Prospecting For Treasure

Always prospecting for the next treasure of an idea.

Everything Looks Better With a Little Glitter!


I finally went into my craft room this morning.  I really have not touched my stamping and scrapbook materials since I began this journey with technology.  The visual creativity of designing a wiki or webquest seems to satisfy those same needs that crafting does.  I thought so anyway.   I am just two days away from returning to school, and I needed to make and write thank you cards for the gifts my students gave me for Christmas.  I told myself I was just going to throw something together quickly, but the ink, the stamps and the glitter worked their magic, and I found myself spending hours in there. 

I looked at the shelves of stamps and paper that go unused most of the time, and I decided again to take some of this to school to share with the kids.  This was something that I was going to do before Thanksgiving.  I had planned to set up a card making center.   It would be a writing center.  In order to use the paper, stamps, and ink, you needed to write a paragraph or poem.  Instead of setting up the card station, however, I got involved in a Wallwisher project with teachers from other states.  This project was exciting and we all enjoyed writing and seeing what kids in other states were writing and doing.  It was a great project, but it took a lot of time, and the card making station went by the wayside.

While I never got around to setting up the card making station, we did make torn paper snowman cards.  The kids had fun, but I was stunned once again when it became apparent that this group of 4th graders, like many of the groups I have had in recent years, do not know how to cut, just as they do not know to fold paper to make something symmetrical.  They do not know how to make a snowflake.  They do not know how to problem solve in order to build something.  Many struggle to put together a 100 piece jigsaw puzzle.  I have to teach them the strategies of sorting the pieces with the straight sides to form the outside frame.  Why is this?  It is because we no longer give kids opportunities to do these things in kindergarten and first grade.  They are reading and we are preparing them for tests by age 5.  A few years from now, most children will not be able to read or write in cursive, because it is no longer being taught.  We no longer permit kids to dress up and pretend.  My school district is pushing teachers to do non-fiction reading instead of reading fiction with children.  Should we be surprised when kids show no imagination or creativity in their work?  Should we be shocked when they don’t understand that they need to cut the heart on the fold, otherwise it will just be two scraps of paper that fall apart?  Should we be concerned when they don’t realize they need to cut the mat larger than the picture that is being matted?

In our rush to be part of the digital age, let us not forget to teach these most basic of skills.  Putting together a jigsaw puzzle builds thinking and problem solving skills.  One would think that the abstract problem solving required for a video game, would transfer to this hands on problem solving situation, but apparently it does not.  Cutting and gluing paper requires hand and eye coordination.  It requires planning, and problem solving.  It teaches us to revise and adjust initial plans, when necessary.  Let us not be so busy preparing kids for the world of the future, that we do not prepare them and let them enjoy the here and now.  Let’s give kids opportunities to cut, paste, build, and use their hands, even if we can’t put it on a test.  Let us not handicap them by teaching them less than previous generations have known.  These activities build necessary skills.  They are also very satisfying to the soul.  Let’s let kids be kids.  Let them indulge and enjoy a world of creativity and imagination.  Let them build and create with their hands.  After all, everything looks better with a little glitter on it!

January 2, 2010 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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