Sunflower Freshmen Design One-of-a-Kind Jewelry for Auction to Benefit Injured and Orphaned Wildlife – The Lawrence Times

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First graders in Jessica Brown’s class at Sunflower Elementary named the muses who inspired the colorful jewelry they made. Now is the time for the public to make offers.

Brown and his students have partnered with Muse Clay Designs in an economics service-learning project to benefit Operation Wildlife. This is part of Advancement Via Individual Determination (greedy) college and career readiness program in place at the district’s six high schools and four of its elementary schools – Hillcrest, Cordley, Schwegler and Sunflower.


A Youtube video features four of the young artist-entrepreneurs, who enthusiastically “use academic words” to explain the stages of the project: learning how to start and run a business, creating and marketing a product through a website, and paying proceeds to a local community organization.

“Well, after researching and taking notes, we chose Wildlife Operation … They save cute animals,” the kids explain.

Referring to themselves as AVID activists and academics in the video, the young people conclude by saying, “Together we can make a difference!

Every piece released with the help of Laura Roberson, Muse Clay Drawingsunique wearable art is displayed on the aauction site individually with the name of the artist, his inspiration and the starting price. By clicking on the photo, bidders have access to design notes, sketches and auctions. Customers can choose from rings, necklaces and earrings.

Some of the polymer clay pieces were inspired by elements including light, water, spark, and fire; others by various influences, such as smiles, Minecraft, recreation, dinosaurs and anime.

One artist, Zayne, credits “the love of plants” as the muse of a rainbow pendant. And watermelons and mansions moved Cosmo.

Sunflower Elementary principal Melissa Blevins models a necklace. (Contributor/Jessica Brown)
Mena Hill, learning coach, models earrings. (Contributor/Jessica Brown)
Mena Hill, learning coach, models earrings. (Contributor/Jessica Brown)

Roberson said in an email that it was fun to watch the students choose the clay, paint and colors that inspired them.

“They had great questions throughout the creative process and learned that sometimes starting with an idea in their head might not look anything like the original idea, but sometimes it’s even better!”

Brown, an educator and author, said she tried to create a project that combined the school’s mission — to engage, prepare, and empower students — with AVID’s concept of professional exposure and its desire to help students to support others and to give back.

“I work to foster ideals of a classroom community and acts of service within our classroom to feel connected, and I wanted to extend that beyond classroom walls,” Brown said via email. .

Sunflower Freshman Jewelry (Contributor/Jessica Brown)
Sunflower Freshman Jewelry (Contributor/Jessica Brown)

Brown asked her Facebook friends for recommendations of four community organizations that could benefit from working together. Her students took notes every day, writing down key information and identifying common themes. Then a class vote selected Operation Wildlife as the winner.

After the auction closes, Brown’s class awaits a visit from a feathered ambassador to receive their donation. A May 3 article on Operation Wildlife’s Facebook page showed that the organization’s activity resumes in the spring, receiving around 50 phone calls a day. At the time, the nonprofit supported 112 baby opossums, four great horned owls, an osprey, three ornate box turtles and seven groundhogs, among dozens of other creatures.

Brown said the students used and honed their AVID WICOR skills throughout the process – writing, investigating, collaborating, organizing and reading.


She said the biggest lessons for the students were confidence, pride and the realization that even those who receive support from local organizations can always find ways to give back to their community. The challenges were unique to each child.

Brown said she, too, learned a lot in the process and realized some of the hidden talents of her own students. Her favorite lesson, however, was learning that her students “didn’t think of doing things with their hands as a career until we did it together as a class family and they met someone who did this for a living.

“We need to be able to find the connections, the ideas, the links and the support to make the careers of people really in the realm of the various work platforms out there and empower them to be the teachers. It really gave me a spark to run with.

The first graders online auction Closing at 5 p.m. on Friday May 13.

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Tricia Masenthin (her), Equity Reporter, can be reached at tmasenthin (at) lawrencekstimes (dot) com. Read more about his work for The Times here. Check out his staff biography here.

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