SchoolArts Magazine

NOV 2018

SchoolArts is a national art education magazine committed to promoting excellence, advocacy, and professional support for educators in the visual arts since 1901.

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Page 26 of 54

22 NOVEMBER 2018 SchoolArts The monarch's migration occurs around the same time as Día de Los Muertos, suggesting the belief that the butterflies are returning spirits. M E E T I N G I N D I V D U A L N E E D S O ne year, as I was researching Día de Los Muertos (Day of the Dead) to incorporate into a unit I was creating, I became fascinated with its connection to monarch butterflies and their annual migration from the north to Mexico during the fall. This migration occurs around the same time as Día de Los Muertos, suggesting the belief that the butterflies are returning spirits. I did some research and found the website for a project called Journey North. They offer an amazing activity called Symbolic Migration (see below). I teach at a school for students with special needs, where the grade levels vary and the classes are mixed. I was so inspired by the culture around Día de Los Muertos and the Journey North project that I created a lesson about it for my students to enjoy. Symbolic Migration The monarch winters in the oyamel fir trees of the warm climate of Micho- acan in central Mexico. During the spring, it migrates back north to the US and Canada. During the Symbolic Migration activity provided by Journey North, schools can sign up to decorate and share their own paper monarch butterflies, which are mailed to Mexico where they are sorted and displayed. When spring returns and the living monarchs begin their journey north, the symbolic butterflies also make their journey when they are mixed and mailed back to participating schools. Paper Monarchs Students began by learning about the monarchs and each decorating three small paper monarch butterflies. Some students glued small cut-paper designs onto their monarchs while others used a more open decorating option. One butterfly was mailed to Mexico, one was saved for a secret future project, and students kept the third for them - selves. We mailed our paper monarchs in October and waited for the butter- flies to return. Keeping the Monarchs in Mind During the course of the school year, I kept the butterfly discussion going by dedicating a small section of my whiteboard to the project. I updated the whiteboard every few weeks, add - ing facts and photos of the monarch and its journey. The Monarchs Return When spring came, it was time to use the paper monarchs we'd been sav- ing for a "secret project." Inspired by the butterfly wing street art of Kelsey Montague (see Web Links), I glued them all together to create a pair of giant monarch butterfly wings. The paper wing mural was displayed for all to see, and students were excited to be photographed with it. The butterflies that came back from Mexico were turned into a mobile for everyone at school to see and enjoy. We received butterflies from all across the US, Mexico, and Canada. Students from every class enjoyed looking through the different butterflies and reading where they were from. At the end of the school year, each student who participated took home one of the butterflies. Keriann Kirkeng is an art teacher at Genesee Lakes School in Oconomowoc, Wisconsin. keriann.kirkeng@ geneseelake- N A T I O N A L S T A N D A R D Connecting: Relating artistic ideas and work with personal meaning and external context. W E B L I N K wings-in-colorado Monarch Migrations Keriann Kirkeng Captions

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