Making Creative Projects at Home with New Sullivan Elementary Students

 In The CAPE Blog

In the summer of 2020, as students continued taking classes from home, teacher Jackie Limon, teaching artist Shenequa Brooks, and ACRE guest artist Eseosa Edebiri all decided on the big idea that making creative projects with your hands, while at home during a pandemic, can bring you joy.   

They decided on the inquiry question: What projects can you do from home that can bring you joy during COVID-19, the Black Lives Matter Movement and police brutality? 

The vision for this project was clear for Ms. Shenequa, Ms. Limon, and ACRE Artist Eseosa, “to create engaging, interactive, and fun projects with the students that bring them joy during these difficult times of staying home with family. We do different projects from drawings, paintings, puzzle pieces, paper weavings, rug weavings, and more. Due to lack of students attending our virtual classes we all put together a “quilt-like” piece using latch hook weaving that will read the positive message, “ALL WILL BE WELL” to motivate us to keep on moving forward during these difficult times.”



LEFT: Latch hook rug weaving materials, taught by ACRE Artist Eseosa.

RIGHT: Final latch hook rug weaving project.

“With only 2 students in our class we quickly realized that the students had a limited attention span for online learning.  Ms. Shenequa and I found ways to get the students involved by asking them questions or giving them tasks to complete for their projects.  Including the students in the design of the project encouraged longer participation. Also, we asked them what they would like to work on with the art supplies we had  provided for them,” shared Ms. Limon. 

One student in particular was very excited for all of the projects that he completed during class and below are some images of the work he did:

Pictured: Jonathan’s Scavenger Hunt Still Life.

Pictured: Jonathan’s puzzle drawings and paper weaving object.

Another student, “recommended that we make masks and it was a great recommendation because we were able to explore how we envision our masks looking and what it means to us to cover our faces and look like someone else. It was a lot of fun.”

Pictured: Marisol painted her mask on construction paper.

Marisol also recommended the class make cups using construction paper and this was her final project.

Pictured: Marisol’s cup using a toilet paper roll and construction paper.

Ms. Shenequa mentioned “I’ve been challenged to think out of the box when it comes to creating with the materials I have to access at home.  The pandemic has both created opportunity for and hindered my ability to be creative in the classroom.”

Similarly, Ms. Limon stated that summer program participation was limited because students were mentally exhausted.  With the shift to online learning, many students had difficulty adapting to the new technology. Therefore, when given the chance to close their electronic devices they slammed them shut. 

Ms. Limon reflected “we wanted to offer our students a way to express themselves without feeling like they were in front of a computer. I even went as far as setting up outdoor seating at our school’s playground so that our students could receive hands-on learning. We wore masks and used hand sanitizer before and after the class ended. Adjusting to this way of living has negatively impacted our students and teachers.”

As online learning continues, our teachers, teaching artists, and students continue to find creative ways to adapt to technology and create as many hands-on projects as possible to be completed by students offline.

Check out the Celebrating Women’s Day at Currier Elementary School post, where students celebrated International Women’s Day by learning about women leaders like  U.S. Army officer Lt Col Pam Moody who visited a group of Afghan women on International Women’s Day 2011. Students were asked to take photos of women in their homes and write a short caption about the special woman in their lives.

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