As the school year comes to a close, you and your students are likely reminiscing on the great times you’ve had together. Class art projects help stave off the nostalgia while building new memories, and no project is more effective at this than a mural. By depicting memorable classroom experiences, murals preserve your students’ best memories for all to see.
The purpose of making a mural is to involve everyone in the same creative process. Sculpting, drawing, and other projects generally involve students working individually. Each student is thus responsible for her or his own work and needs no input from others. Murals, however, require all students to work together, ensuring that everyone agrees on and contributes to the final goal. Students thus learn that creativity and teamwork go hand in hand, a valuable lesson throughout their lives.
Making a mural requires:
- A large mural canvas, art paper roll, or wall
- Colored pencils, crayons, or markers
- Mural paint and brushes
- Paint clothes for all students
For an effective, well-planned mural, follow these steps:
1. Select a Subject – Class murals usually contain pictures of all of the students, portraying a trip or other experience they had together. Alternatively, the mural could depict a scene from a book they all read, a science principle they learned, or something else related to their studies. Have the students come up with as many ideas as possible, and then narrow the options to something everyone likes. Then develop a specific plan with them for what you will paint.
2. Look for a Location – Find somewhere in the school that is both visible to everyone and accessible for your students. Measure the area to determine how much space you will have to work with.
3. Draw a draft – Hang up a large art paper (roll) in the classroom, the same size as the mural space. Have your students outline an early version of the mural, ensuring that everyone contributes something. Once you have an outline, have the students color it in.
4. Make the Mural – Have your students put on paint clothes, take the draft and all necessary materials to the mural site, and hang up the draft nearby. Then have the students paint the mural.
If your school doesn’t have space for a permanent mural, you can instead use colored chalk to temporarily decorate a wall. This version has the advantage of not requiring paint clothes, sparing you the expense of outfitting everyone. Just make sure to take a picture of the mural as soon as your students are finished, and send the photo to the students’ families. Just because the mural itself is temporary doesn’t mean its image can’t live on.
Another option is to paint your mural on a canvas. Although you will still need paint clothes, the benefit of this method is that you can move the mural around and hang it up in different areas of the school. Just make sure you make a draft before painting the canvas; mistakes on canvas may not be as serious as mistakes on a wall, but they can cause you to waste material.
Has your school displayed student-created murals? If so, please share them with us – we’d love to see them!