Elementary students coming back to school after the vacation period are apprehensive. They may have a new teacher, be unfamiliar with each other or simply not know what is expected of them. One of the best ways to break the ice is to create a craft project idea which involves them, not only with the project, but with each other. Since the bulletin board is a great way to welcome kids back to school, this can be used for several craft projects.
If there is a space left for each child to add a little something to the bulletin board, why not choose artwork. Instruct the class to draw a picture which tells the story of their vacation. It’s a great ice breaker and makes the transition between school and vacation easier. Similarly, to familiarize children with their school classmates, why not divide the class into pairs and to do a painting between themselves, learning to share resources.
Collage is a great craft project. Here, depending upon the age of the children, they can be encouraged to cut out pictures from magazines or work with pre-prepared cut outs done in advance by the teacher. Group collages are more fun, and these can be themed. What these do as a project for back to school is get children focused.
Themes chosen could be anything at all, but could be made relevant to that term’s assignments. Each group will need a large sheet of paper and loads of cut-out pictures and can be encouraged to move these around on the paper and create a design before sticking them onto the picture. Different textures can be used, such as silver paper or wool to create a 3D effect.
This is very suitable for a young class and doesn’t have to cost a great deal in resources and materials. Colored serviettes are great for this with pretty pictures, although if the children are too young to cut fine detail, the teacher and prepare all of the cut out pictures in advance. Flower pots are ideal for this kind of project and appropriate glue can be either made with flour and water, or the children can use easy Prit Stick glue which is easy for small hands.
Preparing and planning the layout of the pieces, children get ideas about style, and once they have decided which pieces to use, the pots can be painted with a water based finish for the background. If this is timed well, just before recess, by the time the kids come back, their pots will be dry enough to stick on the pictures. These can be used as decoration for the classroom.
~Covering writing books.
The children can be encouraged to personalize their exercise books as an exercise in craft and imagination, as well as helping them to protect the covers of their books. Here, a roll of wallpaper lining paper is super as suitable paper to use, and each child can follow simple measuring instructions. If the children are too young to do this, the teacher can have the book covers cut out in advance. All kinds of media should be provided for the child to stick onto the cover of their books, including the letters which form their names. This is fun and reinforces spelling.
~Personalizing an apron.
Craft aprons will need to be used for craft schoolwork. A simple apron is very easy to personalize and doesn’t require a great deal of skill. The aprons can be made in advance by the teacher, and each child be encouraged to personalize their own apron, so that they can recognize and find it when craft lessons call for its use.
Here, markers can be used which are suitable for drawing on fabric. This can be great fun, and each child can draw their proposed design on paper first, using pencils, and then discuss with the teacher where to incorporate the design on their apron. These may be simple designs such as sunshines, houses, trains etc., and the children should be encouraged to use their imaginations to decide which theme is appropriate to them.
Teachers can use great resources here, since many of the children’s coloring books have drawings which are suitable and children can be taught to copy down the picture.
~Painted coat hangers.
When a child enters the class, they may at some stage have to hang up their coats. Painted coat hangers which personalized are a great idea. Spread newspaper onto the desks, so that paint does not get splashed. Paint the whole coat hanger with an acrylic coat. Make sure that there are cloths and sponges available for dirty hands. When each child has finished painting their coat hanger, preferably at recess time, they can come back to the class and start to personalize the coat hanger with their names, using cut out letters stuck into place.
There are many craft projects suitable to all ages. With a little preparation, these classes make coming back to school pleasurable and fills the kids with enthusiasm. They will also have an achievement firmly under their belt to go home and talk about. It is always achievement which pleases and enthuses a child, and crafts are a great way for a teacher to get to know the strengths and weaknesses of the new children in their class. These also afford the children the opportunity to relax and get to know their teacher.