teacher appreciation week.

via pinterest

By now, I’m sure we’ve all heard the various arguments surrounding teacher compensation, work responsibilities, and quality, but—in honor of Teacher Appreciation Week beginning today—I figured we could skip the exposition and focus on the positive.

What better way to demonstrate the intersectionality of creativity and education than to highlight some clever DIY crafts to honor our educators? There are teaching moments in taking on a new project (regardless of how easy or small), so all of these offer fantastic opportunities for children to engage in active learning.

1. Framed Crayon Monogram {The New Home Ec.}

This project is incredibly easy and really only requires a little patience in sorting and cutting crayons (hot glue will help, too!) Check out the above link for a few other great ideas for how to incorporate crayons into easy DIY crafts.

2. Colored Pencil Flower Vase {Country Living}

This project is even easier to do and completely customizable, depending on one’s color preferences. As a way to include a “bonus gift,” opt for a living plant (e.g. tulips) to place inside the vase instead of cut flowers.

3. Candy Pencils {Thrifty and Thriving}

A great option for a teacher with a sweet tooth, this Thrifty and Thriving tutorial hides Rolo candies inside a pencil facade. Better yet, the directions are concise and easy to follow.

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From elaborate DIY crafts to gift cards to a simple “thank you” note, there are innumerable ways to demonstrate your gratitude for those who pursue such a valuable profession. Regardless of what you decide to do to honor the teachers in your life, remember that in an environment where so many people feel unnoticed and undervalued, a little appreciation truly can go a very long way.

Happy Teacher Appreciation Week!

reclaiming the salon.

The notion of gathering in order to exchange ideas is certainly nothing new; from the 17th century French salons to your local Book Club, interaction and discussion is built into the very concept of “society.” However, in our ever-widening focus on globalization, it can often feel overwhelming to seek the sort of connection we have come to crave.

While many may argue that the internet has fed this desire with its provision of a nearly infinite number of websites, message boards, chatrooms, and blogs (admittedly, this one included!), our Worldwide Web lacks a crucial component: tangibility. What distinguishes physical gatherings from their virtual counterparts are the nuances we receive through experiencing ideas and interactions not only with our minds, but also with our senses.

Enter Studio 400’s WHITE installation, where 20 architecture students transformed a California studio into a grown-up jungle gym in order to ” bring spatial interest and social interaction to the gallery.” In the long-standing debate of “form over function”—or was it “function over form?”—the WHITE installation seamlessly intertwines the two, reconfiguring how we view our gathering space. In this piece, the metaphor is obvious: we are members of a network.

By offering a tangible representation of our current framework of socialization en masse, we are able to step outside of the forest and comparatively evaluate the trees. Online, our networks often allow us to be anonymous—thereby unaccountable for our words and opinions. In person, we are reminded of not only our own personhood, but of others’ as well.

I see a great deal of symbolism in the WHITE installation, namely in that an individual can–quite literally–get caught up in the net. Whereas our computers offer innumerable opportunities for discussion and self-expression, it can be easy to neglect the connective aspect of an online community without a palpable reminder. It is equal parts intellectual and sensory: one complements the other. By acknowledging the necessary duality of both components in our socialization, we are able to connect both to ourselves and, in turn, ourselves to our fellow community.