Tag Archives: art journaling

Ontario Art Journal Show & Program Update

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I recently visited the school in Ontario where I have two classrooms of 4th grade art journaling students. It was the day of our art journaling shows, and a great time was had by all! I loved seeing the amazing pages my young students had created. They were excited to share, and naturally I had to take some pictures of their work to share with all of you.

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I think their journals and pages are charming and inventive, and I’m thrilled that 70-ish kids at this school received art instruction and enrichment. Art seems like it should be a given in schools, but sadly it’s NOT – so huge thanks to all of you who supported my art journaling program this year and in years past. We’ve made a difference in the lives of many! Stay tuned for pictures from the art journal shows that are coming up at my Santa Ana school, where I have four classrooms of 4th graders participating in the art journaling program. The photos should be posted in early to mid June.

Program Update
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During this coming school year I’ll be teaching one classroom of students, in my aunt’s classroom in Ontario. Given that I won’t have dedicated art supply storage space in a garage after our upcoming move, and that I’ve been giving up much of my vacation time to volunteer teaching for the past four years, I’m going to be putting my program on hold. Changes in life circumstance and fewer donations have given me cause to evaluate the trajectory of this program, and it seems that this is a good time to pause. I’ll let you know if/when I restart.  Thank you from the bottom of my heart for the kindness, generosity, and enthusiasm many of you have shown over the years.  Together we’ve brought art supplies and instruction to over 500 at-risk children!  Hurray!

Warm regards,
Melody

Posted in art, art journaling, art supplies, helping others | Also tagged 4 Comments

My 2013 Art Journaling Classes for At-Risk Children

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Greetings!  Today I’m pleased to share photos from my recent visits to six different Southern California classrooms.  I provided art supplies (with help from many of you!), and taught an Introduction to Art Journaling to at-risk 4th graders.  My students are often facing a number of challenges, and I introduce them to Art Journaling in the hopes that it will help them cope, process their feelings, and express themselves in positive ways as they continue on in life.  I also know that art journaling helps their overall academic experience, and helps to develop their creativity.  Art journaling is a positive thing all the way around!

This year I taught in two classrooms in Ontario, and four classrooms in Santa Ana.  Through the generosity of dozens of kind and generous people, I was able to provide approximately 200 children with their own art supply kits, which will be used all school year and then taken home at the end of the year so the kids can keep creating.

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Preparing the Art Supply Kits
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The school in Santa Ana gathered parent volunteers to assemble the 125 kits we’d need in order to bring art journaling to their entire 4th grade.  The school purchased the journals, scissors, glue sticks, crayons, and plastic bags.  I (we) supplied the rest of the goodies, and the kits were ready to go when I arrived to teach.  Teamwork!  :]

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For the 80 Ontario class kits, I was lucky enough to have four friends come over and help assemble the kits.  Work that would’ve taken me an entire day working alone was completed in under two hours by the five of us – it was such a great help, and was fun to boot.  We got to visit, assemble, and eat some goodies.  I’m not above plying my team with things like homemade almond brittle to keep them happy.  :]  Big thanks to AC, LC, AT, and VT for your time and efforts!

What the Schools Received
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In addition to providing materials for the art journaling students, the schools received many other supplies and tools!

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2 carloads of assorted art/craft supplies, including several reams of paper
1 Big Shot die cutting & embossing machine (kindly donated by Ellison/Sizzix)
A box of assorted dies (kindly donated by Ellison/Sizzix)

Santa Ana

5 boxes of assorted art/craft supplies
1 box of Post-it notes
1 bag full of ball point pens
1 Big Shot die cutting & embossing machine (kindly donated by Ellison/Sizzix)
A box of assorted dies (kindly donated by Ellison/Sizzix)

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In the Classroom
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The children were so enthusiastic about their art supplies and the opportunity to create!  They dug right in, and had a wonderful time creating their first two art journal pages while I was there – a page about five of their favorite things, and a collage page.  As always, I was delighted by the things they created, and loved the inventive ways they used the materials.  One little boy used a paper doily and crayons to create a lion’s head!

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Letters from My Students
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I received thank you letters from one of my Ontario classes the other day – what a treat!  I love the letters and drawings I receive from my students each year.  They’re among my most treasured possessions!  Here are excerpts from a handful of letters I received on Tuesday – I’ve corrected some grammar and spelling in the interest of clarity:

“Thank you for all of the supplies and for teaching us another way to express our feelings.  Not to punch, not to slap, but to draw a picture to calm you down a little.  And also, thank you for spending your time with us and the other classes.”

“Thank you for showing your journaling to the class and now I like art way more than I liked it before.  Because now I know that you can do art with just a pen or pencil and art can be about anything you want it to be.”

“Thank you for teaching us art.  It was fun, exciting, and it was colorful.”

“I think it is very nice of you to come and teach us a new way to express our feelings and do new things.  Now I express my feelings in a different way because of you.”

“The best idea that I like is to recycle paper and wrappers, like the peanut and jelly sandwich wrappers.”

“I never knew I could get out my feelings by drawing a picture. Thank you for all you have taught us about art.”

I was so pleased to read these passages.  I make it a point to emphasize that journaling is a great way to express one’s feelings – both good and bad – in my introduction class, and these letters let me know that the message was received.  And because many of my students are from low-income families (as I was when I was a child) I’m sure to let them know that art can be made from the simplest of things – they don’t have to have expensive (and possibly out of reach) supplies to create.

The Schools Can Make Use of All Types of Supplies!
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I just have to share a few non-art journaling photos I took at the school in Ontario. They used of some of the assorted arts and craft supplies I’d passed along when it came time for the children to create dioramas. This is why I’m very happy to accept donations of “other” art/crafting supplies, even if it’s not a perfect fit for art journaling.

The first diorama include a tree made from fabric and yarn.  The second picture shows clouds made from packing foam, rocks made from egg crates, and ocean plants made from yarn.  I love these – they’re a perfect example of what children can do with opportunity and supplies. :]  The schools use these assorted art and craft supplies for all kinds of things – from handmade greeting cards to paper robots and science projects.

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Thank You SO Much!
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I offer big thanks to everyone who donated supplies, gift cards, or funds to my students.  This program truly does make a difference, and I thank you from the bottom of my heart for helping me to bring art instruction and supplies to these children.  I’ll be sure to post photos from the end-of-year art journal shows that will take place in May and June.

I accept donations year-round, so if you’re paring down your art/craft stash and would like to donate the items to my students – or if you’re inspired to provide new supplies for them via gift card or check – please contact me.  Everything gets put to great use, and is appreciated by the students, the teachers, and the school staff and administrators.  And me!

Warm regards,
Melody

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Art Journaling: Making a Difference in the Lives of Children

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As one who has been helped in many ways by many wonderful people during my lifetime, I feel very strongly about helping others.  I try to donate to charity and/or give my time to multiple causes each year.  Whether it’s buying Secret Santa gifts for homeless children, or donating food to the local food bank, I regularly take action on charitably-based opportunities.

My Favorite Way to Give

One of my favorite ways to donate time and money is through my own little art journaling project – something I first did back in 2003, and have done during three different school years thus far.  My aunt, who is an amazing elementary school teacher, would tell me about her students and the challenges they faced: poverty, abuse, gangs, drugs, and incarcerated or otherwise absent parents.  Their stories broke my heart, and I knew I had to do what I could to help.

I decided I’d teach the kids visual journaling: the combination of writing/journaling, drawing, and collage.  In addition to nurturing their creativity and language skills, I teach these classes in the hopes that I’ll give them a positive, creative outlet to help them process the crazy world we live in.  Art and writing have been essential to me as I’ve traveled through life, and I am hoping to plant these seeds in children that are facing so many challenges.

How the Class Works

Each student receives a blank journal and a packet full of art supplies that they keep at school until the end of the school year.  I teach the class – an introduction to art journaling – and provide a handout with a how-to overview and journaling prompts for future use.  When I visit the class for the first time they complete two or three journal entries, which helps to reinforce the different ways they can use their journal for fun and as a tool.

As the school year progresses, the children do additional work in their art journals and we finish with an end-of-year art journal show that I attend.  The first three end-of-year shows we’ve held were a great success, and it always fills my heart with joy to see the excitement and pride of the children as they share what they’ve created.

Others Are Lending a Hand

I donate my time and some of the supplies for this endeavor, and usually solicit donations from friends and family to fill in the gaps.  However, this year donations are going to a whole new level.  Jenny Doh from crescendoh.com has generously offered to provide supplies for the children’s art journal packets, and is also getting her readers involved.  She’s giving her readers an opportunity to get in on the giving, and has written a lovely blog post about my project here.  I’m so thankful for her shared enthusiasm about this project.  I know how big a difference it makes in the lives of these children, and I’m thrilled Jenny recognizes it too and is supporting the program.

How You Can Help

Because there is such great need, I hope you will consider making a donation too, dear readers.  Since crescendoh.com is coordinating the bulk of the donations and materials could be duplicated between our gathering efforts, please consider sending me a gift card to Michael’s or Target.  (If you’d rather send tangible art supplies, please contact me.)  Whether you send a gift card worth $5 or $50, you’ll be helping these children in a potentially life-changing way!

If you’re interested in donating, please email me through this website’s CONTACT page so I can provide my mailing address and so I’ll know to keep an eye out for your envelope or package.  I hope to receive all donations by November 21, 2010.

Please note: The art journal pages in the photo above were created by a student who participated in the 2009-2010 art journaling class.

Thank you for your time and consideration!

Warm regards,
Melody

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