for years to come. Enjoy!