Saturday, September 17, 2011

"Pinwheels for Peace"

Pinwheels are coming out my ears!!!

Bert Raney Elementary is taking part in Pinwheels for Peace this year! I have always wanted to do this project with a school so I'm very excited to get the chance. We will have 400 pinwheels spinning on September 21st on the front lawn of BRE! Well 95% will be spinning... some causalities went far beyond repair for the Kindergardeners (I would like you to know that no tears were shed... thank goodness). It's projects like these that really show the community what an art program can bring to a school. The art specialist position has only been active for three years here and this is my first year at this school. Lets just say I plan to make my presence know, starting with the inspiring display of BRE students beautiful pinwheels!


  1. I'm very curious how your assembly went. I did this for 3 years in a row, all wonderful sunny days, think it is a fabulous project, but the assembly - yikes.

    The first year I tried having kids assemble them but they struggled bending the pin that went through the pencil eraser. Plus we had to sharpen 300 pencils to get them in the ground.

    The second year I ordered pre-sharpened pencils, and lined up a team of moms (and one grandma)who spent one hysterically funny afternoon in my art room assembling them. Here's the funny part: one tattooed mama, a delightfully wacko woman with wonderful daughters decided she needed to show me her black and white photographic-looking life-size (I swear) ink of Johnny Depp (swoon). She dragged me into my storage closet, closed the door and dropped her pants - and there he was, head and shoulders, beaded like a pirate, on her thigh. Thank goodness there was no administrator in sight.

    The third year, none of the moms were available, and my student teacher and I spent hours and hours after school putting each one together. There were big ones, too, made with bamboo stakes with eraser tops on them. Cool. But the teachers didn't like the disruption, and some of them just planted the pinwheels and were done with it, while the classes I took out, and a few others, took the time for each child to express what peace meant to them, etc. It annoys me that more people did not see this as a worthwhile event and pitch in.

    Anyhow, the kids loved it, we had a great place to plant the pinwheels, we had wonderful local news coverage, and many kids still ask if we are doing it this year (we didn't participate last year either). But not a single staff member has asked about it at all.

    I should note: the first year we just randomly scattered the pinwheels, except I had the 3rd grade form theirs in a peace sign; the second year we spelled out the word PEACE in huge letters, and the third year we didn't spell anything but we arranged them by size, since we had giant, medium, and small.

    I hope you have a wonderful day, full of sunshine and that everyone appreciates the meaning of the day. Sorry about the length of this comment!

  2. I had every teacher bring me a bundle of sharpened pencils at the beginning of class and each students got to assemble their own pinwheel (K-5)! We didn't us the pin method, instead I tried something of my own creation. Students would either cut out their own pinwheel, but with K-1 I used the paper cutter and cut five at a time the night before. I then would stack the cut pinwheels and punch five holes (one in each corner and one in the center) For 4th and 5th grade classes I would "hire" the first five finished with cutting out and give them a tutorial on how to punch out holes to make it go quickly. When putting together we first used a pipe cleaner and tightly wrapped it around the metal of the pencil like a twist tie. We then took a large bead and used that as a bearing on the pipe cleaner (and it helps keep the spinning pinwheel from knocking into the pencil). We then thread the center punched hole through the two ends of the pipe cleaner and then one by one brought the four corner punches to the center. We secured with a second bead and then bent the two ends of the pipe cleaner over the bead to securely hold it in place. I will say leading the K-1's in this took a lot of my energy but some surprised me at how quickly they caught on!