Ashley Falls students have been at work turning yesterday's trash to today's art treasures. Under the guidance of Extended Studies Curriculum art teacher Amy Doyle, the students have been flexing major creative muscle - students have figured out how Styrofoam becomes an iceberg, how bottle caps can become paw prints and how scraps of cardboard can create a miniaturized skate park.
In the Ashley Falls art classroom last week, it was what Doyle called "creative chaos" as students in Sandra Johnson's fifth grade class buzzed with excitement over their developing projects. Doyle said students even beg to come in at recess to continue working.
"I find it hard to imagine this happening in the regular classroom," said Doyle, one of the 19 ESC teachers to receive a pink slip with the Del Mar School District cuts.
Each fifth grader's project had to have some kind of social theme. Chandler Pike, Gabriela Enriquez, Kelly Gitre and Kelly Huppert chose the Humane Society, making a doghouse and a bichon frise dog made of a plastic milk jug covered with cotton balls. They crunched up bits of Styrofoam and rubbed them in green paint to create grass.
Ryan Daly and Blake Arnold chose the heart of Africa as their social cause, understanding the importance of saving the rain forest.
"Books we have read talk about cutting down rain forest trees," Daly said. "I've even noticed since I've lived here a lot of trees disappear because of houses."
For their project, they were making a monkey out of paper towel tubes.
Charlotte Bacon and Allie Schneider chose breast cancer, making a pink poster with ribbons made of bubble wrap and cardboard.
The "Trash to Treasure" project isn't just limited to the fifth grade, the whole school has participated in different kinds of art. Students made collages, cityscapes, birds, portraits and flowers from patchwork bits of fabric and paper.
Some classes worked together on projects that were auctioned off at the school's April 2 open house. One such item was an adorable Tree of Wisdom made with leaves of sewn–up scraps of fabric and little nuggets of wisdom from the children like "Fear less, hope more," "Nature is a great teacher" and "Just remember to be yourself."