A Giraffe and a Half, the Wild Things and a group of Eisenhower High School students visited Sugar Grove Elementary School last week.
An assignment for the six students from the ceramics class included making an art project based on a children's book and then reading the book or a part of it and showing the project to elementary students.
Reading specialists at the elementary school picked the books.
The art students then decided what grade levels they would like to work with and were given the appropriate books.
"After reading their selected books, the high school ceramic students create a project that model after a character or a specific event within their literature book," art teacher Jessica Shoemaker said.
"In addition to creating the project, the students travel to the elementary building of the K-6 classroom and share their creations with the specific grade level they were assigned through their book selection," Shoemaker said. "Furthermore the high school students lead a discussion with the elementary level children that consisted of questions and answers. The students are encouraged to ask questions about the ceramic process, projects, and the children's literature they represented."
"Last year was the first year for this particular project and event," she said. "The children's literature project promotes and encourages reading and reading literacy through art integration."
"It's promoting art and literacy together," Shoemaker said. "One of the best parts is the collaboration between the high school and the elementary students and their connections to one another."
"I was a little nervous," EHS student Bernadette Nollinger said. "I had fun. I think the kids liked it."
She ran into a bit of a snag when she was told the fifth grade students had not read the book she was presenting. She improvised some questions from Number the Stars and made it through.
"It was interesting," EHS student Carissa Lauffenburger said. "I never read and made something to show little kids."
She read Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day to the third grade students.
Lauffenburger said the interaction with the older students was a positive experience for the young students. "That's good for them," she said. "Most little kids are scared of big kids, so that probably helped."
"They seemed pretty interested," she said. "They asked a lot of questions."
The students were particularly interested in Lauffenburger's trouble at the kiln.
"When you are wedging the clay, if there's a bubble left in it, it blows up," she said. "It makes a mess."
Students asked EHS student Holly Sweeney a few good questions about the art she created for Inside Mouse, Outside Mouse.
"Was the clay colored?" one second-grader asked.
"No, I painted it," Sweeney said.
"How did you make it so flat?" another student asked.
"With a rolling pin," the senior said.
Sweeney's project had ceramic mouse heads poking out of it.
EHS student Kiley Repke worked on Where the Wild Things Are for the fourth grade and joined Sweeney in presenting A Giraffe and a Half to the kindergartners.
EHS student Efia Sando's project was based on The Hat and she presented it to the first graders.
EHS student Katie Woodin presented The Pinballs to the sixth grade.
In the spring, a much larger class - 21 students are enrolled - will take its ceramics show on the road to Russell Elementary, Shoemaker said.