This lesson was an opportunity to teach students about the whimsical, moving sculptures of Alexander Calder, including his infamous, miniature circus made entirely from wire and wood figures that "performed" for audiences throughout America and Europe in the 1920's. We looked at photos of this work and Calder's even more famous mobiles, and read the children's book, Sandy's Circus, which Ms. Shopmyer had available in our media center.
Is it a turkey or a peacock? (Or something else entirely?) I had discovered a similar lesson online that had students creating a turkey, but it seemed a little, well, boring in the color department. So I dug out a bunch of old, donated calendars that featured the colorfully-dressed people of Guatemala and cut multicolored circles from their clothing.
Students folded their circle to make their bird's body. Then they colored an index card on both sides and cut strips from it to make tail feathers. I gave them a pipe cleaner for a neck and a double sided, pre-cut head to which they added eyes, a beak, and colors. Students glued their tail feathers to the body at one end and folded and glued the paper head to an end of their bird's neck. Then I helped them attach the other end of the neck to their turkey/peacock body. The result was a flock of colorful (and rockable) birds and hopefully a little learning about Alexander Calder - and how sculptures don't always have to stand still!