I saw Denise Fleming at the Cleveland Museum of Art on March 1, 2010. She was the keynote speaker for "Picture This: Storytelling and the Arts." Without gushing too much, I have to tell you all that she is a remarkable motivational speaker. Who else could've had 100 adults out of their seats and acting out her book, In the Tall, Tall Grass, at 9:00 on a Monday morning? One of my favorite suggestions that she made was to have kids put googly eyes on inanimate objects (pencils, rocks, you name it!) and put those creatures in unusual places; snap a few pictures; put the pictures together and narrate; and voila! the kids have created a picture book.
If you're unfamiliar with Denise Fleming's picture books, you need to go to the library as soon as possible and check a few out. She's the author and the illustrator. Not remarkable? Well, maybe not, until you consider that all of her art is pulp painting--she embeds the art in each piece of handmade paper that she makes herself at her home in Toledo, Ohio. To paraphrase her, the art is the paper and the paper is the art. While many of her books are set in the great outdoors, In the Tall, Tall Grass and In a Small, Small Pond are particularly appropriate for Earth Day.
Want your class to get hands-on about Earth Day? Make paper!