Saturday, December 13, 2014

Artsy Fartsy Girl Teaches First Lesson

Paper plates, cotton balls, glue, and my oldest nephew and niece who served as my students. The lesson: paper plate Santa. I taught Michael and Evelynn the same lesson we did in Mrs. Gilchrist's third grade classroom.

Evelynn and Michael with their Santas and me in 1975

I must have really liked this project if I came home and re-taught it. I am thankful Mom snapped the picture of us three because it signifies my first teaching experience. I grew up playing school, but never dreamed of becoming a teacher. That’s an explanation for another post.

Mrs. Gilchrist was the most etiquette-filled teacher I ever had, and I'm sure she didn't care for our 8-year-old fingers making a mess with glue. Third grade was a turning point. I got glasses, I got in trouble for a fart note to classmate Todd Tollefson, and I figured out what the middle finger meant. Those stories will show up in another blog post too someday.

my paper plate Santa ~ he's 39-years-old this Christmas
We did not make a big deal out of Santa Claus in my childhood home. I always knew he wasn't real, and that Christmas was about Christ's birth. But for some reason, I kept the Santa I made in Mrs. Gilchrist's class. See the picture above. Found him in my memory box right beside the “I Like You” notebook cover. Read the post Thankful to be a Child of the 70s to understand my fascination with that icon.

I remembered this art project when I saw a picture of paper plate crafts on my colleague and friend Marilyn Keller's Facebook page earlier this week. She’d posted a link to the Artsy Craftsy Mom.

photo from the

This woman is incredible: a software analyst by day and craft-mom by night. What a combination. But I have never completely bought into the right-brain or left-brain only philosophy. A Denny Dey workshop focusing on brain research a few summers ago debunked the idea of that anyway. For more on that, click here for an easy-to-read article on the subject. It contains more brain research links inside it.

So it got me thinking, I am crafty. Kind of. 

But when I started listing how and snapping pictures of the evidence, this blog post evolved into a novel, so I cut and pasted the info into other documents to save for other posts.

Hey, cut and paste—isn't that crafty? 

What holiday crafts do you perform each year? Or do you remember a special one from your childhood? I would enjoy interacting with you in the comment section below. And remember, if the kids are getting cabin fever this season, Google the artsy craftsy mom.



  1. I can't believe you still have your Santa after so many years. Would love to hear more about your journey to become a teacher :)

    1. Kristi,
      Have you kept anything like that from your grade school years? Some day, I'll write about the one student who I connected with that got me through my student teaching otherwise emotionally, I would have crumbled.