Parents arrived to see the tables of the cafeteria covered with white paper, and twelve large cardboard chairs, ready to be covered with paper mache. These chairs will be part of the float that Wooldridge Elementary is creating for the First Night Parade.
Since the school’s theme will be “Austin Food,” we are creating a giant table surrounded by windows, and covered with an assortment of paper mache food. It will resemble a larger-than-life dining room sauntering down Congress Avenue. The kids will actually wear these paper mache chairs, like backpacks, so that they can actually become a part of the dining room!
The families dug right in, and many of the parents showed the kids (and sometimes vice versa) how to properly apply the paper mache to the cardboard. Some families meticulously applied layers tiny pieces of brown tissue paper to their chairs; others wrapped them like presents with large sheets of tissue. All of the chairs were made differently, but ended up looking like pieces of the same project.
There were also a couple of other tables that offered families with alternative art projects. There was the option to create tiny shoes (which would attach to the chairs, and eventually resemble dangling legs). We also presented the opportunity to help decorate giant guitars in preparation for another school’s float.
As the families finished their food (all of which was generously prepared by after-school teachers), I set up my computer to display a slideshow of previous First Night experiences. Many of the parents and kids’ faces lit up when they saw picture after picture of costumed kids marching downtown Austin.
Toward the end of the evening, Freddy, TAP Teaching Artist, was kind enough to grab the microphone and announce to the families that this Family Fun Night was one of the best he’d seen at Wooldridge. The families were proud and even more excited for the upcoming parade where they get to march together with all of their creations!
~Bryan Ko, TAP Teaching Artist