Welcome To My Classroom

Posted by Cathy Mc Grath

4 September, 2015 - ,


Today I have a very special post to share with you all. I am a Primary School Teacher and I currently teach a year three class. Earlier this year, I was emailing
Jenny Grotherus about some Maja Design related things and I shared some stories
of how I make cards with the children at school. She was really impressed about
this asked if I would like some papers to do some craft with my class. She
asked Marie for the ok and then suggested the Sommartider Collection. I had a
look at the papers and agreed that they would be perfect. After meeting with my
Head of Primary to discuss this idea, she said I could go ahead if the project
I chose related to the curriculum. I didn’t share any of this with the children
as I didn’t want to get their hopes up in case I received a ‘no.’
I was interested in what the children would want to create. I projected the
papers onto the Smartboard and asked them what they would create if they had
these papers. They said cards and simple paper crafts. They really liked all of
the papers. As I had received a ‘yes’ by all parties at this stage I could
reveal to them what was in store and they were very excited! Next I had to come
up with a project that met curriculum outcomes and made authentic links to our
We had just started a new Unit of Inquiry (UOI) as part of our PYP investigations.
Our central idea was
Different factors affect personal well-being. This unit was the way I would be able to make the authentic links to meet syllabus outcomes. I decided we would make a mixed media canvas and use the She Art style. The children would be able to personalise their She Art girl/boy and also learn new techniques. The learning intent for this project was to create a She Art girl/boy which reflected themselves. Their inspirational quote had to show positive personal well-being.
Where to begin….when I walked into the classroom with the Maja Design box the children were jumping for joy! I had already made a sample canvas (as shown above) to demonstrate what we would be creating. We had a lot of planning to do. 
I created an Art page on our class page on Haiku Learning (College intranet) with YouTube links to She Art tutorials. We watched and discussed them in great detail.  I
had a Pinterest board where we viewed samples of art so that the children could
see examples, discuss techniques and considered different interpretations of
She Art girls/boys. Next I added a discussion onto our Haiku page:

What design are you thinking of using for your canvas? Share them in this discussion. What inspirational word will you add? Here are some suggestions…

Dance Hope Inspire Dream

Here are some student responses:

Soccer inspires me to follow my dreams because when I’m older I want to be a famous soccer player – Anthony

She art really inspires me – Hilary

The children had a chance to plan their designs on some scrap paper using
the She Art style. Some found it difficult but it gave me a chance to see who
needed templates to assist later on. In Australia, children in year 3
participate in national testing (NAPLAN) which was due to occur very soon. I
decided that we would create the actual canvas at the end of the testing as
NAPLAN spans over four days and to make a day of it. It’s much easier having
all of the art supplies out, having the drying time and to keep the creativity

Here are some photos of the children creating their She Art in various




Here are some of the completed canvases……


Sit back and enjoy a video of the all of the completed artworks and the creative process.
After the children completed their canvases, they then completed a reflection. I have two to share which captures the process and their learning.
When my class and I did She Art we learnt so many new tips and used so many tools. It was so much fun, we tuned the classroom upside down! We used mod podge, paint, bubble wrap, rub ons,stamps, gelatos, book paper, stencils, modelling paste and of course we got to use a canvas. We also chose our words.
I learnt that mixed media is not neat. I thought my She Art was going to turn out messy but instead it tuned out great. I loved using the Sommartider papers. It was so much fun. I enjoyed making the girl and using the rub ons to make lots of texture. The mod podge was very, very sticky. But what I really enjoyed was designing it. It looks amazing! I love the ice-cream paper. It took us a whole day to get it done. – Zahara
We first created our background using Maja Design paper and then sketched our
girl/boy onto some scrap paper. We also painted the sides. Miss McGrath and Mrs
Harris helped us to create the suns. Then we traced our girl/boy onto Maja
Design papers. Next we cut the traced lines and mod podged them on. We put
bubble wrap paints onto our canvas. Our girl’s/boy’s faces, arms and legs are
made from book paper. Finally we added some finishing touches like stamps,
rubons, and some texture and much more.
I learnt that when we add texture our canvas becomes more attractive. I also
learnt that in She Art we don’t use eyes, nose or mouth on the face but only
cheeks. I enjoyed adding the extra texture. It had one attitude – creativity
and maybe confidence
. – Elena
The canvases are proudly on display in our learning space (classroom) and we stop to admire them regularly. The parents have had a chance to look at their children’s work and were amazed at what their children have created. I am always amazed at how children are fearless when they approach art. They enjoy using mediums and love exploring new techniques.
A big thank you to Jenny and Marie who offered the opportunity to my class and to Camilla for finalising the delivery of the papers. We still have a lot of papers to use…not sure what will come next but will share when we do!
Maja Design Papers:





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Cathy Mc Grath

Hi! I’m Cathy. I live in Sydney and am a Primary School teacher. I am passionate about teaching and love what I do. At present paper crafts are my creative outlet, which is my other passion. I am drawn to vintage, shabby chic styled crafts which I love to create. I do enjoy other crafts such as sewing, quilting, knitting and crotchet…not enough time! I am always inspired to learn and to try new techniques in both teaching and my crafts. I love Maja Design papers and enjoy creating with them.

1 Comment

  • Camilla Lilliesköld says:

    Thank you Cathy for this wonderful post and for introducing MajaDesign and papercrafting to your students. They are so talented and you can see that they had a really good time creating. Love to watch it! Thanks, great work, all of you..! <3