Monday, March 27, 2017

March, 2017

It is always busy at Bilingual Center, which is one of the great things about working here for teachers and going to school here for students. There is never a dull moment. 

Pre-K have been continuing the theme of things in the ocean by studying an artist who creates underwater sculptures. For the pre-k art exhibition, teachers tied the student artwork to an artist. In our case, we chose Jason deCaires Taylor because his artwork is hauntingly beautiful, combines the sea theme we've been studying with nature and full body sculpture, so the students were able to see what our bodies look like and get past the primary technique of having arms and legs grow out of heads. 

The students started by creating the sculptures of people.

I love that this one seems to be doing a hair flip:

They created a background scene with fish and water.

They added "coral" and other sealife "growing" on their sculptures with loose parts. 


102 has been creating habitats for their hibernating creatures and writing stories about the animals waking up in the Springtime. They have been thinking about resources and what animals need. We used a variety of loose parts, natural items and recyclable materials for the habitats.

104 and 106 are learning about working together. How our bodies work, with the parts of our body working together, is a theme we are investigating in the atelier. We are making skeletons, then adding "muscles" and "skin" to create dolls that will be used in play to show how children can work together. The kids will play and create stories with the dolls.

Skeleton with wire

Tape muscles.

Plaster skin.

First Grade:

First grade is working on a massive project about transportation and travel. This project is tying in natural resources, passports (brigance information, like their full name and address,) stamp-making, landscape drawing, writing, books, research and so much more including 3D printed models of modes of transportation!

In the atelier, students created stamps showing a resource, geographic feature or economic draw to a place they wish they could go. The stamps will be used to stamp the other kids' passports once the student presents on the location and teaches their classmates about it. They will collect passport stamps as they learn about the places.

Second grade:

The Rain Barrel is complete. Wish us luck as it is judged in a contest next month. :)

February, 2017


We read the story The Rainbow Fish to continue with our big theme of marine animals. The students drew a large fish and we used tape as scales. Each student made their own fish, as well. Then we used fancy tape as the rainbow fish's special scales and each student received a fancy scale.


The students are continuing their arctic animals.

Weather prints continue. The children love printmaking. I will be ordering more printing materials.

The rain barrel is almost finished.

Monday, February 6, 2017

January, 2017

Happy New Year!

I enjoy teaching at this time of year because it feels like the children come back older and more mature from the holiday break. We have our established routines and everyone is ready for action. I enjoy the second semester so much.

Pre-K has been studying animals. We reviewed line drawing and created observational drawing of animals. We do this every year because I think it is important for the students to realize the lines we learned about at the beginning of the year can be used to draw realistic images of anything they desire. This helps them in all of their project work for the rest of their years here.

After the line drawings, we worked with model magic clay to create marine animals. The students in this group seem to gravitate toward the language of clay. I have had success with both 3D projects I've done so far.

Kindergarten has been studying winter, and animals as well, but the focus is now on arctic animals and animals who hibernate. We are creating clay figures of animals from either the arctic (104, 106) or animals who hibernate (102.) We also created a snowman in 102. There was no snow, so we had to use plaster of paris! This was the messiest project I've ever engaged in with students (and we have done some messy, crazy things before) and, of course, the students LOVED it. The snowman and animals will be used as writing prompts.

The messiest, most fun project ever.

Our finished snowman.

A snowy owl, before firing and painting.

A happy polar bear.

First grade is studying weather. I wanted to use the studio to have them associate their senses (a previous lesson) with weather, so I kept asking them about how weather conditions feel. I want you to use lines to show how the weather feels, not how it looks.  This was a challenge, but after a few drafts the students were able to reduce weather conditions down to a few lines.We used printmaking as the language for this. I thought it would be a good technique to teach them, so they can have a printing center when they start doing story workshop. The children were fascinated with the process and I'm sure they're going to have some amazing prints as illustrations in the upcoming months.

2nd grade is doing one of my favorite projects thus far. We are painting a rain barrel for a contest. After the contest, we are donating it to the Red Jacket Park, where we take the students for hikes so often. This is a project that combines community involvement with the major themes of the first semester. The students looked up the word "water" in the languages spoken in Buffalo. We found the word in English, Spanish, Karen, Bengali, Nepali, French, Burmese, Somali, Swahili, Arabic, Korean, Urdu and Ukrainian. The border will feature the words of the rain barrel theme, "Harvest a Resource, Recycle the Rain," and the phrase, "We need water." The students will use the word water in many languages on the vertical borders and top of the barrel. The drawings show images of weather, the water cycle and uses of water- big themes the second grade studied so far. What I love about this project, besides how well it looks, is that we are using it as an assessment of learning. We've made visible the information they've retained from the first semester of study in a beautiful way that will be shared with the community.

During Open Studio for the second grade, I took a small group to work on a special art project. There is an upcoming art show at El Museo that the district is sponsoring. It's called Look Up/Down/All Around. The show is for art teachers and their students to create pieces that are companion pieces. I wanted to show how we use photography, hikes and art media, creating an art statement that shows what Reggio-inspired investigation looks like. 

For my artwork, I used a photo I'd taken on a hike. I cropped it and used filters to make it more dramatic. 

The parts and the places get old and rusty

when they’re abandoned. It makes me sad 
because the place needs help.
Bits and Pieces of Time: A teacher-student
art statement on abandoned places.
Second Grade and Mrs. Rose, 2017                                                                                             


The pieces are rusty, from real trains and tracks. Maybe somebody didn't want those tracks anymore. 

It makes me feel sad for the place because maybe people worked there and now it's collapsed. Maybe they don't have jobs anymore. 


The art show will be held at El Museo, 91 Allen Street. The opening is March 3, from 5-7, and the show runs through March 25th.


Friday, December 2, 2016

December, 2016

This month, our school is focused on embracing the winter holidays around the world and investigating the seasons.

Pre-K 103 is creating soft sculpture, self-portrait dolls. The students will choose clothing for their dolls based on the season in which they were born. We are using loose parts to create eyes, hair, clothing, etc. The students will then use the dolls as a prop to write stories.

Pre-K 101 is investigating holidays around the world. We will be creating Three Kings dolls, dreidels and symbols of other winter holidays, such as Christmas and Kwanzaa.

All three kindergartens are studying what we see in the seasons. The students read a Journeys story about the change of seasons and we're using images from the book as observational drawing inspiration to create acrylic paintings for the classroom windows.

First grade is continuing their investigation of heritage and identity through their personal coat of arms.

Second grade is working on symbols. In the atelier, we are looking at holidays around the world and creating small paintings to share the symbols with the school during our door decorating contest in the  month of December.

November, 2016

November was full of project-based learning with the theme of Discovering Puerto Rico.

In Pre-K 103, we created bats out of leather and then created a bat cave for them. We pretended to be bats and told stories about bats. The students created a list of facts about bats, which they used to write their stories. Why bats? Bats are the only indigenous mammal in Puerto Rico.

In Pre-K 101, we learned about how families have fun in Puerto Rico. We created a beach landscape and a landscape of the bioluminescent bay. The students made kayaks and dolls to show families having fun in the water. They used the landscapes to tell stories about the subject.

In K 104 and 106, the students were studying animals, so we researched animals from Puerto Rico and the children made masks of the animal they were most interested in. They drew the animal, too.

In K 102, the students read a Puerto Rican story about a bug who plays musical instruments. The instruments were all used in traditional Puerto Rican music. The children retold the story and created mosaics of the instruments.

In first grade 118, the students completed research and drawings on the Coqui frog. In 120 and 122, the students created flags of their heritage with their parents as an interactive activity, which will be used as part of a Coat of Arms project in December.

In second grade, 116 studied the ways water is used in Puerto Rico and 118 studied the geography of Puerto Rico with a focus on the trees. We created huge models of some of the trees in the entrance of the building. The students created observational drawings and mixed media artwork based on the trees we chose to research- la ceiba, the flamboyan, the palm tree and the mangrove tree. In 116, the students created a display and book to teach people about the ways water is used in Puerto Rico.