Stained Glass Art!

Some finished stained glass projects!  Love.
Some finished stained glass projects! Love.

When I was teaching first grade, a very amazing teacher introduced me to this craft and I’ve done it every year since.  The results are always the same.  The artwork looks great and the kids LOVE doing it, regardless of their age.  We usually do this during the holiday season, so that is why the pictures you will see are Christmas-y.  You could run copies of any stained glass design to fit your needs.  I just like my Christmas pics.

Ideally, I try to pair this assignment with an informational text article explaining stained glass windows, i.e. the history of it, the technique, most renowned pieces, etc.  I also have a short poem titled “Stained Glass” that the students memorize for an oral presentation.  Now, notice I said ideally….this year, I simply ran out of time.  I ended up completing this activity during our holiday party.  It actually worked out well, but it was purely for the fun of it–no text needed.

First, create a circular template to fit your stained glass design.  Trace circles onto a file folder to cut out.  Do not use regular paper--too flimsy!
First, create a circular template to fit your stained glass design. Trace circles onto a file folder to cut out. Do not use regular paper–too flimsy!
Tape your templates on your work space.  These will remain for each student rotation.  Only the clear wrap gets moved.
Tape your templates on your work space. These will remain for each student rotation. Only the clear wrap gets moved.
Cover the picture with clear plastic wrap.  This is what the students will be coloring on.
Cover the picture with clear plastic wrap. This is what the students will be coloring on.
Tape clear plastic wrap tightly and securely over each picture.  Make sure the students don't move it around.
Tape clear plastic wrap tightly and securely over each picture. Make sure the students don’t move it around.
Sharpies and Marks-a-lot markers work the best!  They must be permanent.
Sharpies and Marks-a-lot markers work the best! They must be permanent.
Color gently and make sure every spot gets colored well.
Color gently and make sure every spot gets colored well.
After the picture is completely colored, the students MUST outline ALL the lines of picture in BLACK marker.  This is what makes it pop!
After the picture is completely colored, the students MUST outline ALL the lines of picture in BLACK marker. This is what makes it pop!
Carefully slide the file folder that you wrapped with aluminum foil under the finished picture.
Carefully slide the file folder that you wrapped with aluminum foil under the finished picture.
*Important- to wrap the file folder in foil, you must first crumble it into a ball and then gently unwrap it.  Be careful because it tears easily.  This is what gives the window the desired look.
*Important- to wrap the file folder in foil, you must first crumble it into a ball and then gently unwrap it. Be careful because it tears easily. This is what gives the window the desired look.

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Some finished stained glass projects!  Love.
Some finished stained glass projects! Love.
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Our Holiday Party!

All the kids were dying to get their hands on a book!  Success!
All the kids were dying to get their hands on a book! Success!
This book was a hit!  I love Wonder!  It's so awesome to see the kids getting so excited about books!
This book was a hit! I love Wonder! It’s so awesome to see the kids getting so excited about books!

Even though January is coming to an end, I still feel the need to share our awesome holiday party.  The kids had such a blast and I’m always looking for new activities/crafts/games for the students.

Some teachers at my school do an ornament exchange or cookie exchange, but gor the past couple of years, I have conducted a Holiday Book Exchange.  A letter goes home asking parents for permission to bring one, wrapped book to participate.  Of course, I always have extra wrapped books for the students who are unable to bring one.  It’s important that no on misses out.  And, I must admit, I have some wonderful parents each year.   It never fails that students that are able to bring a wrapped book bring extras for those who cannot.  It’s a beautiful thing.

As far as the actual exchange activity, I put all the books in the center of my circle of students.  My students (34) all pick a number out of a hat to determine what order they will select books.  This is the fun part!  We run this with the same rules as the always-entertaining-White Elephant.  For me, this is a classic Christmas.  *Helpful Hint:  The first year I did this, I allowed a book to be stolen three times.  This made the game last forever, and for me, it was too long. So my rule is a book can only be stolen twice and it’s “dead”–meaning belongs to the person that stole it for a second time.

What kinds of activities do you have for your class parties??

My wonderful room mom setting up our book exchange!
My wonderful room mom setting up our book exchange!