Thursday, September 20, 2012

Pinwheels for Peace: A Shared Vision Inspired by Fellow Educators

I loved being inspired and I love sharing ideas.  Every time I go to a convention, an idea is shared, and I want to try it out myself.  Once I try it, I want to share it with others to spread the amazing news about an idea that touches children's hearts.  This idea was called Pinwheels for Peace, inspired by fellow art educator Theresa McGee, co-author of the Teaching Palette.

Pinwheels for Peace was a way to celebrate International Peace Day, which takes place tomorrow, September 21st.  Around the world, children celebrate international peace with their own lessons, projects, and collaborations.

Inspired by the idea, I asked my school's Student Council if they would be willing to assist in purchasing materials for the project so we could have all grades K-6 create their own pinwheel.  This way the students were involved in the making the project happen.  The pinwheel kits were ordered from Oriental Trading.

With International Peace Day being so close to the anniversary of 9/11, I tied the themes in to enhance the idea of international peace.  I found two books I want to share with you that I read to my classes.  The first book (which I read to K-3) was September 12th, written and illustrated by 1st Grade students from Masterson Elementary School in Missouri.

The book shared how students knew something bad had happened, but that everything would be alright.  Seeing this picture, even drawn by a 1st grader, still makes you cry:

I then talked with the students on how International Peace day was celebrated to promote a world without anger and sadness.  We talked about what the students could draw to share their ideas of "peace," and how they can incorporate that into their pinwheels.

Grades 4-6 were read the book "The Little Chapel that Stood" by A.B. Curtis.  I picked up the book while I was in New York for the National Art Education Association's annual convention from the World Trade Center Memorial Site.  I had to read the book at least 20 times so I could handle reading it to the class without drying out loud.  My first class I actually did when I opened to the page about the towers falling.

I also purchased a book that I shared with students when they finished their pinwheels.  It's called Art for Heart: Remembering 9/11.  The book contains images of artwork created by children that lost loved ones from the 9/11 attacks.  My students loved looking at the pictures and asked so many informative questions.

Here are some of the finished products of the week:

                                                The total amount of pinwheels, over 600!

After every students in school created a pinwheel, I asked the Student Council for help again in setting up the pinwheels around the front of the school.  Permission slips were filled out, and parents who dropped their children off stayed take their own pictures.  I was watching the weather report, and behold! the only day of the week it was going to rain was on International Peace Day, so I bumped the display a day early.  I sent the students out to get some pictures while we were setting up, and here are some good ones of the pinwheels:

                                    Yes, a 5th grader took this picture!  How awesome is that?!

If this is an idea you wish to use, it's a shared idea.  While Googling Pinwheels for Peace, I've found many school that have used the idea and share their pinwheels with others around the country.

What will you do for International Peace Day?

Saturday, September 1, 2012

The Crayon Box that Talked: A District Collaboration

Last school year (2011-2012), my district incorporated an all-school read.  We were introduced to the book "The Crayon Box that Talked" by Shane DeRolf on the first institute day, read to us by the curriculum director herself!

There are plenty of videos on the internet, but I found this one to be the best.  Click here to view the video.

After the book was read to the entire district, we were asked to come up with our own lesson inspired by the book...all grades levels, K-8.

When I saw we were to read this book, I was excited to see that a book about art materials would be the main attraction all school year.  I even asked permission to present at the state and national art education conferences on our district collaboration, which will be coming up this next fall and spring.

A district collaboration is great for implementing all of the core curriculum standards and integrating multiple standards as well.  It enhanced literacy, writing, and even mathematics!  And more importantly for me, the fine arts standards were touched upon throughout the entire district.

I wanted to share some ideas that were given to me by the other elementary teachers and specials classes:

This was a great collaboration project with the upper grade levels and first graders.  The students used a venn diagram to identify what makes them unique, then found similarities, which were placed in the center of the diagrams.

In 2nd Grade, the students reflected on what made them unique, as well as how their class was like a box of crayons.

This 3rd grade project was made closer to Thanksgiving.  The teacher shared the story with her students, then had them identify and label in each finger (or feather) of the turkey traits that made then unique.

This kindergarten project was a nice one!  The teacher first had the students draw what a world would look like without color, then had them create the same picture with color!  I love cross-curricular...especially when the homerooms are using art!

The first graders had fun creating a mural of crayons...each one representing themselves!

In band!!!  The students performed their own music inspired by the book itself.  There was even a school musical written by the music teachers!

One of my art colleagues decided to make a color wheel project.  She gave each grade level a color, then had the students draw self-portraits.  After piecing together, the color banner was placed along the wall and stayed up all school year!

Another art colleague created classroom crayons.  She cut out all the crayon shapes, then cut each crayon down to pieces.  Every student in the class received a piece of the crayon to draw their own self portraits.  Once pieced together, each class had their own crayon!  For the all-school musical, all crayons were displayed on the back wall.

And now, here's the one I created:

This was my publicity photo.  The mural was made to cover an entire wall, and all 650 students created their own self portrait to hang on the wall and colored however they wished.  I had the students using multicultural crayons and colored pencils for their skin, then asked them to color the rest their favorite colors and designs.

I loved doing this project.  I was also crying when it had to come down at the end of the year!

The main lesson of the was reflected in the last page of the story.  And as my centerpiece, I wanted to share it as well: