Arts Integration for Enrichment

Make Every Class Day Engaging!

Ephemeral Art & SEL with Flying Wish Paper

Lesson Objectives

This is a great lesson in letting go. By the end of this activity, students will be able to:


  • Engage in a collaborative discussion with diverse partners, expressing ideas (writing)
  • Explain ways in which artistic creations serve as expressions of culture (history)
  • Analyze factors that create stress or motivate successful performance (SEL 1)
  • Use conversation skills to understand others’ feelings and perspectives (SEL 2)
  • Demonstrate ways to express empathy for others (SEL 2)

Supplies Needed

  1. A few examples of very simple abstract art drawings
  2. Flying Wish Paper
  3. Gel pens, pencils, or other writing/drawing implements

Process

1. Individual (2 minutes): think of a saying, a thought, an image, a phrase, an experience - even a person - that you feel you need to let go. For example: “I’m not good enough.” “My boyfriend left me.” “I’m stressed.” Anything you need to let go. Anything that is weighing on your soul.


2. When you have that thought/feeling/image/phrase/person solidly in your mind, I want you to change it into an abstract image in your mind. (For instance, what would “I’m not good enough” look like, visually?)


Here are some examples for inspiration. If you were to apply thoughts or people to them, what might they represent?:

3. Get a sheet of Flying Wish Paper and gel markers in whatever colors you need.


4. Draw your abstract image on the wish paper.

Do not make the ink too thick, or it will not fly.


5. When everyone is finished, we will go outside and gather in groups of THREE.


6. Share as much or as little about your drawing as you’re comfortable doing with the two others in your group, keeping in mind our social-emotional learning goals today.


7. When you’re ready, roll your drawing into a cylinder by wrapping it around your index finger.


8. Set the cylinder on a flat surface, and light the top of the paper on fire.

Say or think “I am letting this go” as you watch the ashes ascend into the sky.


9. Consider how this makes you feel.

Can you let this thought/feeling/image/phrase/person go?

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Alternate Activity: Flying Doves and Poetry Pals!

Send “birds” off into the great unknown with a fun poetry activity centered around flying metaphors! This can be scaled up or down to any grade level (just eliminate metaphor discussion for PK-1)


  1. Get a couple of packs of Biodegradable Dove Balloons and a helium tank from Party City.
  2. Put up a photo of a dove, like the one below.
  3. Invite students to ask questions related to the photo (any question is fine.) This turns the table; normally it’s the teachers asking the questions. See if students can answer the questions or find answers...you can answer as well. If they ask questions you don’t know the answers to, this is a great opportunity to explore answers together!
  4. Write down as much about the dove as you can as you’re going through this inquiry together!
  5. Also, see if you can find what doves look like when they fly in a flock.
  6. Define metaphor (something that symbolically represents something else, like “chaos is a ladder”), and practice using the dove/birds and its qualities as metaphor.
  7. Craft poems using the metaphors as a springboard.
  8. When your poems are ready, transfer them to your dove balloon (they’re made to be written on!)
  9. Attach a small card to the dove, with the poem on one side, and an invitation to whomever finds it to send back a poem!
  10. On the other side of the card, include the school address, ℅ the teacher (this way you can read whatever gets sent back first before the kid does, in case it’s inappropriate).
  11. Bring a camera, and take the class outside.
  12. See if you can arrange yourselves the way a flock of doves would, and release your balloons all at once.
  13. Photograph the flock at regular intervals before and after it’s released, and while the doves fly away. You may want to also photograph some of the process of project creation.
  14. Print the photographs and create a gallery walk for parents, PTA, other teachers and students to see the process and final project, or design a website. Share the poetry!
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Supplies Needed

  1. Biodegradable Dove Balloons
  2. Helium tank from a party store
  3. String
  4. Sharpies, pencils, and pens
  5. A photo of a dove
  6. Card stock
  7. A camera

Jadyn Harris

2nd year Doctoral Student: Curriculum & Instruction

Areas of Study:

  • Critical Race Theory
  • Social-Emotional Learning (SEL)
  • Arts Integration

Ages Taught: Toddler through College Age

Years of Teaching Experience: 11