The final art class this past school year for the first grade students at Oglethorpe Point Elementary Elementary could best be described as very controlled chaos.
The students were given stacks of copies of The Brunswick News along with simple instructions — rip it up.
The students took to the activity with zeal, tearing up pages of The News, crumbling the newsprint into balls of paper and stuffing it into their art projects — three-dimensional butterflies that will be hung from the ceiling.
Deborah Arnold, the art teacher at Oglethorpe Point Elementary, has mastered the art of recycling in her class. Arnold teaches art to students of every age at the school, and throughout the year she collects the used newspapers teachers receive through the Newspapers in Education program to use for projects.
The Brunswick News offers Glynn County Schools’ teachers free copies of the newspaper weekly to use in their classrooms in whatever way they see fit. Teachers find a multitude of ways to use the papers, including for writing lessons, math problems and social studies conversations.
In Arnold’s class, she also uses the newspapers to wrap clay projects, cover the tables and practice the students’ cutting skills.
“We use it a lot,” she said. “We recycle. That’s what art teachers do, is they gather all the recycled materials.”
The old newspapers sit in a tall stack along one classroom wall. Arnold said she runs through her stores of newspapers quickly.
“It goes quickly, because we teach 600 kids,” she said.
To her amusement, though, Arnold frequently has to stop class and ask students to refocus on the art project at hand, as the students will get distracted perusing the pages of The News.
“It is amazing, when we’re doing a project, I have to stop because they’re all busy reading,” Arnold said.