Recycling Art Project by First Graders

Three months after moving to my new school, I can finally sit and write my first blog post about my transition. I am still in the same district for my 5th year, but I went from teaching Kindergarten at a low-income downtown school with only 14 students last year to 30 students in 1st grade at a “better off” school that has much more parental involvement. I am happy with my move to my new school! My coworkers are welcoming, it is a good school where my coworkers want to send their children to learn, I respect the new principal and his decisions, and the students are happy to be at this school too. Doubling the students in my class did not take long to get used to, but moving up a grade level has been a lot of work. The district has not bought any curriculum in recent years, so I am making my own lesson plans and teaching materials… leaving me busy and exhausted all the time with a never-ending to-do list.

But, workload aside, here is a glimpse to the awesomeness of teaching these cute, bright, little 6-year-olds! Last week, they earned a class reward and voted on a recycling art project, which turned out to be a success! Students came up with the idea on their own and brought recycled goods like water bottles, toilet and paper towel rolls, and boxes from home to class. In teams of 6, they were asked to make a project in 25 minutes and everyone had to work together and contribute to the team’s project. I wasn’t sure how this would pan out, but I was so so so amazed by their creativity and teamwork! Their projects are proudly displayed around the classroom right now, but enjoy these photos of their artwork!

Red Team – Snoopy and WoodstockIMG_0023

Orange Team – Cake with many lit candlesIMG_0024

Green Team – Volcano with lava and bridgeIMG_0027

Blue Team – Owls with tree (notice the googly eyes!)IMG_0028

Purple Team – Dragon with fire-breathing mouthIMG_0029

All this took for me as a teacher was 30 minutes at the end of the day and a little supervision and tape, but what came out of this was so unexpected! Imagination, freedom, independence, choice, and creativity to choose the project and the recycled goods they needed. Teamwork to work with 5 other students. Flexibility to include other’s ideas. Self-esteem and pride to share the finished project and their individual contribution to the class. Best art project I have ever done in the last 5 years, and I didn’t even come up with it… Blown away by my 1st graders!

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