Oakville Middle School Art Students Benefit from Designated "Play" Time
The sixth grade art students at Oakville Middle School recently had the opportunity for designated “play” time when they participated in the “Hands, Heart and Mind” Environmental Education workshop provided by Susan Blandford, executive director of the St. Louis Teachers’ Recycle Center, Inc., on Thursday, May 6. The workshop, which provided students with creative, hands-on curriculum, was funded through a grant from the local chapter of the Painters and Allied Trades for Children’s Hope (PATCH) Foundation.
During the workshop, Blandford instructed students to select a type of recycled material and play with it for 15 minutes. Following their play session, students then wrote about what they did with their materials and why; Blandford also gave students the opportunity to explain their artwork to their classmates.
“It’s the process, not the product, that matters,” said Blandford. “It’s about the way you think. There is no right answer.”
The St. Louis Teachers’ Recycle Center, Inc. gathers creative materials from local businesses and industries that otherwise would have been thrown away and makes them available to teachers, parents and youth groups. The organization’s traveling reuse center, “Van GO,” allows Blandford to collect and distribute materials used to motivate creative learning and thinking among students.
The OMS sixth graders who participated in Blandford’s workshop are students in art teacher Elizabeth Adams-Marks’ exploratory class. During this section of the course, Adams-Marks teaches students about careers in the field of art, and the sixth graders are responsible for using recycled materials to design and create a structure relating to an art career.
“This workshop ties directly into the interdisciplinary curriculum of our career wheel,” Adams-Marks said.
The “Hands, Heart and Mind” Environmental Education workshop was funded for the OMS students by the local chapter of the PATCH Foundation, which was founded by members of the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades to support children’s charities.
“This seemed like a win-win program; the kids benefit from the workshop and the materials are kept out of the landfill,” said Gary Otten, member of the local PATCH Foundation chapter who suggested giving a grant to the Teachers’ Recycle Center. “I thought it was a good idea, and I’m glad it worked out.”
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