Middle top: Zachary, grade eight.
Right: Madison, grade eight.
ments at times, so they had to visually enjoy their text from the start.
During each workshop, students
worked to craft covers from cardboard to give their book exterior a
relief embellished with silver duct
tape and washed with India ink for
an older patina. This made for a
truly beautiful beginning and a treasure for each to begin their year-long
contribute comments, or simply
absorb the experience from their
Left: Sarah, grade eight. Middle: Trenton, grade
eight. Middle bottom: Shelby, grade eight.
Art in the Sun
At the conclusion of the workshop
series, each student was given an
assignment sheet with a project to
be completed in June and another in
July. The due date for the project was
the third day of school in August.
In addition, I planned to be in touch
with students via mail and through
a blog that was part of my trip
through the Japan Fulbright Memorial Fund program.
The June assignment challenged
students to craft a personal image
based on items they received in the
mail from me while I was in Japan. I
looked for easily mailed items, ranging from origami papers to simple
postcards and sent them to each student. Each student received unique
items so that they could create individualized results. Additionally, I
asked students to periodically read
my blog from Japan, pose questions,
In contrast, the July assignment
was to create an entry entitled “All
About Me.” Given as a beginning
of year assignment in most classrooms, this one came with a twist.
Students were to artistically represent themselves while incorporating
the existing book into their design.
Students could use any materials
available to them, including items
found around the house, in their
rooms, the kitchen junk drawer,
throwaway items, etc . . . to describe
creatively who they are as a person.
The use of words and journaling was
encouraged for students who wanted
to add written text to their work. I
emphasized a multitude of visual
and written forms of expression for
this outlet, making their altered
book as personal as possible.
I honestly was not sure what kind
of results I would get back that first
week of school. I felt if even a few
kids returned work this first year, it
would be a success. Finally, the day
for discussion and revealing of work
had arrived. Not only did every one
of my students return with com-