An AWESOME Art Challenge


I tried something very different today since it was the last class for grade 6. They had spent the whole quarter working on the NY collaboration so I thought I’d reward them with a super fun challenge. I showed them two Expressionist portraits and had them choose a group of two or three. Each group was given a large canvas, which had 3 pre-drawn ovals. The ovals were to be turned into Expressionist portraits.

The Rules

  • Don’t touch the canvas for 5mins. (Discuss as a group the colour scheme, who was doing what and a general plan.)
  • Use chalk to draw with.
  • The faces had to apply the rules of portraiture.
  • They needed to be Expressionist.
  • No black until the end.
  • They have to start painting at 9:55am and stop 10:45am


This task was designed to see how my lovely grade 6 class would work as a team. It was actually inspired by a L2 talk I saw about “5mins of fun”. Since it was the last class, why not relax and have 60mins of fun. It worked exceptionally well because the rules were clear. It was open enough for interpretation but was more structured than “free time”. Since there was a time limit all students stayed on task.


I have to say for one lesson, and no demonstration, ALL students did a brilliant job! It is a fabulous way to get some colourful and fun art on the walls instantly! In fact now I am thinking more of my classes need this kind of challenge. It could be sculptural, drawing, printing, digital or painting. Maybe once a month.


There was even an option to work solo if a student was not in a mood for the group challenge. However, that created a couple of issues with students not wanting to work with other students. Next time I would consider the groupings ahead of time. I wanted it to be fun and spontaneous but when people were swapping groups it could have the possibility of hurting somebody’s feelings. In the end everything worked out really well and I seriously could not be happier with the results. Well DONE Grade 6!


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