Lesson Plan for Individualizing Tiles

Creating a Collaborative Community
Lesson plan written collaboratively by Mrs. Delaney’s 4th and 5th grades Montessori class (web version).

We invite you to join us on an art project called Building a Collaborative Community.

What does the word ‘community’ make you think of?

What do you think of when you hear the word ‘collaborate’?

You can have a community that doesn’t collaborate (which would be sad), but you can’t have collaboration without community.  At Broadwater, we work in a collaborative community.

Do you know our school’s Mission Statement?


Broadwater Elementary School Mission Statement:

We are passionate, inquisitive, and creative; learning to be best we can be.

We value perseverance, integrity, compassion, balance and fun.

We will inspire joyful, rigorous learning and foster physical, emotional, and academic wellness as a collaborative community.

We have four Universals that guide our actions on our journey:

Be Respectful * Be Responsible * Be Safe * Be a Learner


All of us are unique, special, and different.  No one in our community is exactly the same.  We each bring our unique talents and personality to the collaborative community.  We have about 300 people who work or go to school at Broadwater right now.  That’s a lot of people!  Now imagine how many more people there are if you count up all the family members and friends of those 300.  Wow!  Every year we welcome new students and families.  There have been thousands of people to go to Broadwater Elementary since the 1890s.  Now imagine all the local businesses and organizations that support students in our community.  There are hundreds!  Each student at our school is part of a huge community who supports and cares for us!  We are going to make individual tiles that represent each person who is part of our community, including you.

You will make an individual tile that shows how unique you are, and we will add it to our larger community.  Eventually, all these tiles will be displayed on the fence of our playground by the big field.  Let’s get started!

Fenceling Demo

(Note:  the tiles will hang ‘diagonally’ like in this picture, so make your design that direction too.  Remember to make sure it looks awesome from both sides of the fence!)

Hints and tips on individualizing tiles:

First you will need to make a simple design by drawing a shape on the paper backing of the vinyl.  You get one quadrilateral (that’s a four-sided polygon) for your main color.  You may use pieces out of the Rainbow Box for details and additional colors.  We have some suggestions on how to make this part fun and easy.

  1. Design and Cut:  (Look at the Gallery for more ideas!)

-Make fairly large shapes so you can easily peel them later.  Hearts have been very popular.

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-Big shapes and simple designs are best!

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-Try to do all the cutting yourself.

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-Be prepared to be flexible with your design.  You might have to change it to make it work better.

IMG_0620  Uh-oh, too much detail that can’t be cut out.  You can layer different colors of vinyl instead.

IMG_0643 Much better!

-Details can be added from scraps in the Rainbow Box.  If you draw a design on the paper, it won’t show up on the final vinyl.  You will only see the solid shape.

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-Think about your design before getting a color of vinyl (you might have to change color if it doesn’t fit your design idea).

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  1. Peel and Stick:

-Wipe off the tile before sticking anything to it.

-We will poke the holes in the vinyl later, so feel free to cover them up.

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-Avoid touching the sticky part (it will stop working)

-Have an adult approve the design and/or help with the peeling for younger students.

-Lay the vinyl sticky-side-up and lower the tile for accurate placement.

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Use your fingers to smooth the vinyl and press it really well to the polycarbonate.  Try to get rid of all the air bubbles.

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-If the vinyl sticks to your finger, put the corner of the tile on the vinyl.  It will stick to the tile instead of your finger.  Then lay the rest of the tile on the vinyl.

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-Remember to press the vinyl and try to work out all the air bubbles.

IMG_0625 (Pressing out the bubbles)

-Avoid wrapping vinyl around the edges; it won’t stay and will weather poorly.  Use scissors to trim any vinyl that sticks out over the edge.  You can layer vinyl, but try to keep it to only 4 layers or less.

IMG_0646 Uh-oh, too many layers and wrapping!

IMG_0648 Ahh, much better.

NOTE:  Your tile will hang this direction–make your design so that it is a rhombus on the angle (not the usual way we draw on paper).

-If you layer, you can put all the design pieces on one piece of vinyl, then stick the entire big background piece all at once.

IMG_0627 (Details added, then stuck to the tile.)

3. Clean-up:

-Only large scraps that have not been unpeeled should go in the Rainbow Box.

-Be careful with your vinyl, it might stick to things!  Don’t worry, you can pick it off.

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Wrap-up:

Thank you for joining us in our art-making today!  We appreciate each and every member of our collaborative community and can’t wait to see these new tiles installed.  You can look later during recess to find yours (it will not be there today–we still have a few steps before it’s ready for the fence).