It was the beginning of the new school year and Kathy was upset. She told me that in talking with the four 5th grade teachers, she had learned that they had not set aside any time for art projects because……..well, they said they weren’t good at art so they just decided not to include that in their curriculum!! According to Kathy, that was “not a good thing”, every one needed art! I agreed, kids needed a creative outlet. Once I got to know Kathy I realized that she had a wonderful way of getting people involved in her “projects”….or was it just me?
That year at Happy Valley Elementary School, there were three 5th grade classes and a 4th/5th split class, so in all about 108 students. We need to talk to the teachers. By the time we had walked from the office to the end of the hall where the 5th grade classes were, (a two minute walk), we had a plan. There was no way the 5th grade teacher could say “no”. They didn’t stand a chance. We were excited.
And so it began. We had no money, no supplies, zilch, zero, nada, but we were determined. In the end, thanks to the willingness if the teachers to set aside time each month, art was back in the curriculum. We decided a project a month for the next nine months was doable. We would be using recyclables, a good lesson in itself, as well as low cost items, but we still need some money. We sent a letter out to the parents explaining and detailing the upcoming projects. We asked for a $1.00 per student art fee to help off set costs of supplies that we would be needed. The response by the parents was WONDERFUL. Not only did we receive about $100.00 but they heeded our plea for volunteers to help. We ended up with quite a nice supply of paper, buttons, glue, scotch tape, glitter, ribbon, craft sticks, anything related to arts and crafts. We were thrilled!!
Here are a few of the art projects. Hand puppets were made using small brown lunch sack adorned with construction paper, pipe cleaners, and glitter resulting unique monster faces, just in time for Halloween. For Christmas, we collected several 500 piece puzzles that were pieces. The pieces were spray painted to cover the puzzle image. The kids had a great time gluing several pieces together and embellishing to create an unique ornament for the Christmas season. Glue and glitter was all over the place. Thank goodness Mr. Peck, the custodian was so understanding! Another project transformed plastic bread clips into one-of-kind necklace bauble for a Mother’s Day gift. Paint and glitter could magically transform just about anything. More than one mom could be seen proudly wearing their necklace.
Even though the materials used for many of the projects were anything but traditional, the kids always looked forward to their hour of art each month. We both enjoyed this challenge. It was a lot of work, but very rewarding. A very good memory for me.
Karen Rowell, member of Crafty Ladies