During one of my observational visits to Riverbluff, I was sitting in the office space talking with several teachers, when Sarah Buckliew, German teacher, bustled in with a giant yellow Jeep grill made out of bottle caps. Excitedly she told me that her German 3 students had done art projects using recycled materials. Of course I asked her to send me pictures and write about it for Voices in the Field, but she did one better...she asked the student to do the write up! I was thoroughly impressed with the thoughtfulness that went into each aspect of his project, as well as the connections he made to the German content, and I hope you will be too. And so I proudly present to you student author, Ashton Keiffer, RBHS.
The Kunst von nichts (art from nothing) project, required us to use trash or other things that we found that weren't being used and make art or reuse them for something else. I used a large piece of cardboard, spray paint, plastic Coca-Cola bottle caps, 2-liter and 6-oz bottles, and a couple of fruit containers to make a piece of art that resembled the grille of a Jeep CJ- 5, 7 and 8.
I decided to make a Jeep grille because I like Jeeps, always have and always will, and I already had everything I needed to make exactly what I wanted. All of the stuff I used for the project had been used for or during the rebuild of my Jeep TJ that my dad and I had spent 2 years working on. The cardboard was originally a shipping box for a Peterbilt semi-truck radiator that I had picked up from work and brought home to use as a ground cover while I was painting, or for laying on top of under the Jeep instead of laying on the hard concrete. The paint I used had been for painting parts or for marking parts in the salvage yard. And the bottle caps I collected were from the Cokes that I had drank while I was working on the Jeep because I had originally planned to make something out of them but I didn't know what yet. The 2-liter and 6-oz bottles and the fruit containers were in the recycling bin at my house after I had some friends over to help work on the TJ. I enjoyed doing the project because I got to do something that I had been wanting to do for a long time, I had the opportunity to make something from nothing, and I got to learn about the differences between Germany and the United States' recycling programs.
During the introduction to the project, my German class learned about how the recycling system in Germany is a lot more specific than in America because of different laws put in place by their government, and how their ways of recycling things has impacted the environment and economy. Then during the creation phase of our projects we weren't allowed to speak any English which helped us to learn the new vocabulary from the recycling unit and it helped us to recall older vocabulary that we don't use on a daily basis. Overall the entire class enjoyed the project because it brought a fun challenge with a unique twist since we couldn't speak any English, and because we got to see how drastically different a basic part of daily life is in Germany.
Let's think back to our Assessment checklist from last semester:
The art that they made was put on display in the art gallery (public audience). Making art is a real-world task, and so is recycling. Furthermore, students got to explore art and cultural content through the German language!
Great job Frau Buckliew! Thank you for inspiring your students to create art out of nothing.
Spanish teachers: In response to last week's post--here is another helpful link for celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month: If you use Newsela with your classes, they have a text set organized around Hispanic Heritage Month. It is definitely worth checking out for those interpretive reading assignments.
World Language Teacher Support Specialist (and Language Enthusiast)