On July 1st of last year I got this batch of young punks, fresh out of 1st grade. They were still wet behind the ears. Some of them were only 6 years old and still colicky. If I were the boss of things I would say that’s too little for 2nd grade, but what do I know? I made it through these last 12 calamitous months with the chattiest loudest class of my career thus far. It didn’t help matters that I moved into a new classroom every 6 weeks. Fortunately, somewhere in the 4th inning plenty of you started sending art & scrapbook supplies to the rescue.
Visual journals were born. Today while I prepared for my last move of the year the kiddos made beautiful messes in their books. They showed me each page and explained everything in the kind of detail only a chatty 7 year old extrovert knows how to do. While they talked I prepared scrap packs for them to put in their boxes and take home.
Next year I hold the keys to the supply castle. Entrance is granted by showing me what they’re working on. I’m a realist. I know this will not be all of them. That’s okay. I already know who will continue their art practice outside of school. They’re the ones who tap me several times a day and say, “LOOK what I found!!! I’m going to put it in my BOX and use it in my visual journal!!!” They find things on the ground, in the trash, at home, on the street, at the 99cent Store, on my desk.
These finder kids are the ones who will come over next year and help show the new batch of young punks how to navigate through the world of visual journals.
My limited storage space is FILLED TO THE BRIM with more scrap, ribbons, stickers, paper, images, hole punches, decorative scissors, fancy brads, paint, etc., etc., than you can possibly believe. So I don’t need anything else now, but when I do you’ll be the first to know. Thank you a thousand times over.
You’ll never know exactly how thrilling it is for these inner city kids living in apartments (some have huge extended families of 6-10 people crammed in a 1-2 bedroom apt.) to get their hands on all of this STUFF. They delight in each sticker. The tiniest bit of sparkly paper elicits high voltage screams. And it really is a gift that keeps on giving.