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We all know the joys of sidewalk art, from the beginning of being covered in chalk dust to showing off various finished masterpieces. Encourage a little creativity in your students by filling their hands with supplies and sending them out to beautify some pavement. Before you do though, read on for some ideas inspired by La Strada dell'Arte, an annual sidewalk art celebration hosted in Kansas City at Liberty Memorial, the country's only World War I Museum.

Think BIG
Assign students to groups or (for the older kids) allow them to work alone at recreating artwork on a large scale. Have students plan their chalk art beforehand, by illustrating a drawing in the classroom or by reproducing an image they choose. This will be enable students to make better use of their sidewalk space once outdoors. The older the artist, the more you will want to encourage shading and dramatic color in the piece.

Before you head outdoors, take one last moment to divide students' art on a grid. Mark off each drawing in increments of about 2 inches square, depending on the size of the original. These same grid marks will be placed on the concrete outside for reproducing the image

Mark off blocks of space on the sidewalk before anyone begins drawing, that way you're sure to have enough space to go around. If you really want to go BIG, use a basketball court or parking lot and allow an entire class to work on one image. Use a yard stick inside the designated block to copy the grid used on the orginal image. A simple conversion is 2 inches = 2 feet outside, but you can also increase the outside measurement to 3 feet if you have enough room. Once the grids are completed, students can draw in one block at a time, copying from the drawing one block at a time until they're finished.

Be Very Prepared
For those daring enough to take on the really big projects, be sure you have everything you could possibly need. Check the following supply list before you start, and be sure to put everything in a box in case it gets windy:

  • Gallon jugs of water - for drinking as well as washing off hands and legs
  • Knee pads or gardener's padded work boards - to kneel on while drawing instead of being directly on the pavement
  • Large sheets of plastic or garbage bags taped together - keep this on hand as a cover in case of rain, heavy wind, or just to protect work over a long lunch break
  • Paintbrushes of all shapes and sizes, sponges - to blend and spread colors with
  • Pastels or sidewalk chalk - Your choice, depending on price. Pastels will usually give you more vibrant colors and produce higher-quality work.
  • Paper towels or old towels and rags - to clean up as necessary
  • Hats, sunscreen, sunglasses - to protect from the elements
  • Don't forget a camera to take pictures! You might even consider letting the local media know so they can cover the project in the papers and on TV.
Now that you've got everything you need, get out there and have some fun. Send those pictures you take to use here at Teachnet and we'll be sure to publish the best of them.

Make your own sidewalk chalk with these recipes submitted by T2T contributor Iram Khan

Eggshell Chalk
4-5 eggshells
1 teaspoon flour
1 teaspoon very hot tap water
food coloring
Wash and dry eggshells, put in a bowl and grind into powder. Throw out any large pieces. Pour flour and hot water and 1 tablespoon of eggshell powder
in another bowl. Mix until mixture looks like paste. Add food colouring now if you'd like. Shape and press the paste into the shape of chalk sticks. Roll up tightly in a strip of paper towel and allow to dry for about three days. *This chalk is only good for sidewalks.

Sidewalk Chalk
2 cups water
2 cups plaster of Paris
2 tablespoons wet or dry tempera paint
toilet paper tubes
duct tape
Use duct tape to cover one end of each toilet paper tube. Mix all ingredients and set aside for 5 minutes. Line a cookie sheet with wax paper or foil. Place tubes upright on paper with open end facing up. You might want to tabe the tubes upright onto the wax paper or foil to make it more steady. Pour mixture into holders. Leave standing until chalk mixture is almost firm. Rip off the toilet paper tubes and let the sidewalk chalk dry for about 2 more hours.