Turning Trash to Treasures

CC1 CC3 CC7 Character Pillars 003 Character Pillars

As we begin our Character Counts large group project this semester,  I have had a lot of fun teaching the younger children how to weave.  Every year this can be a bit of a challenge,  but this year we have taken a different approach and rather than having the students make their own individual weaving project,  it is a group effort.

I have been blessed with a husband that does a little bit of woodworking.  He made some nice big wooden frames for me.  I wanted to have a frame for each color represented in the Character Counts Pillars.  There are 6 of these.  I also wanted to have the frames look  nice with an existing bulletin board in our main hallway.  This entailed giving the frames a thinned acrylic paint stain and then using a wood burning tool to etch designs into them. This was a new skill I had to learn. I was fun but extremely time-consuming.  My husband and I both worked on this part of the project.

Now that the frames are nearly completed, the fun part begins.  This is where I get make a woven tapestry with my K-3 students.  I’m very happy with how our project is starting to look.  The kids are delighted too.

We are attempting to make our weaving project symbolic of the students it represents.    By doing this we have added some old denim since most of the children like to wear blue jeans.  We also have included ribbon,  yarn,  and an old paint shirt that represents their love for making art.

I am looking forward to seeing what else our students bring to weave into our project.  Their have had some very creative ideas so far.

If you would like to help your child make a frame loom at home,  you might find this website helpful.  You can  use an old frame you might have in the back of the closet,  some nails,  and odds and ends from around the house to weave into the piece.  I hope you have fun turning your trash into treasure with your child!



Character Counts

Character counts


As we move into the second semester here at IPS,  we will be implementing various Character Counts activities with our students.  If  you are not familiar with Character Counts,  it is a program in which everyone is involved.  It is based on 6 ethical values that we all agree on.  These are referred to as the Six Pillars of Character.    They include:

1. Trustworthiness

2. Respect

3. Responsibility

4. Fairness

5. Caring

6. Citizenship

As you may recall,  the last couple of years I have done an all-building art project with our students.  This year the project for IPS will be based around Character Counts.  I am in need of a few items to help with the construction of this project as we  “Weave our way to Good Character”.

Each pillar has a specific color that it is linked to.  The 6 pillars we construct will be made of these 6 colors: Red, Orange,  Yellow/Gold, Green ,Blue,  Purple. A few samples of items we could use might include but are not limited to:

*old pieces of your child’s clothing,  maybe an old T-shirt or pair of pants no longer being worn

*small toys no longer being used (hot wheels,  a tiny doll such as Barbie or smaller,  maybe some hot wheel track?

*ribbon from a child’s Christmas/birthday gift

* hair ribbon

Please keep in mind,  the items sent,  will not be returned.  I am hoping to weave as many items as possible into our group project however I can’t promise they will all be used.  I want to thank you once again for helping us to make the art program in the Red Oak Schools A Shade Better!


Paper Mache…Oh What a mess!!

paper mache 001

paper mache 004

paper mache 002

WOW!!! What a week we are having in 3rd grade. We are making paper mache masks and boy, oh boy, are they MESSY!!!! The kids are having a ball, but it is VERY time consuming. They are being great workers, but it is still taking quite a while to make them.

First, we blew up balloons. Then we mixed our paste. We used a combination of flour, water, and a little glue. We tore newspapers in strips and proceeded to paste them onto the ballons. The kids are loving this project so far. After they are dry, we will paint them. Be sure to check back with us in a few weeks to see the final results.

The Completed “Masterpiece”

Masterpiece final 009

Yes, our “Masterpiece” is finally completed. All of the K-3 students at Inman have been working on this project since the beginning of the year. As you may already know, I have had a link on here to watch our “Masterpiece” as it developes.

First, we salvaged an old canvas picture out of storage. We then went to work! Our original plan was to use this to simply clean our paintbrushes out on when we were done with acrylic and tempera paints. By doing this we would prevent some of the paint from going down the drain, literally. As much paint as we use, I was afraid we would eventually clog our drains and this seemed like a simple solution.

What we discovered was that the more paint we added to our picture, the cooler it looked. The kids had a blast making this project. Once we thought it had enough paint on it, we decided to finish it off by giving it a couple of last minute swirals, which were also left over paints. This gave it a sort of “Dale Chihuly” effect.

I can’t wait to do this project again next year. Who knows, maybe we can have a whole “Masterpiece” collection to display in our media center someday.

And the Next Project Is…. Chihuly???

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Yes,  we will be studying the work of Dale Chihuly.  Mr. Chihuly is a glass artist and his work is magnificent!  If you have been in the Joslyn Art Museum in Omaha Nebraska,  you have probably seen one of his beautiful glass blown chandeliers.  The colors are indescribable.  If you have not yet seen his work,  I highly encourage you to try to visit the Joslyn in the near future to make this artist and his work come to life for your child.  You will not be disappointed.

As part of our studies,  we will be making large hanging sculptures at both Inman and Washington in the style of the Chihuly chandeliers.  We are going to need to collect clear water/pop bottles,  clear plastic plates,  and we will need lots of permanent colored markers.  The bottles can also be colored,  but must be transparent,  such as a green 7-Up or Sprite bottle.   If you have any of these items that you would be willing to donate,  it would be much appreciated.

Eveready Battery Cityscapes, The Plant is Gone, But Not Forgotten!

The Eveready Battery Plant ran operations in Red Oak, Iowa from 1948-1994. When the plant closed 18 years ago,  there were lots of  really cool things that were no longer needed.  When I became the K-4 art teacher,  I found loads of “good stuff” from the Eveready plant in my supply closet.  I told the students a little bit about the plant, since it was a rich part of Red Oak’s history.

This past week,  the 3rd graders at Inman Primary have been learning about cityscapes.  A cityscape is an artistic view of a city or town.   After much thought,  I decided to use some “honeycomb”   cardboard we inherited from who knows where for our land and the empty 2A battery casings from Eveready for our “buildings” in our cityscapes.  We also used paper towel rolls and toilet paper rolls as large “towers” in our city.

Although our cities are not yet complete,  we wanted to give you a sneak peek at what we are in the process of creating.  Hope you have as much fun looking at them as we are having creating them!

A “Masterpiece” In The Making

We love to paint in art, however, sometimes cleanup can be a bit tricky,  especially with the younger students.  When we have left over paint,  I can’t bear to see it go down the drain.  It not only isn’t good for the plumbing, but it seems so wasteful.  I ran across this great idea on one of my favorite online sites,  Pinterest.  After we are finished with our paint each day,  we simply clean out our brushes and our paint pallets on a large framed canvas.  It is not only fun to see this work in progress as it changes from day to day,  but it eliminates our paint from going down the drain and we arent’ wasting our paint.  Please keep checking on our “Masterpiece”  as we add to our slide show throughout the year.  The slide for this can be found on the left-hand side of our home page or right here.

Our “Masterpiece”