At the beginning of the year we began our beautiful stuff project. The first thing I did was ask the children what they thought beautiful means. Those answers are on the left; the ones on the right are things they thought were beautiful. I particularly like that they think onions and teachers and both beautiful!
I found some items around the room and outside that I thought were beautiful (ribbon, bead, shiny paper, a leaf, a stick, etc.). I put them in a brown paper bag and took each one out and showed it to the class. Most of the class agreed with me that most of my items were beautiful, but then I brought out the stick. . .
“That’s not beautiful!”
Then came the meaningful conversation about how everyone can find different things beautiful, not everyone finds the same things beautiful and that’s ok.
Then, I gave them a job. They each got their own brown paper bag and were told to take it home and find SMALL things they think are beautiful and fill up the bag. They were all so excited to take their bag home.
They took it home over the weekend and on Monday they each took a turn pouring out their bag on a tray and showing their beautiful finds to the class.
After they all shared, we poured out all the items they brought and sorted them into three groups: art, home, and nature. I split the class into two groups and gave each group half of the items they brought in. They worked together to decided what box them item would go in.
We used the items to make the letters of the alphabet for our wall. Each child got to choose 2 letters to make. I cut black poster board into 6 sections and wrote the letter on it using white crayon. Some things had to be hot glued on because they weren’t staying on with regular glue. Surprisingly the shells and most of the rocks stayed on without any hot glue! They have been up going on 5 months and (KNOCK WOOD!!) nothing has fallen off any of them. OH! Also, I used command Velcro strips to attach the letters to the wall! Taping things to the wall in my classroom and in the hallway almost never works. All our humidity, even in the winter, makes sure of that.
Well, that’s about it. I LOVED this project! We regularly receive compliments about it and the kids love referring to it when they are writing.
We’re learning the letters in sign language too and so each week when we learn a new letter I take a picture of one of my kids making that letter then I print it in black and white and post it above that letter on the wall.