Objet Trouve

by Krista Landgraf

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Have you ever wondered how you could integrate art into your lessons? Have you personally missed the adventure and creativity that comes from dappling with our more creative side?  How can you justify spending time away from our test-driven classrooms with time spent with art?

Welcome to the world of objet trouve.  The French definition of aesthetical value from natural or discarded objects found by chance.   My class is in the process of learning about our natural resources in science.  We are becoming experts in the fields of Engineering, Environmentalism, and Conservationism.

As we continue to explore, I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to integrate the art of creativity with and the philosophy of aesthetics. We began with conversations and discussions revolving around questions such as: What is aesthetics? How can another man’s trash become another man’s treasure? How can we recycle to create something of beauty?

The assignment will be to create an aesthetically pleasing piece of art that will reside in the planter outside of our classroom. All the items used in its construction must be from found recyclable objects. We are going to go on an expedition throughout the campus and our homes collecting recyclables with which we can create a sculpture for our school garden.

The class looked at various examples online to help determine what we would create. We chose a large bird.

Once the initial idea was agreed upon, we had to tackle what materials we would need. The major criteria we looked at included:

  • Weather proof/resistance
  • Size
  • Feasibility

We decided upon plastic plates, lids, cans, cd’s pop top tabs, bottle caps for the bird body, tail and beak.  We need a structural frame.  We have a couple of old metal brooms that we are going to recycle and hula hoops cut in half to create a skeleton. Students also suggested old garden trellises.  We are going to check and verify the engineering of our sculpture as we begin assembly.  When completed we will spray paint, and place in a planter outside of our classroom. Each student will complete some aspect of the bird individually, sign and date their contribution.  The class is very excited to leave an artistic, aesthetic creation for future students to enjoy.


Krista Landgraf and her 6th-grade class from Country Springs Elementary, Chino Hills, CA


Krista Landgraf has taught gifted students for over 20 years. She has earned the CAG Distinguished Service Award, Johns Hopkins CTY lifetime fellowship. In 2015 she was awarded Teacher of the Year for Chino, Ca from the State Assembly.She is an instructor for UCR GATE Certification Program.  Krista has been on the Board of Directors for California Association for seven years serving in a variety of positions. Currently, she is the Parent Rep Chair.

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