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If you're looking for the Guiding Principles for the Art Workshop topic, that topic has been expanded and moved to here in the Art forum.

The rest of this topic preserves some older discussion from Neil and other posters about "art vs craft".

Last edited by Neil MacQueen
Original Post

The Year We Banned Construction Paper

A Rotation Story: Why We BANNED Construction Paper in our Sunday School

Back in 1991-92, in the second year of starting the Rotation Model at the Pres Ch. of Barrington, our DCE and I BANNED CONSTRUCTION PAPER from our Art Workshop.

It started as kind of a joke.  Just before we launched Rotation, we were cleaning out one of several supply closets and discovered a 20 year supply of construction paper. Best collection ever!  

Many of our volunteers had become dependent on construction paper for their "craft time," and we needed them to start thinking about "art" rather than "craft."  So as a challenge, we LOCKED the construction paper closet. And it worked!  And to our leaders, it became a symbol of what we were striving for when it came to the "Art" Workshop, --which is to say, something more expressive, artistic and durable.

Updated 2016

Neil posted the following after working with a team of lesson reviewers who were 'renovating' various forums here at  Wormy the editor has since combined two other older posts into this list during a topic cleanup.

What I think makes an art project "lame-o" 

1. The art/craft product bears little resemblance to the story or its meaning, or focuses on a minor point in the story, instead of a MAJOR point.

If the art project/product doesn't express a central point or reflection from the story, then you need another art project/product that does.

2. Projects that are too simple for older children, or too complicated for small hands. 

3. Inappropriate materials, such as, straight pins, glass jars, candles.  (And cheap or flimsy materials that save money but look awful, ...such as construction paper.)

4. Things no older boy would be caught dead wearing, sharing, or taking home.

5. The traditional Christmas Ornament project that doesn't reinforce the point of the lesson, and is made out of materials that won't last a year on the tree, or nobody thinks is "cool." Good projects reinforce the story, and last longer than the ride home in the car.  

6. Any art lesson that suggests "now draw a picture using markers". That may be appropriate for preschoolers, but in Rotation, we strive to be more creative.

7. Lesson plans that seem to always place the art activity AFTER the Bible Study.

Use art/graphic media at different points in your lesson, not just for "after the Bible study." Here's an example of this interspersing technique using the classic "make a collage from magazine images" lesson idea:  For a stewardship lesson, open with a search through magazines for "conspicuous consumption" to quickly make a class collage for discussion purposes. Then share the scripture verse and discuss the collage items. Then send them back into the magazines to find images that reflect what the scripture is trying to tell us.


I love it when the project ITSELF carries the life application flag in the lesson plan. Example: David and Jonathan friendship bracelet to share with a friend. Or creates a reminder of the lesson in a form that can go home and keep reminding the student and/or family. Think: "Projects with a Purpose" ...projects that express the student's feeling/spirituality/reflection, or a project that is meant to share a Word with others (such as a display, or take home activity).

9. Projects that require too much glue and "drying time."    

I'm always thinking about alternative ways to assemble things so that the kids can take them home after the lesson rather than having to pick them for next week. I've also become much more aware of the right kind of glue for certain materials, and adhesives that work quickly. 

10.  Doing "individual" projects all the time.

Working together, creating displays for the congregation, are a nice way to learn and share.


Last edited by Luanne Payne

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