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Lifestyle & Human Interest

Teacher Goes Viral After Letting Students Doodle on Dress She Bought for Art Show

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Rebecca Bonner is an art teacher in Highland Village, Texas. She works at McAuliffe Elementary School, and has an obvious passion for art.

She’s bold, too. She entrusted the design of one of her dresses to her 580 students ranging in age from 3 to 11 — not something every teacher would do.

Bonner said she got the idea from an art teacher Facebook group, and fell in love with it. The first step was to buy a white dress from Amazon as the perfect canvas for her students’ creativity.

The next step?

“I got fabric markers and sharpies,” she told GMA. “I laid out my dress for two weeks and just let them doodle on it.”

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“Being their teacher dressed up in their doodles is always fun.”

Of course, there were some guidelines to ensure that no one student monopolized the dress and that all the doodles passed inspection.

“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.”

“This year as the District Art Show approached, I decided I would wear it again. My kids loved that I wore it again. A lot of the new students and my kindergartners want me to make a new one for our end of the year school art show!”

When her daughter took a photo of her mom’s unique dress and tweeted it, it took off, inspiring plenty of other teachers and educators who are now planning on doing something similar.

“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,” Bonner said.

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“I think it’s really important for kids to have that outlet, to have that place to create, and that freedom to create.”

Apparently, one of her mottos is “turn your mess up into a dress up,” and that couldn’t be more literal than the situation she’s created.

“I think she just inspires students to be creative and just make their mistakes into something beautiful,” her daughter, Charlece Lake, said.

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Amanda holds an MA in Rhetoric and TESOL from Cal Poly Pomona. After teaching composition and logic for several years, she's strayed into writing full-time and especially enjoys animal-related topics.
As of January 2019, Amanda has written over 1,000 stories for The Western Journal but doesn't really know how. Graduating from California State Polytechnic University with a MA in Rhetoric/Composition and TESOL, she wrote her thesis about metacognitive development and the skill transfer between reading and writing in freshman students.
She has a slew of interests that keep her busy, including trying out new recipes, enjoying nature, discussing ridiculous topics, reading, drawing, people watching, developing curriculum, and writing bios. Sometimes she has red hair, sometimes she has brown hair, sometimes she's had teal hair.
With a book on productive communication strategies in the works, Amanda is also writing and illustrating some children's books with her husband, Edward.
Austin, Texas
Languages Spoken
English und ein bißchen Deutsch
Topics of Expertise
Faith, Animals, Cooking