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Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Milk Carton Bird Feeders

Two Saturdays ago I was privileged to be a part of a special reading event thrown by our Reading Specialist. "Winters Critter" welcomed 50 students and their families to our elementary school to to enjoy two hours of exploring wildlife through reading, playing, and crafting. There cozy bears den to curl up and read a story, a fun photo station, games to make and explore animal habits and tracks, and of course A CRAFT!

That's where I come in... We decided it would be fun for students to make something they could take home and continue their exploration and that whatever we make should be made from repurposed and natural materials. 

In preparation, I collected milk cartons during lunch duty, cleaned them out (do it quick or they really stink!), stapled the tops, and cut an opening. 

Interesting fact... From an entire garbage can of milk cartons I only found 1white milk, 2 strawberry milks, and 4 vanilla milks (blow my mind VANILLA MILK?). It is safe to say that Chocolate milk is the overwhelming favorite among elementary students at Greenwood. 

The day of the event I set up a large table with all sorts of supplies. I wanted it to be easy for parents and their children to come in, get their materials, and know what to do. 

Here are some things I put out.

  • beads
  • scrap paper
  • wood shavings
  • short dowel rods
  • craft sticks
  • cardboard packing material
  • corrugated cardboard 
  • string
  • lollipop sticks
  • straws
  • puzzle pieces
  • noodles
  • branches
  • pinecones
  • evergreens
  • straw
  • mosaic squares
  • Sharpies
  • buttons
I was lucky to have 3 wonderful parent volunteers who helped run hot glue stations and with punching holes for string. (Maybe the holes could have been punched before, but I think they kids would have covered them with their crafty roofs.)

I wrote all sorts of directions on the board so all I needed to do was direct students where to get their carton and how to start. 

My students were excited to be in the art room on a Saturday and to show their parents where they get basic supplies like tape, scissors, and glue.

I also printed and hung a few pictures of milk carton bird feeders that I found on line. This was a good place to point students to when they were stuck getting ideas.

Overall I was completely amazed with what these kids did with 30 minutes and a table of supplies. I could tell they enjoyed the freedom to create and loved what they were making. 

Much to my surprise, EVERYONE CLEANED UP! Without any instruction to do so, I was amazed at the respect the students had for the classroom and how they jumped in and took responsibility to help clean up before moving to their next station. 

I loved how these turned out so much; I think I may need to consider fitting this project into my curriculum. 

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