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Lessons from Pinterest

Summer class offers students a fun way to flex their creativity

Olivia Dolan and Allison Scaring prepare to make melted crayon works of art.

Olivia Dolan and Allison Scaring prepare to make melted crayon works of art.

BY KRISTIN BLAKE

Recipes, DIY projects and wardrobe ideas may instantly jump to mind at the mention of Pinterest. But for students involved in a recent Parkway-Rockwood Community Education program, Pinterest offered an educational opportunity.

Pinterest Projects, held at Crestview Middle School June 1-5, offered students the chance to get messy and have fun in the pursuit of personal interests and knowledge.

“We’re expanding our school curriculum,” Family and Consumer Sciences teacher Shaina Fall said. “We use everyday household items to make something. We can’t really get to this during the school year.”

Projects included melted crayon art, a clothespin memory frame, Mod Podge clipboards and soap making.

“I’m excited for melted crayon art,” Rachel Skosky, a seventh-grader at St. Monica School, said. “I’m going to make an S. I know how to make a cool-looking S. I’ll probably hang it in my room if there’s space.”

Olivia Dolan, a sixth-grader at Wildwood Middle, chose a design relating to a future vacation.

“I like fireworks. I’m going to Kansas City for the Fourth of July, and I’m really excited. I wanted to do something that would represent that,” Dolan said.

Other girls – the class was 100 percent female – enjoyed making the clothespin memory frame.

“Yesterday we took a piece of wood and painted it. Then we put clothespins and pictures on it. I showed it to my mom, and she said it was really cool,” Ella Lee, an eighth-grader at Crestview Middle, said. “I chose to make mine ombré, blue to purple. I saw it (the painting technique) on YouTube, and we had the sponge applicators, which is the easiest way to ombré.”

Some students also took a liking to the clipboard project.

“I liked making the clipboards. I didn’t have a clipboard before, and I love when I can make something cute and personal that I can use later in life. Also, I’m a doodler so it’ll help me out,” Anna Mae Williams, an eighth-grader at Crestview Middle, said.

Allison Scaring, a sixth-grader at Wildwood Middle, said she planned to teach her family how to make their own Mod Podge projects.

“My favorite project was the clipboard project. I’d never used Mod Podge before. When I told my mom about my clipboard, she said she’d never used Mod Podge. So, I’m going to teach her,” Scaring said.

While some see Pinterest as a black hole for wasting time, others like Williams view it as a springboard for ideas.

“Pinterest helps me develop a creative, ingenuitive side,” Williams said.

Students said they enjoyed the change of pace the alternative classroom offered.

“I feel like I can just relax, and I feel like I can think better since there’s more talking and freedom,” Scaring said.

“It’s more relaxed,” Lee said. “There’s not a lot of pressure to be on time; just go with the flow.”

As a result of attending the class, many of the girls decided to start their own Pinterest accounts. Williams, however, said she  already had been on the site for about two years.

“My sister and I have always liked Pinterest. We use our free time to look up things to do in the long summer. I pin mostly crafts or DIY decorations,” she said.

In addition to their DIY projects, the students took away valuable life skills, such as patience.

“I’ll try to continue with projects and not give up on them but keep trying,” Sarah Bell, a seventh-grader at Crestview Middle, said.

Williams said she even believes she can take these DIY skills a step further.

“I can spiral ideas off the things we’ve done in class. From the clipboard project, I can use the Mod Podge technique to decorate my school folders with scrapbook paper. From the soap project, I can probably make candles,” she said. “I’ll figure it out.”

Summer may mean Netflix binges and lazy days at the lake for a number of students, but Fall doesn’t see that for her class.

“The students are crafty. It’s good to find other crafts they can do,” she said. “They want to do work; it’s not just summer.”

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[Editor’s note: Kristin Blake is an intern in Rockwood’s Project Interface program, who is spending a portion of her summer honing her reporting skills with West Newsmagazine.]
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