Tuesday, October 13, 2015

In the Art Room: Houses to Help, a Compassionate Fundrasier

I think that teaching compassion and kindness is one of the most important and most difficult things to do. I mean, you can remind the kids to be kind, considerate and thoughtful until you're blue in the face but until you actually show 'em how and let them know the positive effects, it's almost impossible. 

Recently, the kids in my room were talking about an apartment fire that had happened the night before. Thankfully no one was hurt but many of my students were aware of the incident because it happened in their complex. One of our families was effected and lost much due to the fire. 

While the kids were talking about it, I thought it would be a good time to do a compassionate fundraiser with the kids. I try to do one every year where artwork is "sold" to parents at a price they chose to give and the money going toward a specific cause. One year, we did the Empty Bowls thing and raised close to $2000 for a local homeless shelter. Another year, we sold our animal clay sculptures with the proceeds going toward a local humane society. These have always been a success however...there was always a disconnect. The children never visited the humane society or the shelter. They never actually witnessed the positive effects of their efforts nor did they have a connection to the shelter or the humane society. 
And that's when I got the idea for my third and fourth grade students to help the family effected by the fire. They have both a connection with the family and the apartment. When I brought the idea up to the kids, you could have heard a pin drop. They were so excited that they might be able to use their art to help a family, that they knew, in need. 
The idea for these houses was not my own. You might recall the Houses for Haiti effort from several years ago. We used the same concept. I chopped up scrap painted papers into 2" X 2" squares. The kids were to pick any two squares, one for the house, the other for the roof. Rotating one square to a diamond, folding in half and cutting along the line, they had a triangle roof. From there, they were allowed to use scrap papers, glue, Sharpie markers and paint to decorate their houses. They had free range and were told they could make as many as they liked in the 15 minutes we had remaining in the class period. Most kids created one but I had several that were in it to win it and were busting 'em out factory style. "I want to make a bunch to raise a bunch of money," I was informed by one fourth grade girl. 
Once complete, I hot glued a 2" X 2" piece of card stock to the back of the house as well as a magnet. For some reason, I have a trove of magnets in that pit I call a storage closet. Which means this craft was free to make, yay!
I created a little tag to go along with the houses. We put them up for "sale" in the teacher's lounge with a suggest price of $1 after much price bickering by the kids. I left my signs, the houses and a box for money in the lounge that I checked at the end of everyday. I don't think a single person paid a dollar based on how much money we raised. 
 The houses were just irresistible! 
 The artist behind this house is usually one of my first-finishers...but not this time. He was dedicated to crafting a detailed and unique house that was sure to sell.
 I love the stained glass look of this one.
To know the impact their art made, I left this in the lounge so that the teachers could write notes to the kids. This meant so much to the young artists. 
Have I told you lately how much I love the people I work with? Talk about kind and considerate!
In addition to this effort, my school also hosted a spirit night at a local restaurant to raise funds. Our magnets raised just over $150 for the family. Oh! And I also shared an image of this project on Facebook and received a half dozen letters in the mail with money for magnets as well! If you are interested in purchasing a magnet, just leave a message in the comments and I'll be sure to get in touch with you. Thank you!

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  1. Oh Cassie.....I'm busting over how much your ideas have helped this ole veteran art teacher be inspired by teaching again. WE TOO at our school just had a student's home destroyed by a fire. So here I go again using one of your ideas!! Lol. And YES I'd like a magnet also!

    1. xox, thank you!! Email address, please :)

  2. Love this! You are so right that empathy is important to teach actively, not passively. Well done!

    1. It needs to be a class all of it's own, don't you think?

    2. Totally. It's really a big focus for me with my second graders this year! I am trying to weave it into all of their lessons. I love this project, it reminds me of Haiti Houses!

  3. Anonymous10/14/2015

    This is so beyond awesome!! Thanks again for ALL of your ideas! ---Sharon Johannesen, Art Teacher in Maryland

  4. Replies
    1. Naw, I'm usually just rolling. Around. On the floor. In my many messes!

  5. Anonymous10/19/2015

    Cassie, I want to do this to help SC flood victims. My school, in a suburb of Birmingham, was helped by so many a few years ago when our little community was flattened by a tornado. So I thought it"s time we teach the kids to give back. Now . . . how did you attach the magnet to the card, and is the card to take off--And then just the house itself is the magnet? Thanks, Caroline Trewhella

    1. Hi Caroline! Great question! So...I hot glued a piece of matte board to the back of the house and then hot glued a magnet to that. THEN a piece of Scotch tape was added to the magnet and adhered to the paper. Make sense? Thank you!!

  6. Cassie,
    Love these houses, AND teaching children compassion and helping others. I hope you don't mind if I use your idea to make similar houses to raise money for the Nov. 2018 CA fire victims.


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