Texas Elementary School Teacher Turns Her Student's Art Into a Dress
When a child comes at us with paint covered hands or a marker, most of us high tail it to a safe distance and direct the child to the nearest handwashing station. Rebecca Bonner, an art teacher at McAuliffe Elementary School in Highland Village, Texas, has the opposite response—she encourages it.
Bonner loves to showcase her students’ creativity and work, which is why last year she decided to wear her students’ masterpieces to the school’s art show. After getting the idea from an art teachers’ Facebook group, the dedicated teacher laid out Sharpies and colored fabric markers next to a plain white dress and over the course of the next two weeks, asked her students to draw all over it.
“My kids loved taking part in designing my dress,” she told CNN. “We talked about how we had to be respectful of each other’s artwork and chose images that I would like on my dress. I loved watching my kids design it.” All 580 of her students contributed tiny to her new outfit. They each got a chance to express themselves artistically and Bonner got a colorful, personalized addition to her wardrobe.
The world found out about Bonner’s creative clothing idea thanks to her 20-year-old daughter, Charlece Lake. When Bonner pulled out the skirt to wear to this year’s art show, Lake snapped a photo of her mom showing off her skirt and shared it on Twitter.
“My daughter asked to take a picture of me as I was walking to get in the car, so I turned around and pulled up the edge of the dress so she could get all the doodles in the photo,” Bonner said, according to Today. “I didn’t even know she posted it to her Twitter!”
The image quickly went viral with parents, teachers, and students around the globe inspired by the teacher from the Dallas suburb.
Bonner also told Today that she plans to make a new “doodle dress” with her new class. “My new students and my kindergartners need the opportunity to be a part of a doodle dress,” she said. “I just need to order a new, plain white dress off Amazon!”
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Being a teacher, particularly in the arts, can be a thankless job, and with her new-found attention and global platform, Bonner hopes she can help reinforce the importance of keeping arts in schools. “I’m not worried about being famous or anything like that but I do think it’s great to promote the arts, because elementary art is not everywhere,” she told Good Morning America. “I think it’s really important for kids to have that outlet, to have that place to create, and that freedom to create.” Hopefully other kids will be lucky enough to have an art teacher as dedicated as Bonner.