Wrapping Up The Year Creatively
By Gutenstein Family ISJL Education Fellow Becca Leaman
As we start to wrap up the religious school year, in a time that feels unlike any other, bringing our school together and continuing to feel interconnected has never been more important. So, how are we supposed to bring our schools to a cohesive close when everyone is at home? Art has the ability to connect people when times may feel out of the ordinary.
There are many ways to help inspire our students artistically while they are at home. One strategy to ensure students are able to fully complete a project is mailing supplies ahead of time. Once students finish a project in whatever form it may take, students can either hold onto it or mail it back.
Blank puzzle pieces can be mailed to students and families to be decorated and mailed back. Students can be given prompts of how to decorate each piece according to different content areas that their class has been focusing on. The puzzles can then be constructed to create an all-school puzzle! Consider checking out online templates for blank jigsaw puzzles that will fit the need of any class or school size. Alternatively, one can opt for a more abstract design than a typical square puzzle by finding or making individual puzzle pieces. Unconventional puzzle pieces made from a variety of materials can be found at most craft stores online.
Another option is creating a schoolwide mosaic. This can be organized in many different ways. One possibility is to get every student to collect a small square of paper, decorate it based on a specific theme, and send it back. Students can draw their favorite religious school memory, visually represent a place or item in the building, or even illustrate their favorite Hebrew letter. The possibilities are endless! Students can either mail back their square or hold onto it to bring with them at the start of next year.
Art is not limited to simply paper and colored pencils! Technology is a great resource for displaying other artistic mediums. Right now, we all rely on technology more than normal, so why not capitalize on new tools to help connect us in other ways besides video conferencing.
Music is something that almost always brings people together. In that spirit, one fun idea is to compile a classroom playlist. This can be done either by having students send organizers songs that they would like to include or having students add directly to a playlist developed by staff. By using Spotify or Apple Music, individuals can easily turn any playlist into a collaborative project. More guidance on how to build an engaging playlist can be found here.
Finding a creative way to wrap up the school year can be difficult, especially when learning is taking place from a distance. These are just some jumping-off points, but ISJL Education Fellows are also excellent resources for out-of-the-box brainstorming to keep people connected!