Teaching Resources: Collage / Piñata Lesson

Teaching resource: how to design a piñata in just a few simple steps

Teaching interviews are scary things. They last the entire day, and normally consist of a tour of the school, a meeting with the Head Teacher and Department Head(s), a lesson observation, a formal interview, and in the case of art teacher interviews – a portfolio presentation of your students’ work. The interview for my current job was no different. For my classroom observation I was asked to prepare an art lesson on the theme of “celebration” for a mixed-ability group of year 8 students.

My lesson focused the theme of Mexican piñatas. I developed a worksheet to help students design their own piñata, which you can download here. The worksheet has been designed to help students learn some basic drawing and collage skills, as well as introduce them to an aspect of Mexican culture. I have also included a “word bank” for new vocabulary. In addition to the worksheet, I created a PowerPoint (available on TES), and printed and laminated images of different shaped piñatas for students to look at and use as inspiration. Each child received a mini “pack” of collage materials with coloured tissue paper, tin foil, cut up greeting cards etc…

My piñata worksheet

1. The first stage shows children how to draw animals or stars (traditional piñata designs) using geometric shapes – a great way of helping students to simplify complex images.

2. The second stage is to add collage papers and fabrics over the surface of the drawing. At this point, it might be helpful to point out a few interesting paper folding techniques e.g. making a concertina, creating ruffles, paper tearing, overlapping materials, scrunching paper etc…

3. The final stage involves adding any special embellishments e.g. sequins, beads, tin foil and other decorations. Cut-up greeting cards, fabrics and sweet papers work well too.

I also bought in a real piñata to show the children.  I really wanted to fill it with sweets and get the kids to smash it with a stick at the end of class, but my sensible side prevailed (I was worried about creating the wrong impression – it was an interview after all! What if the kids went nuts and my lesson turned into a riot?!) Instead, I bought in a jar of sweets and promised the class they could have them as a reward at the end of the lesson if they worked well.

I must have done something right, as I got the job! The kids couldn’t have worked better. Which just goes to show… if in doubt, just dish out a few sweets!

Check out TES for my worksheet and PowerPoint.


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