“Tea Clubs” or “Tea Groups” have become popular in the middle and high school settings (particularly surrounding the “Mindfulness” movement and trends). A group of students created this wonderful tea bag wrapper kaleidoscope collage. Check it out and try it! Students could even create individual ones. Consider tea bag wrapper trading days for swapping in terms of colors and patterns. This idea is upcycling at its best. Just add Scissors and Glue.
right in your building.
Daily, the custodians collect empty rolls from paper towels. . .and these are the really awesome, thick ones that can lend themselves to all kinds of projects. Give them a plastic bin and ask them to save these for you.
Similarly, the packaging for produce often presents itself as a great resource for projects children can make. Look around. . .involve the other workers in the building in order to maximize resources and cut down on waste. It inspires creativity everywhere!
Dr. Thomas Moore has a great song entitled PAPER TOWEL ROLL that encourages children to play with a paper towel roll and use their imaginations. The paper towel roll becomes a many wonderful thing, and hopefully the child gains some amount of imaginative ingenuity in the mental process of singing it.
The mission of Scissors and Glue is to model projects for students (or crafters) with upcycled materials; that is, the emphasis is creativity through resources that might otherwise be thrown away. Consider the number of coffee sleeves tossed out EVERY DAY. Some are corrugated, some are more of a quilted texture. Regardless the texture, they are almost all useful. Save them; find an interesting punch shape and voila. . .adornments for students to use (and not sparingly). Here, a series of pears. The lesson: fruits, songs with pear references, you name it. . make it work for you.
We hear the term often. . .living off “the grid,” for example. In a painting class at Davidson College as a sophomore, the first comment from professor Herb Jackson was, “you like grids.” Well, I suppose I do like grids because of the structure they offer for organizing stimuli.
Many would probably think, “isn’t the essence of creativity not having a structure?” And to that I would offer, no. Structure is needed for creativity, but it has to be of a type that comes about naturally. . .that is, often the grid can only be seen after the creative effort, such as in my painting.
For practical resourcefulness and inspiring creativity in learning approaches (which is the purpose of this blog), I offer up that every time a page of stickers or labels is used, leaving behind an adhesive page divided into grids, that a teacher or project leader transfer that adhesive page (carefully, it can be tricky) onto a page of cardstock (preferably upcycled from signage at your local department store). Peel off the adhesive and lay it on its non-sticky side on a table; then press the card stock (back side down), onto it. Voila. . .a grid for learners to organize project ideas or brainstorms. A free resource!
Cupcake rings come through the classroom on a regular basis. And while children are typically excited to put on the ring after they eat the cupcake (or during), they often lose interest in the ring quickly or don’t care to keep it. Plus, you hopefully don’t have a full two dozen in your class (although I know many of you do), but if you have extra cupcakes, pull out the rings before you put them in the lounge for the taking.
Wash the rings. Save your stash. Eventually you’ll end up with a nice cross section of seasonal, holiday, popular character and shape rings. Use them for story prompts. Use them for games. Use them in pinatas. Use them for grouping children for activities. The possibilities are endless and they inspire and unlock the creative spirit.
In earlier posts I shared the value in snipping the square picture ends off of free return/address labels that often come in the mail to promote for St. Jude’s Hospital and other charities. If you don’t use these seals as return/address labels, save them for student use instead of tossing them.
One idea for their use is individual student “quilts.” We all know quilts are icons of American folk history. They can also serve as a basis for integrated thematic instruction. Our next few posts will focus on ideas for comprehensive student learning across subjects all revolving around quilts. Any type of square stickers can offer the material needed to allow students to create their own mini quilt. They have the freedom to design the layout, the theme and then write about it, consider related questions of depth dovetailing from the subject of quilts, compute math related to their design, consider materials and spatial order.