These adorable Elmer the Elephant masks saved my tail in getting ready for the art show:
Let me set it up for you: MOUNTAINS of first grade work, previously organized into student portfolio folders (folded sheets of paper with their names on them), long sheets of black paper, ready to have work glued to it, student names printed onto labels. . . and so little time to get it all together. So,I had students start their masks by folding 18 x 24 paper and laid the patterns on their paper on the fold . . . once they were all tracing, letting me check before they cut (one class was a little lax on the letting-me-check part, so there's a LOT of tape down the middle of their masks), I started frantically calling students back to choose their two favorite works from their portfolio for me to glue to the black paper while they worked on their elephant masks.
This project took two days, and between their first and second time, I went through and cut their eye holes for them. I kept their mask folded, inserted a hole punch as far as I could, punched and then used scissors to cut their eye shape. They were pretty perfectly placed for first grade faces!
The first day we worked on these, they walked out with their portfolio of work (classroom teachers were NOT loving me that day: picture 25 first graders walking with a paper folded over those giant peacocks, paintings, drawings and dropping them all the way down the hall). When they returned, we read Elmer and the Kangaroo which is a great story about Elmer being kind to a stranger who becomes a friend. Telling the truth here, I just sent our library clerk a request for "some Elmer books" and read this one cold and it turned out great. So, some of the student's elephant masks aren't too Elmer-y because they didn't really know who he was until we read the book. But it turned out, because all their elephants were so very colorful:
And one more thing: I don't add a string to hold the mask on because it's a pain and they always rip. I just have them hold them because they're HUGE and it works out. If time permits, we have an "elephant parade" through the halls on our way back to our class. I selfishly view this as making up to the first grade teachers for those huge and messy artwork portfolios, delivering their class to them so they don't have to walk down to my room :-)