Classroom Bulletin Boards and Repurposed Art

Who says classroom bulletin boards have to be complicated, time-consuming, have anything to do with the students, or give anything more than the slightest vague nod to the subject(s) that you teach?

Sometimes I just make them all about me.

For this one, I “repurposed” a page from an old wall calendar.

If you know me at all, you know I’m not a big repurposer.  In fact, I think the only thing that happens when people get all repurposey is that we end up with piles of “repurposed” trash that we’re supposed to call works of art randomly dotting the otherwise unblemished terrain.

“What is that?”

“Oh, it’s repurposed art.”

“But it’s not.  It’s a non-functioning robot made of old rusty beer cans that I have to walk around to get into the restaurant.”

Who thinks this stuff is a good idea?  And why does trash supposedly look better piled up and glued together on a corporate lawn than in a landfill?  That’s what I want to know.

My older son, Jay, seems to think along the same lines as I do (poor guy). When he was in 1st grade, we had a big recycling assembly at school wherein a man with a beard and an acoustic guitar came into the gym and sang songs about the glory of not wasting stuff.

When his set was over and he asked for questions, I noticed my son studying the pile of old tires in the front of the room that the man had encouraged people to take home and use as planters.  I’m sure my son was thinking the same thing I was: I got myself out of that tiny redneck town years ago and you think I’m going to go back to living with a tire planter in my front yard?

Okay, maybe those weren’t my son’s exact thoughts.  But I could tell those wheels were a’spinning (no pun intended, I swear) in his sweet little first grade mind as he furrowed his brow and pulled his thoughts together before he asked his question:

“Why don’t you just make a big steel tube—" here, he extended his arms emphatically to indicate how large the tube needed to be in order to work—“and shoot all of that trash STRAIGHT INTO SPACE?” 

I paused for a moment and cocked my head.  Because why not?

My son’s eyes were wide with excitement; he had just solved one of the world’s biggest problems, after all. When would the cameras arrive for his interview?

But then I watched the man with the beard and the guitar strapped across his chest who had been passionately singing reduce-reuse-recycle-repurpose songs for the past hour and a half visibly deflate, shoulders falling forward into his chest.  And my heart went out to him. He seemed like a really nice guy and this was his life’s work, after all.  And he had put on a darn good show that the kids had really been inspired by—especially my son, although perhaps not in the way the man had been hoping he would be.

“I think you missed the point,” was all he said to my son, shaking his head and shuffling away.

But anyway, I think repurposing actually worked quite well for this bulletin board.

Obviously I have a talent for it.


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