Monday, November 10, 2014

Why Veterans Day is My Favorite Holiday

I'm not super keen on "hallway projects."  You know, those projects to just decorate the hallways to coordinate with holidays or school themes.  It's just not my style.  I think they're cute, and encourage teachers in my school.  I'm always 'consulting' with the kindergarten team to help them figure out projects.  Cute is generally just not for me and my curriculum.  It's not natural.  I have to work on cute.

What is me is honoring our Veterans.  My grandfathers is a World War II vet.  A solider.  A hero.  I had the incredible experience to be his chaperone on an honor flight.  If you have a veteran in your family, sign them up!!!  This is an incredable organization!  Grandpa and I were moved to tears all day.

Grandpa and I at the WWII monument.

Our school invites Veteran's every year for a school assembly, so I wanted the hallway to look patriotic for them and get a chance to talk to the kids in class about veterans and what the day means. Here's my conundrum.  A holiday project?!  Can I possibly do something cute that teaches the lessons I need taught too!  I found out, YES!

The idea to change the palette to red, white, and blue.  
I had been doing a lesson previously with kindergarten that was similar.  Students would draw horizontal, vertical, and diagonal lines, then discover they had made shapes. They would paint in each shapes and then once they were dry, add lines designs with oil pastel. When I saw this similar idea on Pinterest and then on this blog, but in the red, white, and blue palette, I knew immediately what to do! I had a lesson and a cutie-pa-tutie art project!  The foil star is a cute idea, but not ideal to do with so many kindergarten students.  Instead, I used the Ellis machine to cut out stars from mirror paper and students used 3D foam dots to attached them to their art.  In the white space students added glitter, because what is elementary art without a little glitter?! Thank you Christie from for sharing your idea and inspiring me! 

See more photos on Artsonia 

At the end of the school year, Scholastic was having a dollar sale and I happened upon this flag notebook paper for wait for it....$1!  One whole dollar for a pack of 50!  You can hardly buy a ream of paper for that cheap.  So I added it to my shopping chart.  At the beginning of the third grade, I like to do a lesson on drawing people using double arms/legs and paying attention to details.  So the students draw their person under the flag.  They can say the Pledge of Allegiance, Boyscout salute, cheer, or say thanks to the veteran's.  Students unlearn some of the bad habits when drawing people, learn about Veteran's day, and it's a cheap and quick project with great results!  My volunteer who hung them up did so in an American flag pattern.  So so cute!  Yes, I used the word CUTE!

See more on Artsonia

And here's a few of my favorite photo's from Grandpa's Honor Flight...

This was one of my favorite moments.  You can see in the reflection Grandpa is pointing at a battle where he remembered the sound of the planes overhead, as he was on the ground fighting.  The sounds of the planes meant there was a chance for survival.  Such a meaningful moment, the kinds I love to share with my students.