Thursday, May 10, 2012

Sandy's Circus--Back By Popular Demand

                                                          "Circus Pony and Her Trainer"

Alexander Calder's Miniature Circus is well loved by my students and a favorite with my fifth graders who remembered when we did it way back when.   I had a special request by one of my students to bring it back this year.  Great idea!  This lesson provided a fun break from the intensity of portrait drawing and also a wonderful way to deplete, or at least make a dent in, the ever-growing "scrap box"...the place where bits and pieces and all the left-overs go all year long.

Students began by revisiting "Cirque de Calder" ".  We brainstormed a huge list of  circus acts together as a group and talked about the wonder of creating miniature worlds. We looked at pictures of various circus posters and acts.   Kids chose three of their favorite circus acts to sketch  in their sketchbooks paying special attention to costuming and props.  Kids chose their best ideas and began building their acts.  Some work is still in progress, but these were finished today.

"Anna's Trapeze"  The slightest breeze sets the little figure swinging.

"Tight Rope Walker"  about to step onto the wire.  Love her bathing suit.

   "Giraffe Rides!"  What fun!  This  giraffe has a long ribbon neck.  This artist included movement in her sculpture by attaching the head to a string so the toy could be interactive.

                                              "Bear Act"  a dancing bear with it's trainer.

"Fire Dancers and Jugglers" in a fancy beaded ring.


  1. I also am a huge fan of Calder's Circus but I've never attempted it quite this way with kids. These are absolutely FABULOUS - wonderfully creative solutions to structure challenges! I'm impressed - kudos to your students.

  2. i am doing a 1st grade 2d project right now on Calder's Circus.. but this is a great 3d idea for the older kids!! love it thanks for sharing!

  3. Beautiful interpretation of the artist work.
    Very creative.

  4. Barbara,

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    Original Blog award.


  5. These are utterly fantastic. I caught myself chuckling a bit at the scenes.

    I'm Jen from, by the way. Just found your blog tonight. Love the name of your blog by the way!