Collage is about translating an idea into an arrangement of shapes.  Shapes can be close together, far apart, or overlapping.  Shapes can have cut or torn edges. Shapes can have different colors and textures.  The challenge for students is to figure out their own ways to use all of these elements in their collages.



  •   What kind of shapes will you cut?
  •   How will you arrange your shapes?

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  •  Will your collage be long or tall?

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  • Where will you use smooth and bumpy shapes?

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Cutting circles:

  • Where will you put round shapes in your collage?

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  • What shapes will you cut?
  • Will your shapes be next to each other, touch each other, or overlap?
  • Where will you put your small collage on the big class collage?



  • What do you like to do in the winter?

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  • What parts does a fish have?
  • What shape do you need to cut for each part?
  • What else in in your classroom fish tanks?


  • What is in your class terrarium?
  • What shapes do you need to cut to make darkling beetles, pill bugs, moss mats, tree seedlings, gravel, etc.?
  • Where will you glue your part on the big mural?



First Grade

Block buildings from observation:

  •  Which kinds of blocks did you use in your building?
  •  What shapes do you need to cut to make a collage of your building?
  •  Where do you need to put each shape?

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Cutting Circles/Collaboration:

  • What could we make for our garden?
  • How do you cut a circle?
  • What other shapes will you need to cut?
  • Where will you put each part of the garden?

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  • What parts do you need to make for a self-portrait?
  • What shapes will you need to make for each part?
  • How big is each part?
  • What clothes will you be wearing?

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  • What can you make to show that it's Spring?


Second Grade


  •   If you could have anything for lunch, what would you choose?
  •   Where will you put the shapes?
  •    Will they be close together, touching, far apart, or overlapping?

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  •  How can people travel fast?
  •  What parts does your vehicle have?
  •  What shapes will you need for the parts?
  •  How will you show the person riding in or on the vehicle?



  •  What shapes will you need to cut to make a collage of your house?
  •  Where will you make little and big shapes?
  •  Where will you put shapes on top of shapes?
  •  Where will you make shapes that touch each other?
  •  Where will you use some bumpy paper?


  • How can we tell that it's Spring?



Third Grade

Composition/Small Moment Collages:

  • Who, What, Where, When, How?
  • Who was with you?
  • What were you doing?
  • Where were you?
  • When did it happen?
  • How did you feel at that moment?
  • How big will you make each person?
  • How close together will the people be?
  • What shapes do you need to cut for the parts of each person?
  • What shapes do you need to cut for the background?
  • Will you start with the people or the place?




Tonka Trucks from observation:

  • Where do you see big and small shapes?
  • Where do you see connecting shapes?
  • Where do you see shapes inside of shapes?
  • What kind of background will you make? 

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Texture/A stuffed owl from observation:

  •  Which shapes will you cut, and which will you tear?
  •  Where do you see big and small parts?
  •  Where will you need to make shapes touching each other?




  • What will you make for a collage about Winter?
  • How will you work together to make a whole class collage?

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Fourth Grade

Visual storytelling/Matchbox cars from observation:

  •  Where do you see big and small shapes, connecting shapes, shapes inside of shapes?
  • What kind of background will you invent for your car?
  • How can you extend your story onto another piece of paper?

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Fifth Grade

Self Portraits from Observation:

  • What shapes do you need to cut for all the parts of your face?
  • What size is each part compared to all the other parts?
  • How much space is between each part?
  • Where do you need to make overlapping shapes?
  • Will you tear or crumple the paper for any parts of your self-portrait?

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Flowers from Observation:

  •  How will you use the paper to show the textures of the flowers?
  • Where will you need to overlap?


Collage Murals/First through Fifth Grade Collaboration:

  • What can you add to the water, sand, or sky?

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Murals about the Alcott School Library:

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