Tips From Trash To Treasure Embrace The Art Of Upcycling

Tips From Trash To Treasure Embrace The Art Of Upcycling – Creativity arises from necessity. At least, that’s what Jerald “Levar” Robinson, a middle school teacher in the Atlanta, GA area, believes. We are all familiar with the concept of creativity. It is an essential component of art. We challenge our students to be creative in their art making, encourage creative thinking and collaboration, and facilitate discussions of creativity in art appreciation and analysis. Even in our personal studio practices this summer, we are trying to be creative after a tiring school year.

Growing up, Levar and his eight siblings didn’t have much. They didn’t have televisions, cell phones, or video games. They had to use everything they had to have fun and make art. His mother’s motto was: “Pay with what you got!”

Tips From Trash To Treasure Embrace The Art Of Upcycling

As a result, they never got bored! And all eight siblings are very creative today. Despite not having much, they always had pencils, paper and other materials they could manipulate. Levar and his siblings realized that they could paint and draw on any surface to transform it.

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This discovery has shaped the way Levar approaches creativity and art with his students today, with the familiar combination of a small budget and large class sizes. Levar defines creativity for his students as, “Taking the first thoughts in your mind and turning them into something you can touch.” Creativity is more than sitting around thinking or searching for quick solutions on Google. It’s not giving up because something “messed up”. It’s about follow through and execution.

Creativity is a lesson in being fearless. Students see famous people as an iceberg: they only see success or the tip of the iceberg above the water. No one sees the failures, mistakes, sleepless nights and tears beneath the surface. Encourage students to be flexible and work on a problem until they find another way that works. Then, empower them to do it.

Levar gives seven tips on how to nurture creativity in your students this coming year. 1. Embrace your situation and make the most of it.

Don’t let the low budget and large class sizes overwhelm you or make you bitter. Of course, it’s not fair and you should advocate for more, but until then, this is what you have. Shift your focus from what you don’t have to what you do have to be innovative and resourceful.

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Reach out to your school community with a friendly email at the start of the year. Give coworkers a list of items you’d like them to save for you. Make it easy to dispose of items with a bin in the teacher’s lounge or outside your classroom door. Talk to cafeteria and maintenance staff to get cardboard boxes and styrofoam packaging. Contact the parents and provide them with a list of items to store and instructions on how to send them to you.

Contact local doctor’s offices to pick up outdated magazines from the waiting room. These make great paint palettes and collage materials. Connect with your local arts council to receive donations for special community projects. Even big box stores like Michaels or Hobby Lobby may be willing to offer your students a discount on the supplies in your curriculum. Additionally, local thrift stores may donate surplus or unsold items.

Levar advises continuing to reach out throughout the school year to maintain relationships and build your stack. Be sure to share photos of your students creating their final creations with your community partners! For more ways to fundraise, check out 7 Tips to Make Sure You Get the Donations You Really Want.

Use those community donations to create art. Let the items you receive dictate your lessons and what your students produce. This keeps your creative mind sharp and your learning fresh. Levar receives many electronic donations. He has his students deconstruct electronics and reuse them in planters. Students also turn old shoes into fun planters!

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For more on these innovative recycled projects, be sure to register for the Conference NOW and register for Levar’s session,

All surfaces have the potential to be a work of art, not just a traditional gesso canvas on stretcher boards. Levar and his students love to paint on shoes, shoe boxes, helmets and phone cases. Combining students’ passions with art invests them in learning. Levar creates original hand-painted designs on shoes, which he uses as prizes to motivate his students. He also found that the connection in graffiti art fascinates students and displays the art on different surfaces.

It’s great to show students famous artists, but local artists give students professionals in the field they can meet and talk to. Students have more access to experience art in person if it is local and not an expensive museum or in another country. Provide space in your lessons for students to seek out local artists themselves. Students retain more when they take ownership of their learning.

It’s good to try new artwork to prevent boredom and old lessons. This is one way to model creativity for your students. It’s okay not to have it all figured out.

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This can also apply to your art. Levar is returning to creating his own artwork, and the process is helping to inform how he pushes students in the classroom to be innovative and have fun. If you’re easing back into your art practice, check out AOEU’s new course,

Students have grown up fixated on screens and equate entertainment with engagement. Unfortunately, screens can kill creativity. How do we reach students who have short attention spans and want quick stimulation? How do we keep them from getting bored in our classrooms?

As Levar’s mother says, “Only boring people get bored!” Levar suggests that students leave their seats and move around the classroom. When students are physically moving, they are less likely to feel bored and pull out their electronic devices. Hang the reproductions of the artwork on different sides of the room and divide the class into small groups.

From the glimpse of Levar’s upbringing with limited resources and a lack of electronic entertainment, we saw how creativity was born out of necessity. As a high school art teacher with a small budget and large classes, Levar applied his mother’s teaching to “make do with what you got.” He combined that with his tenacity to take on challenges to make lessons, like his recycled electronics and shoe planters, students rave about!

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If you want to gain more inspiring ideas from Levar, register today for the Conference NOW and watch his session,

. You’ll find some fascinating ways to kick off the school year with some recycled art and an impressive dose of creative thinking. You might even find some inspiration to make your own art this summer.

Journal articles and podcasts are the opinions of professional education contributors and do not necessarily represent the position of the Art of Education University (AOEU) or its academic offerings. Contributors use terms in the way they are most often spoken about in the scope of their educational experiences.

Lindsey McGinnis is AOEU’s media content manager and a former high school art educator. She is passionate about equipping art teachers to be successful in their classrooms and firmly believes that art is a safe place for students to explore and process challenging topics and concepts around them.Cycle Sync at a Glance 🌿✨ Double tap if you like loop sync and share to a friend

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