Monday, May 1, 2017

Hooray for May Day!

May 1st is May Day is International Workers Day to celebrate rights of laborers, but it is also an a spring celebration dating back at least four hundred years, complete with music and May Poles. The May basket tradition that I remember as a child, is one in which a paper basket is made, filled with treats and/ or flowers, and then left anonymously on someone's door.  My students spent last week making paper flowers for May baskets.

One day they made lilies, which required them to trace a circle inside a circle and divide it into 8 sections like pizza slices. A dot in the center of each section on the outer ring would be the point of each petal and then where the straight line (slice edge) intersected with the smaller circle would be where the petal ended. Templates were drawn and cut. One of the petals was removed completely down to the center point of the circle (an entire pizza slice removed.)  The template allowed students to trace and cut several more matching lilies. Dots were drawn towards the center of one side, then the flower was flipped and the petals were curled with a pencil.  A cone is made with the dots on the inside, and glue used for overlapping petals.  A pipe cleaner with a little roll on the top is placed on the center just before gluing.

For hyacinth, half a sheet of construction paper (lengthwise), gets folded up 1/2-3/4" before cutting slits down to the fold.  Each slit (about 1/3" apart) is curled. Some of my students used a toothpick for a nice tight curl. We ran a bead of glue on the edge and used that to wrap down the stem.  Stems were made from green paper rolled tightly. I started cutting the paper in half diagonally and rolling from the right angle corner towards the longest side of the triangle, and then twisting to tighten before gluing the last little flap in place.  We even taped our shortened lily pipe cleaners to the top of the paper stems because they looked better and were easier to bundle or stand in a vase. Basically 2 half sheets of paper and a few drops of glue will get you a beautiful hyacinth!

Tulips were easier than I thought they would be and ended up looking almost real!  To make, we cut 4 rectangles of the same color, each 2 inches wide and 5 or 6 inches long.  The center was pinched like a bow tie and then twisted twice and folded back on itself.  We placed our thumbs in the center to pull the tissue around like a little spoon and then pinched the bottom before gluing each petal to the stem. First two are across from each other (like a clam top and bottom) and then the next two filled in the sides.  These look best with long thing green leaves glued to the stem.

Day four, we made carnation or chrysanthemum type flowers with tissue paper. See last year's Cinco de Mayo decorations for instructions.

May baskets are made by forming a cone of paper and stapling and gluing before trimming the pointy edges on top. We stapled ribbon to hang on a door, and lined each cone basket with a larger piece of tissue paper before placing 5 or 6 flowers in each.  My students are not as stealthy as I'd hoped but they still had fun pretending no one saw them as they knocked on the doors of our administrators and scurrying away.  And they have enough left over for a Mother's Day surprise.  Happy May Day!

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