Thursday, October 27, 2011

Pantone in Paris!

My name is Mary and I am one of the Arts & Crafts buyers at Discount School Supply®. I would like to share a story with you.
This summer I took a trip to Paris and was delighted to see a "Pantone" exhibit at the Pompidou Museum. Within the museum was a snug passageway that opened up to an amazing chamber overflowing with wildly shaped furniture and cases filled with vibrant 3-dimensional displays. The walls were lined with brilliantly colored canvases that invoked in me a childlike sense of happiness. I just wanted to jump on the furniture -- but, instead, I decided to take in the art.

In the back section of the exhibit hung a series of resist paintings. One in particular caught my eye. The entire canvas was black with the exception of a few perfectly placed circles that popped in rainbow colored swirls. As I looked closer, the base of the canvas was covered with red, blue, yellow, green, orange and purple. Atop was a thick layer of black paint, with only the circles showing the underneath colors. The contrast of the stark black to the vivid colors made me recount the first time I did resist art in Mrs. Wortman’s 5th grade class.

She never had much money to buy supplies, but she always found clever ways to inspire us. She cut up her old manila file folders into squares and had us fully cover the square – first with bright colored crayons and then with a layer of black. Her recommendation was to color as hard as we could so that the colors underneath would pop. I remember coloring so hard and outrageously that the crayons would get hot to the touch.

Using a pair of blunt-tip scissors, we would scrape off the black, making a design. I remember being mesmerized by the contrast of the black to the vibrancy of the colors beneath; I scraped nearly every inch of that square just to see the “reveal” time and time again. Once our class was finished with the squares, Mrs. Wortman arranged and hung them together like a quilt.

Today, it’s much easier to create resist art. As an Arts & Crafts buyer for Discount School Supply®, I was delighted to be able to construct the Colorations® Scratch Design Boards (SDBOARD). These sheets of multi-colored cardstock are pretreated with a non-toxic, easy-to-scratch-off paint. Similar to scratching off a lottery ticket, the black paint can be removed with a wooden stylus (SDJPEN), craft stick (CRAF) or a finger nail. Inspired by Mrs. Wortman, I designed them in 5” x 5” squares, which is enough space for a child to draw in, but small enough for a teacher to be able to arrange in “quilt” style. For safety reasons, I thought it best to avoid using scissors for scratching off the surface and designed a small wooden stylus in the same dimensions as a child’s primary-sized pencil. The stylus is easy for young children to manipulate.

I hope that children today enjoy the stimulating contrast of resist art as much as I did, and maybe someday they’ll be able to recount their own childhood experiences of drawing on scratch art paper.

Watch our video for more information!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Moving and Learning…It’s a WIN-WIN!

My name is Lara Lauer, and I am the Michigan Account Manager with Discount School Supply®. From the time I was a little girl, I was always in motion. I was constantly involved in sports. I still love to be very active and recently completed my second marathon. For me, staying active is just part of life. I have learned how important it is in relieving stress and how much it helps me to stay healthy and in shape.

We all realize that not everyone is active. Over the past three decades, the childhood obesity rate has more than doubled for preschool children aged 2-5 years. When I visit child care centers, one of the most prominent requests I get is for new, fun, active play items. The GET UP AND GO DICE® (GODICE) are perfect for sneaking in active play while teaching at the same time. The dice promote healthy physical movement along with enhancing gross motor skills. They also help to reinforce language, math awareness and social skills. The GET UP AND GO DICE® can be used for inside or outside activities. The students love to see their teachers get up and move!

One of the coolest things about the GET UP AND GO DICE® is that they include 10 blank cards which allow teachers and students to be creative. The blank cards can be personalized with fun and unique challenges, like “act like a monkey” or “fly like an airplane.” What other activities or movements can you think of? The dice come with a handy activity guide that includes even more fun ideas. When children learn to move while they learn, we hope that it becomes “just part of life” for them. That’s a WIN-WIN situation for everyone.

Check out our video for more information!