I Just Got Back from School

I will share with you what my students were working on for the last 11 weeks. It sounds very grand, but it's actually just 11 hours total because we're only working for an hour every week. It's an After School Activity at Brent-IRRI in Los Baños, Laguna, and it's on Scrapbooking and Photography. Sound a bit much? Yeah, I think so too. Maybe next year I'm going to separate those classes.

Anyway, I'm not really a photographer but I know some basic things I could teach the kids like utilizing natural light, effect of the combination of light, shade and shadow in photography, golden hour (but my class was in mid-afternoon so it was just words), rule of thirds, get close to the subject, holding the camera straight, etc. So these are just some samples of what they did:

By Iman Ismail, Fourth Grade

By Isabelle Douthewaite, First Grade

By Xyla Fitzwell, Second Grade

By Anna Heuer, Kindergarten

By Mami Hosen, Third Grade

Aren't they neat? They just used digital point and shoot cameras for this, but for their grade levels, I thought they did really, really well.

The other part of our ASA is Scrapbooking. Below is a stack of scrapbooks they did. They scrapped the photos they took. I prepared the materials for covers and cut the interior pages. They put together the covers and we punched the sides for the binding rings. We didn't really use any fancy brand-named materials. We just want them to experience to make their first ever album.

Instead of patterned paper, we used giftwrapping paper. We used ordinary acid-free glue stick for all the papers, and a different kind of glue for embellishments. I bought a lot of buttons, ribbons, flowers, feathers, transfer letters and sequins in various shapes. There were a lot of leftovers so I divided them to six, bagged them and gave the rest to them. They were sooooooo excited about that. Next year, I think I'm going to let them use 'real' scrapbooking papers.

So, here are the scrapbooks they did.

There will be an exhibit of their works on Friday, April 30. I sure will be there to support them while they present their work. I'm telling you, these are the sweetest, most innocent kids I ever met. And they did some really, really wonderful job.

Roses from SM

I wish we have a craft store here in San Pablo where I can just go and buy things I like. Unfortunately, there is none. Fortunately, we have none or I'll spend so much more than I should have. I am not fond of ordering online though I do it from time to time. I need to see and touch whatever it is in person.

The other day, I was in Makati to buy some stuff. And while there, I decided to buy some buttons, ribbons and lace from Carolina's in Glorietta 5 (there's another branch at the 2nd floor of Megamall B). Divisoria would be ideal cost-wise but it is just too far away and savings from my purchases would not be enough to compensate the stress I'd get just by going there. Anyway, I then went up to SM's 4th floor to hunt for some flowers I will use for my crafts, and found these on sale. I think they look quite pretty. I arranged them on top of my table and I'd probably pluck out what I need when I need them. Admittedly, I haven't seen the more elaborate flowers by Prima. But I'm quite happy with the ones from SM.

Carolina's and SM are not exactly craft stores. Well, Carolina's is debatable of course, but these places are my go to places every time I need something and don't have the time (or patience) to peruse online.

The Wisdom (and Insanity) of an Intellect-based Classification of Students

This is very common occurrence in many local schools. There is the 'pilot' class or the science curriculum class, and there are 'others'. I don't even know how you call this scheme. Categorization? Classification? Elitism?

As a teacher, I do understand why this is done. It is easier to teach students who have the same level of intelligence. It is easier to cover topics and move on to others depending on the ability of the whole class to do so. For students of the pilot class, they won't be bored to tears and whinge and moan, "Again? But we covered that for two weeks!" But what about the 'others'? How do other students feel about this? Do they feel neglected, unworthy, or dumb? Or do they appreciate being taught the pace they'd rather be than spend the rest of the time just coping? I don't exactly know.

Is this kind of 'classification' justified? Is the reverse, say equal distribution of everyone across different sections or groups despite intellectual capability, better? Isn't that communism? Is it elitism vs. communism in the classroom? Am I being right in simplifying the concept? Or am I being an idiot with too much time in my hands just even thinking about it?

I can't help it. On one hand, I know it's easier for both teachers and students like I mentioned above. On the other, I can't help but think how the students feel about it in their hearts... how students in the pilot class must continually push their limits, and being urged and expected to do so, and stress themselves out at a young age... and how the some of the rest of the students might feel that they can't measure up to the so-called cream of the class. It's one thought that's been bothering me since high school, this difference. And now I start to wonder how young is young to be categorized intellectually?

I decided to write about this because of a public school nearby where one of my nieces go. It's a very good public school, I should say and they have this classification thing going on. Somehow I understand the need because they have near impossible number of students. But it starts in second grade. I mean, c'mon! They're only eight years old. They should have more time socializing and being with friends playing. Instead, they're cooped up in a classroom for seven hours and sometimes more, five days a week in 10 months... writing and reading and computing. And not only that, they have multiple assignments when they get home. They're only eight year olds, for crying out loud. I think school work that intense should start at 11 years, at least, but not eight. They should be kids experiencing kid things. They shouldn't be as stressed or look back when they're older and only see their classroom from their childhood.

I genuinely feel sad about this making me ask, are they learning more? Or are they learning more about stress earlier? All these questions I'm asking because I just want my niece to have a livelier childhood than what she's having now. I'm sure she's happy but she can be livelier, if you know what I mean.

Vintage Printables

Happy April everyone! I'll resume posting about my projects later this month, in the meantime here is a very good site for those of you who love vintage images that you can print out yourselves for your art journals, mini-albums, collages and other craft projects.

This blog provides a variety of images in really large files that you can print out. However, please read the disclaimer on their 'About and Public Domain Manifesto' about, well, public domain and copyright issues before proceeding.

Here is the site: Vintage Printables

We offer customized handmade papercraft products such as greeting cards, scrapbook albums, mini-albums, blank journals, calligraphy work, boxes, scrapbooking services and other papercrafts.

Ms. Ilyn is a licensed architect who decided that teaching arts and crafts, or making them, is way more fulfilling than dealing with contract documents, estimates and technical specifications. She taught Architectural Drafting and Painting to High School Students for five years, and Arts for Pre-K to Grade 3 Pupils for three years.

Please email us at: info.paperbasket@gmail.com