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!
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.
I can’t say enough what a good resource adhesive scrap is. Anytime I teach a workshop that uses adhesive foam scrap, I save all bits. When a good amount has been saved, I create a project that utilizes the scraps for mosaic. It’s a good time to do riddles with children or sing songs, while they are busy creating their mosaic.
There is a saying that if you want to build community, start bouncing a ball. And it makes sense. . .a bouncing ball is inviting to come and play, which takes people off guard and creates the simple smiles on other’s faces. A bouncing ball, therefore, breaks down barriers and fosters trust.
I believe a roll of paper is the same way. Put a roll of paper in a teacher workroom, and teachers will overflow with ideas about how to use it—it will just happen. And this will foster creativity, which will foster resourcefulness and inclusive learning.
Now, many newspaper printers have recycling contracts on their end rolls. But if you find an entity like Scissors and Glue, who negotiates with companies like the ones who print newspapers, you can get your end rolls on the cheap (if not for free).
Schools, in my experience, are pretty good about allowing a culture of giving thanks and in celebrating a giving spirit between Nov. 20 and Jan. 1. We all know that allegiance to any particular tradition simply cannot fly in any homogenous sense within our rich, diverse citizenry. (Some people lament the notion that there was, at some time, a period when we all could. . .I tend to think such lamentation is based on illusion (delusion?) and merely on the perpetuation of the stories we tell ourselves and our children). Be that as it is or may be, and whether or not pockets of our culture are going to spend energy (spinning their wheels?) on “getting back to a homogenous way of celebrating certain days chosen in accordance with the sun or the moon cycles to honor special days of our ancestors and their connecting with gratitude and spiritual insight,” I think it’s a given that the spirit of giving thanks, expressing hope and holding a hand do float around this time of year in most circles that follow the calendar to which our US Postal service adheres. Enter Scissors and Glue!
The project: create tags to go on gifts or to be used as expressions of joy, thanksgiving, generosity or hope
The materials: save the tags that come on clothing items; collage them, decoupage them, add ribbon and string
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!