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Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Christmas In Millerstown

We were asked by the Millerstown Fire Company to decorate 12 small trees that would line the streets for an annual holiday festival called A Christmas Day in Millerstown.  We came up with the idea to make it a mini fundraiser and opportunity for students to give back to their community.  We were gifted with an anonymous donation to help purchase supplies like glitter, wood glue, white spray paint, and spray polyurethane.  I chose Let it Snow! As the theme and OH MY DID IT EVER SNOW, but we’ll get to that later…

Kindergarten though Sixth grade students spent 2 class periods making ornaments in an assembly line fashion. They were very excited about this project and opportunity.

Here’s a closer look at our snowflakes…

Kindergarten & 6th Grade made ceramic snowflakes. First they rolled out slabs, cut out snowflake shapes with a cookie cutter, and then they pressed in random found objects. They were glazed in the next class.

This may seem strange that I had two very different age groups do the same flake but it worked perfectly and just as I had planned. In Kindergarten I work though the Elements of Design and this was a perfect introduction to creating texture. As a bonus I had a small group of 5th graders come to help them with the making process. As for 6th Grade… I only started at Greenwood last March and since then my students have been dying to work with clay. At the beginning of the year my 6th Grade students told me they haven’t used clay since 1st Grade! This was a great opportunity for them to feel the clay and practice some simple techniques before getting to a larger ceramic project.

1st & 2nd Grade made simple craft stick flakes by crisscrossing 3 sticks and gluing on objects like buttons, beads, and wagon wheel noodles. Later we painted them white and sprinkled them with glitter.

3rd & 4th Grade made more complicate snowflake designs with craft sticks and toothpicks. The timing of this was what made it. 3rd grade had just finished up a lesson where they had been thinking about symmetry and 4th grade was about to start one.

These ornaments may seem a bit big for an ordinary Christmas tree by they sure popped from the street!

5th Grade students worked on the toppers for the trees. This was a fun break from our intense observational drawing project.  In the end I liked these so much I thought I may have to do this every year. I put out my huge boxes of found objects and gave them a few ideas for creating points and centers and then let them go. Some groups chose to draw their plan and others just played with the materials until they came to an idea.

On the Friday before Christmas in Millerstown the classes walked into town to place the ornaments on the trees.

Our plan was to sell the ornaments off the trees and have a small stand outside at the festival to collect donations for the ornaments. However it snowed & snowed & SNOWED! The brutal cold forced our stand in side and covered the trees with inches of real snow and canceled many of the days events. We set up inside the fire company and invited guests to pluck ornaments from the trees and take along with them to decorate their homes for the holidays. Fortunately we had extras and were able to set u a tree inside as well.

In the end we made $160.00! (I didn’t think that was too bad considering the snowy weather)
We are donating half back to the Millerstown Fire Company & using the other half to purchase something for our art class room. After the break students will vote on what they would like to purchase for our classroom.

I already have ideas for next year and can’t wait to see how this community collaboration could grow.

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