Art teacher Jessica Moyes from Sharon Elementary School in Newburg, Indiana came up with the cutest and most heartwarming project we've ever seen. The project was inspired by the book Only One You, by Linda Kranz, a story about:
"...a deep love that is shared between parents and their child. Sharing wisdom from one generation to another is so important. Children will make a meaningful connection and understand that they, in their own way, can truly make a difference in their own lives and in the lives of those around them. They will celebrate their own uniqueness." - Linda Kranz
Moyes told Bored Teachers that she came up with the idea after reading the book with her K-5 students, and seeing a picture of another class that had painted some rocks.
"I thought it would be really neat to paint rocks to look like fish and do it on a larger scale, with our whole school doing it."
Moyes applied for a local grant to fund the amazing art project. The entire K-5 school (about 740 students) participated in painting the rocks. It took almost an entire semester to plan and execute (from grant proposal to landscaping), but the students each painted their rock during one class period.
In the book Only One You, a little fish named Adri goes on an exploration around the ocean by himself. But before he leaves, his mom and dad share some important life lessons, to help guide him on the right path:
“Find your own way. You don’t have to follow the crowd.”
“There’s only one you in this great big world. Make it a better place.”
These are some of the lessons Moyes hoped her students would take away from this project. Not only to have fun and be creative, but to embrace their uniqueness and individuality.
"I also hope they learned that they can do great things on their own, but they can make an even bigger impact when many come together with others. I think the project displays this nicely. The rocks are beautiful on their own but make a bigger statement as a whole."
Since sharing the photos of the completed project on the school’s art class Facebook page, they’ve been shared over 52,000 times! Parents and teachers from all over have responded in awe to the concept and final production. Some were even inspired enough to get their own schools to follow suit. Moyes has been receiving photos from other schools who've made their own painted rock river.
Mrs. Moyes is always trying to come up with new and exciting ways to teach the art standards and material she teaches. In the mean time, the colorful rock river outside of Sharon Elementary School will serve as a daily reminder to all the students that they are each special in their own way, and that they CAN make a difference in the world, every day. That's pretty awesome!