A lesson in thankfulness

Two weeks ago I had the opportunity to be the Artist in Residence for two days at a local elementary school.  
I had been recommended by the first grade teacher as an artist that could help with the theme of 
art \ recycling \ passion \ giving back to the community...sounded like a perfect fit to me!

We met in October and hammered out a plan...the students would learn the basics of design and collage while working on wood panels that would be made into permanent donation boxes for the local food bank...I would cover the design and collage lessons...a rep from the food bank would cover why food banks are needed, how important they are to the community and how everyone can help.

I had three different sessions with grades paired up - 2nd graders with 5 graders, 3rd and 4th graders together and finally 1st graders paired with their 6th grade buddies.  After explaining about my art, my use of recycled materials and the steps we would take in completing the project, work began...

Organized in groups of 6, there was first a little brainstorming on what each student was thankful for...
since all 6 students had to work together on one panel, a lesson in consensus was also needed...

Once they had their ideas, they collected images and words from newspapers and magazines...and then began gluing onto the boards...using diluted Mod Podge which would seal the wood surface and provide a sealant for the paper once dried...

After the boards were completed and dried, one of the parents would construct each box using 4 panels 
such as pictured below...

It was two exhilarating days...and renewed my appreciation for what teachers do...constant movement and energy as well as staying one step ahead of the kids...

And made me thankful that not only that I could share my talents with others...but that this school understood the importance of art...and community...as part of their curriculum for young minds...

As I looked over the brainstorming lists compiled by the kids, the one I liked the best was "faith, family, love and nachos"...yep, that pretty much sums it up...happy thanksgiving to all!


  1. What a wonderful project! I know those kids were thankful for you, too. Hope you have a lovely Thanksgiving.

  2. You have such a gift for creativity. How wonderful that you could share it with these students. Happy Thanksgiving!

  3. These are wonderful! What a great project for the community and I very rewarding for you!

  4. Wonderful Amy!
    Happy Thanksgiving!

  5. What a great experience you had and the kids were so lucky to have you.

  6. Sounds like a lot of fun and energy. :-)

  7. What a great project - I love the buddy system you came up with too!

  8. I worked with children for many years and know first-hand the work it takes to keep up with them! What a lovely act of service you performed - sharing your time, your talent and your heart. I am proud to have a friend like you - one who shares kindness at every turn. This project exemplifies all of the things that I think learning should be - fun, hands-on, collaborative and useful. A beautiful story!


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