Faith CoLab: Tapestry of Faith: Windows and Mirrors: A Program about Diversity for Grades 4-5

Activity 1: Starting Our Window/Mirror Panels

Activity time: 10 minutes

Materials for Activity

  • A blank canvas board or a sheet of thick, corrugated cardboard for all participants
  • Large baskets or plastic bins, one for each work table, filled with:
    • Sheets of Mylar(R) in several colors, shiny gift wrap, aluminum foil, and other reflective papers
    • Sheets of plain or construction paper
    • Scraps of fabric
    • Color markers (permanent markers work best on Mylar)
    • Glue sticks, tape (including double-sided tape), and scissors (including left-hand scissors)
    • Optional: Stick-on sequins, a hole-puncher, yarn, ribbon, and a variety of magazines to cut up

Preparation for Activity

  • Review the program Introduction, including the Before You Start section, to make sure you are prepared to describe the Window/Mirror Panel project and its purpose.
  • Obtain pieces of canvas board, sheets of heavy corrugated cardboard, or blank panels of another material for all participants, plus a few extra. You will find canvas board in various sizes at any large arts and crafts store or online. If you have not yet done so, co-leaders and your director of religious education should together decide the size of the panels children will make and the materials the children will use, being mindful of how and where the panels will be combined and exhibited. The Introduction provides a few of the many possibilities for displaying the panels for your congregation.
  • Obtain large baskets or bins to hold art materials and fill a basket or bin for each worktable or small group to share.
  • Identify a place where Window/Mirror Panels can be stored between sessions.
  • Make reflective frames for the Window/Mirror Panels. Measure the perimeter of one blank panel to see the length of framing material each panel will need. Cut long, 3- to 4-inch strips of silver Mylar or another reflective material. Paste strips to make a frame for each panel, using strong adhesive or double-sided tape to stick your frame onto the board securely. Alternatively, cover the entire board with reflective gift wrap and then mark a three-inch frame with a permanent marker around the edge.
  • Cut out a variety of shapes from colored Mylar or other reflective materials or have large sequins to write on.

Description of Activity

Explain that each person brings a unique self to this group. Each person may be drawn to different ideas, may have different skills, likes and dislikes, and ways of doing things. To represent their uniqueness, each participant will work on their own panel during the Windows and Mirrors program. Tell participants:

As you work on your panel, it can be a mirror where you see yourself as you are in this program, and how your experiences and thoughts here reflect you or affect you.

When we display our panels together, they can be a window for others to look in and observe each of you and the group. They may be able to see and understand how you see yourselves. Others may find a mirror for themselves in your panels, too.

Hold up a sample panel. Describe your plan for how and where the panels will be displayed together at the end of the program. Tell the children:

This is one way for the congregation to get a window into what you have been doing and learning. The panel will be a way to share with the whole church community. When we display our panels together, the exhibit might help some viewers see our congregation in a new way.

Invite the children to take a Window/Mirror Panel and write their names on the back with permanent marker. Show them where you will store their panels between sessions. If you have not glued on the frames, help children do this now.

Then lead them to begin decorating their frames. Suggest they recall their Outer/Inner Self-Portrait from Session 1. If you have these, return them to the children now. Invite them to consider using the ideas or perhaps the actual portrait as part of their Window/Mirror Panel; they may cut up their self-portrait to incorporate parts of it. Revisit the questions from Session 1, Activity 1. You might say:

Consider who you are in the world. You might include some "outer" features, such as your physical appearance, your interests and skills, the places you spend your time. You might also express your "inner" self, including some aspects of your personality, some of your feelings, some wishes or fears.

Direct participants' attention to the Window/Mirror Panel basket(s) you have prepared. Invite them to use precut Mylar pieces, the permanent markers and other materials to write or draw along the Mylar frame of their panel to represent at least ten things they think make up who they are. Suggest they could cut shapes from the pieces of reflective material and then use adhesive to attach them where they wish along the outer Mylar frame. If they need help, assist them. If children are using permanent markers, make sure the ink is dry before they glue the pieces onto their frames.

Keep your instructions brief. Explain that they have a short time to work now, but will add to the panels later today (Activity 5) and in future sessions.