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Behold the power of the "Cootie Catcher"!

Remember the cootie catcher? That little piece of origami magic that made for hours of fun around the lunch table (or in those not-so-engaging classes)?

What if this fun little throwback from our middle school days could make a big impact on instruction? Well, guess what? It can.

Cootie catchers can be a great way to get students talking about art--be it artist exemplars or the student's own work. Just create one online (see below), have students cut it, fold it, and get started playing (and learning).

For example, here's one I created about the Elements of Art. I split students into groups of 2 and give each pair a few artworks to talk about. The students determine if each artwork is a painting, sculpture, photograph or other. They then use this word to kick off the cootie catcher game. The next level of choice allows the student to pick an art element. The question is under the art element. Students then use this question to guide their discussion about the work.

I've also used this technique for student critiques--this gamified strategy was just the ticket to help students open up about their work with their peers. Advanced students could create their own questions to interview a peer on critique day.

I found this great website where you can customize your own cootie catcher using PowerPoint (I then convert my finished copy to a pdf using so I can't mess it up). Check it out and start making your own!

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