Lynn Handshy
Apple This is Lynn Handshy. Lynn teaches first grade at Tularcitos Elementary School in Carmel Valley, California. She has written about the major activities and projects of her classroom. We feature those projects here on Leslie's website.

"Ah! The colors of spring abound."

By Lynn Handshy

I realize in some parts of the world Old Man Winter still has a grip on the cooler end of the thermometer, but here on the central coast of California spring is bursting forth spectacularly. Hills are luscious shades of green, orange and blue as carpets of lupine and California poppies erupt into color.

One of my favorite ways in which to welcome spring into my classroom is inspired by a folk art I discovered many years ago on the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico. The Mayan version is made with colorful yarn and bark paper. Our 1st grade version varies from the original slightly.

This is how we do it.

1. I cut an 8”X10” piece of brown grocery bag for each child in my class.

2. The paper is crumpled into a ball and flattened out. This process is repeated several times to soften the paper.

3. After the final flattening, the paper should have deep wrinkles. With the side of a pealed brown crayon, lightly color the paper to resemble bark.

4. With a pencil draw a large simple flower on the bark to almost fill the paper. Tulip or four petal shapes work best.

5. With pieces of brightly colored heavy yarn (or roving) and bottled glue fill the flower shape in concentric outlines from the outside toward the center until the entire shape is filled.

a. Draw a line with the glue bottle tracing the outside of the sketched flower.

b. Glue on a strand of bright yarn. One or two rows works well before adding another color.

c. Continue adding different colors ever few rows until the flower is filled. It works best to add only enough glue for one row at a time. When the glue has dried, mount the completed piece on a 12”X18” sheet of construction paper. I like to choose a background color to match one of the colors in the flower.

This is a spectacular and bold way to bring the colors of spring into your classroom.

Have fun!