Friday, March 30, 2012

Cleaning frenzy, and a request for inspiration

Yesterday I couldn't stand the mess any more. A few days back, I went in my storage closet for something, tripped on a big box, and went flying, landing with a crash face-down on the floor and bruising my knees. Thank goodness I wasn't hurt more. The 6th graders were entering the room and saw me go flying. I told one boy to go the nurse and get me an icepack, PRONTO!! Some of the kids were asking "are you OK?" and others were simply saying "where's my project?" or "where are the poofing tools?", barely noticing I was flat on the floor. The nurse, knowing that I'm an absolute klutz from prior incidents, stopped up in the room to make sure I wasn't really hurt (I guess the boy had charged into her office yelling "Mrs. B needs ice NOW!!!!")

Anyhow, I've had so many projects ongoing that the materials needed for them all had piled up and gotten out of control. By yesterday afternoon, the mess had me so freaked out that I didn't know what to do first. I knew I didn't want to risk any more injuries, so I had to do SOMETHING. So after the kids were gone, I finally tackled the closet, hoping I wouldn't come across this:

I didn't leave my classroom until 7pm. My garbage pails were full, and my storage closet was hugely improved, with nothing on the floor to trip over.

So I told my husband I would be home early today.

But then, after the kids were all gone, and I had stacked up the dry paintings, I noticed the ever-growing pile of leftover paper on the counter.

There was construction paper of every dimension, some in good condition, some faded or with staple holes around the edges, in every color imaginable. I began trimming them down to manageable sizes, cutting away torn and faded edges, and stacking them by color family into a big flat box. A lot of the colored paper will be used for a flower-making activity I have planned.

But I was still left with a HUGE pile of white, especially strips and rectangular chunks, from when I've cut 18"x24" paper into 18" squares, or 12"x18" into 12"x15", and so on... And it was 6pm on a Friday evening and certainly time to go home.

You must have those strips and chunks of white paper too, right? WHAT DO YOU DO WITH THEM?? I had already used some of them yesterday for a really fun painted paper activity with first graders (we used printmaking rollers - very cool results), but there's still just SO MUCH of it left.

Do you have any brilliant ideas for the use of a volume of white paper strips, in a variety of sizes? INSPIRATION, PLEASE!

18 comments:

  1. I don't know, but I'd like to know too!

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  2. I have a big Rubbermaid tub full of white paper like that and my students LOVE to create hats, suits of armour etc. with all of it! They go to the tub when they have free time and create to their heart's content. Try it! You'll be amazed at what they come up with:)

    :)Pat

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  3. I do the same as Pat! I put all my strips, scraps in a box that the kids are allowed to take from when they are done with their work. They are constantly making hats, belts, bracelets(that I am told have super hero powers by my 1st grade boys) bookmarks, you name it! The kids have endless possibilities for the scraps and they LOVE being able to use them! Power to the imagination of kids! They will use them up! :)

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  4. I agree with above, but I've also seen some cool ideas with weavings that have the kids color the strips using color theories and then weave with black paper. I'm thinking about doing it. You could also cut them and make checkerboards or paper masks.

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  5. Thanks so much for posting this topic!!! I've been wondering the SAME thing! I'm so glad I'm not the only one "swimming" in scraps and chaos at times! :)

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  6. I don't have many other creative solutions other than the ones previously mentioned.. I just wanted to say that PHYL! Please be careful! The last thing we need is an injury right when the weather is starting to peak to all it's gloriousness!

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  7. Arrgghhhh! Thanks Hannah! Phyl, I have this picture of you flying through the air and I feel your pain upon landing! Are you okay? Is there going to be some rainbow bruising? I know I'm not supposed to chuckle, but when you said some kids just asked where their work was
    instead of rushing to your aid, it made me think of a few of mine who would've had that very same response! Shame on them!

    :)Pat

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    1. lol I have those kids too! Of the joy of teaching little ones!

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  8. I use "leftover" paper, that was cut specifically for a project as my "free draw". Some days, there's a lot of free draw, sometimes, not so much, but my students know that as projects come to a close, their chances for extra paper increase.

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    1. I do put out a lot of paper for 'free draw' but these papers are just out of control!

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  9. Throw them in a plastic container with some water and let them soak... blend them up and you have a paper making lesson!

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    1. Great idea, now I just have to find the TIME...

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  10. I use them in paper mâché projects as the final layer... That way you don't have to waste all your gesso on one art project

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    1. I've done that (for example with last year's ice cream cones), but I have my reasons for using gesso - I don't consider it wasted! It makes a nice painting surface. I'm very picky about my papier-mache projects!

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  11. cool ideas! Phyl, your cave paintings are so cool! You know the kids you teach will remember these projects and still be talking about it "Remember in art class in 4th grade...." when they get to high school!

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  12. Besides using leftover white paper for free draw, I end up with tons that are a really good size for bookmarks. Sometimes I make a bookmark station if we're doing stations at the end of a semester, etc., and right before Read Across America, I put out a school wide email offering my leftover bookmark blanks. I had a couple teachers take me up on the offer.

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  13. fold them and make them into "2 page flips"...animated drawings. (the upper page rolled around pencil, and by flipping it...the drawing "moves"... I also use white paper for the final layer of paper mache. You could also make tiny books, or "accordian like" springs for pop up cards or images.

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