Friday, March 3, 2017

Loving Weaving

The kids have seen each others' work and almost everyone wants to try making something useful with some sort of weaving. Even the littlest got into it, some finding it difficult and some like quicksilver fish - they are all such individuals.
And then there are one or two who want only to make cats, cats, cats. Miss M. has made a paper brooch to pin on her shirt . . . ha ha I will show her how to weave a cat on a peg loom,   
which in turn will exercise her brain in new ways. While weaving and other types of handwork help develop manual dexterity and manipulative skills, other things are happening . . . handwork helps integrate all types of learning experiences, including reading and other academics. Making useful things extends the benefits and satisfaction of practical life skills. Continuing to develop fine motor skills and concentration, with the ups and downs of failure and success, builds self-awareness and confidence. It is beyond great to start all this when children are young. They can take these things into their futures and continuously be enriched because they have already mapped skill-building and the well-being it provides. Viva! the arts and humanities!

A post script here: In Iceland, some people took a strong look at what was making their teens do drugs and other destructive things:
“We didn’t say to them, you’re coming in for treatment. We said, we’ll teach you anything you want to learn: music, dance, hip hop, art, martial arts.” The idea was that these different classes could provide a variety of alterations in the kids’ brain chemistry, and give them what they needed to cope better with life: some might crave an experience that could help reduce anxiety, others may be after a rush. . . . At the same time, the recruits got life-skills training, which focused on improving their thoughts about themselves and their lives, and the way they interacted with other people."

What this meant is Iceland's teen addiction rates dropped:  The percentage of 15- and 16-year-olds who had been drunk in the previous month plummeted from 42 per cent in 1998 to 5 per cent in 2016. The percentage who have ever used cannabis is down from 17 per cent to 7 per cent. Those smoking cigarettes every day fell from 23 per cent to just 3 per cent.

Read the full article here. Feel free to let me know what you think in the Comments Box below!

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Change of Pace

Sometimes it's necessary to do something different than normal, and here you have it. 
Other kids are weaving too but often it's way too busy to snap photos. 

And occasionally there are late-in-the-day visits to the 
art room with  moments you're glad you caught.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

All Kinds of Things


The kids drew their impressions of immigrants who first came to America, and some of the ships they sailed on.

The littler ones have still been very engaged in storytelling, pulling props they've made out of their many shirt pockets, and using their knick-knack shelves (meant to keep the storytelling idea going at home) as tiny theaters. I got the shelves at thrift stores.


More experiments with magnets.

They learned about ball lightening, so we've done a project to recreate the idea in art room time.

Ball lightening on the table . . . not my favorite-ever project. If you see lightening of any type it does not compare! But the bursts look festive so that's something.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Useful Things

Making one of these lamps is a huge project and we are all just about done. They involve a lot of hands-on learning for the kids, and I burn the midnight oil getting them wired, correctly standing, and balanced throughout.  Too, this was a squirrelly group. I had a pre-teen kicking up squalls and storms, a young child intimidated by sculpting anything, none of my usual volunteer helpers, kids torn away to theater practice, me feeling pressured at moments. That said, we are the only school in the world that does lamp making. The process was invented by yours truly, and I love that the kids have something useful and long-lasting  that exudes their innocent child-like expression. Each one is unique, very individual. Someone said to me, aren't you proud? Not exactly that, but I know who I am.

On the other hand, with needles and pins nearly flying about in different directions, guiding my strong-minded students in making small articles of clothing is another story altogether. But we get things done just the same! Fashion Design??? See what you think!

It's going to be a fun Pikachu hat when my young friend decides it may be worth a few more stitches to get the job all done!