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Why Alphabet Pasta ROCKS!

I’m writing about my love for pasta. I’m not talking about how I love to eat pasta, but rather how I love to use pasta in my art classroom. My cooperating teacher first introduced me to alphabet pasta when I was student teaching. She was teaching a ceramic lesson to third grade students. The lesson was a language arts integrated art project. Students were studying idioms, sayings, similes and metaphors.

Students took everyday sayings like, “Home Sweet Home” and turned them into fish sayings like “Pond Sweet Pond.” They created fish out of clay and added fish quotes on them. When my cooperating teacher brought out the bucket of uncooked pasta, I remember thinking, “What is she doing with that pasta?” As I watched her press the noodles into the clay, my face lit up with excitement. She was using alphabet pasta to write the fish sayings in the clay. What an amazing idea – alphabet pasta rocks!

Alphabet pasta can be difficult to find. I have purchased two different kinds of alphabet pasta, De Boles and Eden in the health market at Hy-Vee grocery store (a local chain in my area). Most recently I found alphabet noodles at a local Amish market at a highly discounted price.

You also can purchase alphabet pasta online. Vitacost offers a variety of different brands.

Alphabet pasta can be used for labeling clay projects with students’ names. Students love searching for the letters of their name in the pasta bucket, and this includes my current middle school students! When pasta is used to label their clay, it insures all their names are legible. Be sure they press the letters into the clay so the noodles are flush with the clay. When the clay is fired in the kiln, the noodles burn out and you are left with an imprint of the noodles. Viola! How cool is that?

I’m so excited to hear your ideas for how you would use alphabet pasta in your classroom!

Cassidy Reinken is Director of K-12 Curriculum for The Art of Education University.

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