Sunday, March 30, 2014

Early Spring and So Much To Do!

Back to the challenge of a clay head, this time an Egyptian sphinx, as part of the fifth-sixth grade class study of Egypt. Ms. Sophie's students found it more problematic than they recalled, but will master it in the coming week or two, no doubt.
Ms. Megan's kids have been experiencing the hard tasks of finishing up their Cultures of the World unit books, tending to final details and keeping their patience (or not).

But Ms. Melody's first and second graders are breathing in springtime with song birds, water fowl, raptors and more. Nests, wings, lift-off - what a great topic for the moment!
Feathers flew up, down, and all around before landing on their masks.
In their small groups they are whittling bird-men and cutting out paper cuckoo clocks. I had to put these three guys up on the table so they could plant their feet firmly and not let their blades slip. Don't they remind you of little men? Listening to them talk, they pretty much know everything.

The cuckoo-clock makers watched a video of a cuckoo bird and truly fell in love.
But wait, there's more for you to see.  Kindergarten kids are eagerly creating friendship letters to send through their postal service, set up by Ms. Audrey and Ms. Carol.

On Friday morning we still have workshop time - a goat puppet, handmade books, picture frames, a blue felt ball, and building with blocks, all squeezed into ninety minutes. 

Monday, March 24, 2014

We did it!

Ms. Melody's kids have worked for weeks on all the pieces for this diorama of the Winter Olympics. I don't know if you can appreciate what a big thing it is for first and second graders to draw figures in motion, slanting sideways, limbs going in all directions, but here they are. Careening about in the snows at Sochi, on the edge of the Black Sea. Hooray for our kids!!!!
     They got a "gold medal" to celebrate their drawing and painting, for working together, and for persistence when they were pretty sure there was a slant or a pose they couldn't master. But not just for that. During their Winter Olympics unit, they got really truthful with some questions Melody asked them, especially, "Why is it always sooo important for you to win!?!"
     Some of their answers: 
     What would happen if I lose? People would think I would be a loser, and I would be  the worst person in the world. The winner would be everyone else's friend.
     Sad - because they called me a loser. that means i can't do anything
     People won't like you. (ha ha - loser)
Melody writes, "These were just a small sample of a common offering from almost every student. We asked who had lost in a game? All, of course, had. Did anyone not like anyone because they had lost a game? They all said NO - as if that was the silliest question. We agreed behavior could make someone not want to play with you but not losing."
     Go Melody!!! says me. This stuff might not be for first and second graders only.

Ms. Megan's third and fourth graders are still learning about cultures around the world, so I shared two books with them that absolutely grabbed their interest:
A Street Through Time offers a look at cultures as they developed in one location on the banks of a river in Europe, from a small Stone Age camp to a thoroughfare in the heart of a big city. The kids lingered over the detailed illustrations, discussing what they saw, from the simplest of tools to clothing, foods, commerce, arts, and industry. Culture: what people do all day, and how they go about their doings. The kids have shown a lot of enthusiasm as they've pondered developments in language, art, technology, music (and don't forget food!)
The Wild Boy is a picture book that has won several prizes; it is the true story of a child who was abandoned in a forest in France and lived there alone for some years. Ms. Megan's students loved this book even more than A Street Through Time. It definitely got them thinking more about the meaning of culture to have a glimpse of a child grow up with no language, no home, no human interaction. It actually made them whistle and sing to think how nice it is to have a cozy room with all sorts of things to do. (They always surprise me!)

Another question for the kids: what do patterns in Polish folk art have to do with the fractal math discovered by Polish mathematician Benoit Mandlebrot?

Mandlebrot's fractal math shows how patterns in nature build upon one another to create endless harmonies - so too with patterns in art.

Last for now, Ms. Audrey has begun telling her Kinders about the artist Claude Monet. So when they came to the art room, we talked about his endless flower gardens - not just ten tulips, not just one thousand tulips, but ten thousand tulips! And what of all the other types of flowers, like roses, lilies, poppies and more, and all the singing birds and buzzing insects flying around in them? This got the kids fired up and they put everything in their drawings!

As you can see, her garden goes with her fingernails.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Penguins and Other Wonders

What happens when nine squiggly little people with penguins on their minds come to the art room? Everything penguin!!! from blubber, swimming, baby-raising, and "penguin eats" - to why penguin girls should be decorated for the show. Penguin songs, too, and penguin dances.

           Here's where some penguin decorating happens. And then back to showtime!

I know this is a lot of pictures, but couldn't find one to delete.
 And then there is painting and wood burning on boxes and frames.

 With a pink hat like this life definitely is more complete.

 Working on our Winter Olympics Diorama. Should be all done early this week.
Don't they just make you laugh?!