The stained glass window project benefited my students in several ways. First, it introduced them to the historical relevance of stained glass and brought an awareness to them of its purpose and meanings. Students suddenly came to class with stories of where they had spotted stained glass, the images portrayed in the glass, and whether or not they felt the glass was too difficult for them.
Second, it introduced my students to a challenging new medium. None of my students had ever worked with glass prior and they enjoyed the challenge of learning to cut straight and curvy lines, determining how the glass would break, and many found the soldering plain exciting.
Third, students learned the importance of following directions. About a week into the project, I came down with the flu. Rather than delay the project for an entire week, I felt that my students were far enough into the project to complete portions of it without me. To say the least, I was wrong. Students decided that without me present they could make their projects more difficult than I had approved and change designs. The sub, not an art teacher and having no glass experience, thought their ideas were great and encouraged them to go with it rather than keeping them on task. When I returned to the classroom, students had used all of the glass, ruined several of their projects with ideas that weren't feasible for stained glass, and had so many little pieces that couldn't be worked into their projects that it was laughable. Of course they asked for all new glass so they could do it right this time, but that wasn't possible. We are in the process of trying to use the pieces to create something show worthy, but at this time we are at a loss. On the upside, they are getting plenty of practice with their cutting skills, their soldering skills, and their piecing skills to create a positive out of a tough situation. They have, I will admit, developed an appreciation for the difficulty of stained glass. Good lesson for Junior High students.
Although the project did not turn out as intended, some great life lessons were learned. Thank you for providing my class with an opportunity they would never have had otherwise.