12.05.2010

Sibling Assignment #137: Friday Afternoon Art Projects at Sunnyside Elementary



I gave the sibling assignment this week. "Think of a Christmas memory tied to a school experience and why it has stayed with you." You will find Silver Valley Girl's memories of Chrsitmas programs here and Raymond Pert's will be posted when he finds time after making the Brett Favre scrapbook for his new grandson.

When I attended Sunnyside Elementary School in Kellogg teachers were known for the art projects they did in their classrooms. Whether the class projects were in the display case by the office, around the lunchroom, or hanging up in the classroom you had something to look forward to during December. I have mentioned many times that I was blessed with many talented and creative teachers in my elementary years. It was a tradition that we had art Friday afternoons after recess.  I am thinking teachers must have squeezed in more art time during the month of December.

Whether we sat for hours and rolled little balls out of crepe paper to make a tree, or used a paper punch to make white holes for a snowman... it was an art project that was memorable. Many of the ornaments we made are still part of the Christmas archives at Mom's house. If a creation made it home in one piece it was added to a collection of projects that grew as we moved through the grades. I also think Mom was inspired by our teachers' projects at Sunnyside and carried them to Silver King for her students to create.

The creation that always sticks in my mind is the paper mache ornament I made in Mrs. Meyer's room. I was in second grade. She led a project all by herself that involved blowing up balloons, using a hot plate to heat glue, cutting newspaper strips, tempera paint, glitter, and at least twenty-five second graders. She magically made it work. I don't remember anybody getting sent to Mr. Koepl's office for eating the hot paste, or for throwing glitter in another kid's eye.

This is what I do remember. With our own hands we covered a balloon with warm,wet newspaper strips that created a shell hard enough to make an ornament. They were big ornaments also. We were given the freedom to chose colors we wanted to use. We were also allowed to design our ornament how we wanted. Then we had the gift of glitter. Somehow also she helped us put yarn on it so it could hang on the tree.

The creativity of Mrs. Meyer has stayed with me. We carried that same project into Easter and made bunnies. She had us paint the United States flag, we cut out characters from are Scott Foresman basal and made a winter scene, and we tied poetry into art with our jars of canned goods made from paper and Handi Wrap.

I don't know how that classroom Christmas tree held all those ornaments, but each unique ornament was on that tree. She honored our creativity and uniqueness back in the day when art projects may have involved a pattern, some scissors, and twenty-five all looked alike.
I carried lessons learned in that second grade class to the many classrooms in my career. I never made paper mache ornaments, but I have worked to let the unique qualities of each student shine.

You can read a different slant on this same sibling assignment posted last year here.

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