Monday, September 30, 2013

Monday, September 30, 2013

116, second grade bilingual class- I took a very small group of students who have been struggling with their self-portrait drawings.  I wanted to model the proportions again and offer a critique session with the small group. One boy was very upset with his inability to understand the technique and when the students and I suggested he draw more lightly (to make erasing easier) he broke down and started crying. The boy next to him spoke to him, offering encouragement. We referenced Austin from the Austin's Butterfly video and the crying child admitted that Austin didn't cry and give up- he listened to his friends and kept trying. By the end of the class, he'd had a breakthrough and his portrait was beautifully proportioned and he was giddy with excitement. I love that he learned the valuable art skills that will help with his lessons in school, but also that the students used critique and positive conversation to work through a problem, supportively and cooperatively. These are skills students will find valuable in all aspects of their lives, not just in their education.

108, first grade monolingual- I had a really interesting investigation with this group.  I had five students and a bunch of milkweed, thistles and cattails.

S1- I think we're going to draw this on our paper
S5- But it's too big! It's a big, big flower! 
    Where did you get this flower?
S2- Do you know if that turns into corn?
S1- Yeah, I think so.
S3- It's a plant
S2- What is this?
Teacher- You can touch them, but watch out for this part.
S5- Don't touch that one- it has spikes!
S2- This is fuzzy
S4- It doesn't hurt if you touch it lightly
S2- This feels like a fuzzy spider. 
S3- Look at the part that flies out.
S2 And pull on the fuzzy part that blows away.
S5- Those are seeds! They're seeds! They are connected to each other! They're flying!  They are like parachutes! 
S1- I have these in my cousins backyard, we play with them sometimes.

The students blow the seeds around and study what happens. The area around us begins to look like it's snowing with the little "parachute seeds". One floats over to the group at the light table and they begin to play with it, too. 

Light table- It looks all hairy! You can see the seeds!

The group I have begins to draw observational drawings.

S5- This looks like corn on the cob.
S1- I want to hold the thistle. It doesn't hurt if you hold it at the bottom.
S2- I squeezed it and it didn't hurt.
T- Why do you think it has those points?
S2- It grows that way.
T- True, but why would it grow points? 
S2- To hurt someone who touches it.
S5- It has those so it won't get broken by someone.
S4- This piece is ticklish.
S4- Why are these pieces are fluffy?
S2- It helps them fly
S5- They are light to help them fly, too. 
T- If they were heavy, what would happen?
S4- They would hurt you if they hit you!
S2- They couldn't fly then
S5- This looks like a chrysalis and these are like little caterpillars inside.
S4- A chrysalis?
S5- The seeds are inside like little butterflies. Be careful! The seeds have a little home- don't take them out! 
S4 pulls them out anyway and they all ooh and ahh at the handful of seeds.
S5- Now the butterflies aren't in the chrysalis- they are all over the place. 
"The butterflies are in the chrysalis." 

Drawings of the plants:
This child added a caption to his drawing, after learning about captions last week in ELA class.
It said, "Made in the art studio." 
This child also wrote a caption. It was, "I wish I could take a seed home to plant it." 

112, bilingual self-contained first grade.  We continued to use shells as we explore the materials in the art studio.  Today, I gave each student clay and let them play with the clay. They made shells out of the clay.  The two students who usually finish early painted the shells at the easels. One boy was frustrated when he made his lines too thick, so I showed him how to etch lines into the paint with the back of his brush and it was very exciting.  His composition is really a beautiful piece on its own.

These came out so well.  It's really amazing to see the enthusiasm of the children.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Friday, September 27, 2013

120 bilingual first grade- we continued our portrait lesson in small groups. One student finished his drawing in record time and he drew it well. He continued to create drawings- a second of himself yelling, "I win!" after beating his father at a video game, and two more drawings of a vampire.

He told me about the vampire:
     This is the vampire who lives in the city. You can't see him or he'll scare you.  He is real... real... REAL! <said in a scary, ascending manner.> His name is Junior. He likes to bite.

Junior the Vampire

118, monolingual second grade- I pushed in as Mrs. Chowaniek was providing an inquiry for her science block.  She found a huge sunflower on a walk in her neighborhood. I was intrigued by this, myself, and had to touch the texture of the seeds immediately, so I knew the students would be thrilled.

She has some wonderful documentation of their conversation that I hope to add to the blog.  In the meantime, I have photographs of the sunflower and dialogue I typed up as the students practiced their scientific drawing skills with this awesome subject matter.

This is my sample drawing next to the huge sunflower.  I wanted to show how large it is.

This student really understood contour line drawing.

Such a rich find for student inquiry! 

T- Don't just draw a pretty flower- draw this flower.  This flower isn't perfect.
S1- Yeah, it looks like an animal bit it!
S2- It was bees! Bees eat it for their nectar. Bees are not animals, though. They are insects.
S3- They get the pollen 
S1- I'm drawing the seeds. The seeds make new flowers.
T- Do you want to know more about this? What do you want to know?
S4- I want to know more about the stuff on top.  And why the leaves are so hard.
S5- I want to know why it feels like a marshmallow inside.
S3- I know what the stuff is on top. They are for bees to drink the nectar. 
S6- Then they bring it back to the nest and they keep getting it from other flowers, going back and forth and then they make honey.
S7- I am curious as to why it has so many seeds and why it's so big.
T- I agree- I've never seen one so big.
S7- That's why I want to know how it got so big! 
S8- I've never seen a sunflower before! 
Must touch the texture...
We loved the lines created by the seeds. 

103, preschool- I provided an experience on working with clay.  I set up the tables with clay, clay tools, shells and buttons.  The students came in.  I let each child take one piece of clay and begin working with it.  They played, they rolled, they smashed.  I told them they could use the buttons, shells and tools.  Some students wanted to stick the tools in the clay (permanently) so popsicle sticks came out as an option at that point. A few children started to make portraits, so I shared their idea and soon we had beautiful little faces developing in the clay.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Thursday, September 26, 2013

118, monolingual second grade- I took half of the class to paint their portraits.  We went over many painting techniques and had a great discussion on the many shades of skin colors and eye colors in our classroom.

112, bilingual self-contained class- The students continued their inquiry about seashells.  I showed them Austin's Butterfly and they practiced observational drawing by drawing the shells. Three of the four students went from wanting to trace the shells to understanding contour line drawing.  I'm really pleased.  I will continue to work with the fourth student, but I'm thrilled that three out of four showed such gains in so little time.

116, bilingual second grade- Students went outside to find natural objects. They drew the objects, wrote about them and created compositions of glued objects.

Students in 102, the monolingual kindergarten, continued their letters and lines drawing. These will be part of the letter book for grades pre-k and k. 

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

120 bilingual first grade- I continued working in small groups on portraits.  The rest of the class worked at different stations, creating signs about their classroom and school rules and working on team building exercises.

116 bilingual second grade- I brought a small group to the studio to watch Austin's Butterfly and receive intensive assistance with their portraits. The struggling group is getting smaller and smaller in 116 as more students build their confidence and abilities.

Preschool, 103- I followed the preschoolers outside to photograph a lesson they were working on.  They are learning number recognition, starting with the number one.  They found sticks and twigs and composed their own number ones to display.  One student created a two and was busy looking for more sticks to create a three.

I was walking around the building when I noticed the preschool students had used their numbers to decorate our courtyard.  I love that other classes will get to see what they created. 

112- Three students in the first grade self-contained classroom were pretty far ahead of their classmates. Since they had all painted a beach scene, I set up an inquiry area using seashells my daughters and I had collected on our summer vacation. I added paper, colored pencils, fine tip pens and pencils to the area. The rest of the class would work on their background scenes and the only instruction given to the inquiry students will be where the children sit. I want to see if the kids can figure out a way to play and learn using the shells without instruction. There is a fear of doing the "wrong" thing, so we want examples, we want to copy the teacher and each other and I thought this exercise would help them get over that.

I recorded as much dialogue as I could.  Some of it had to be translated, as the students fluctuate between English and Spanish (sometimes without realizing it.)
S1- Wow! So beautiful!
S2-Can I touch? What do we do?
S1- Look! These are the same! 
S2- Did you make these?
T- No...
S2- I know- you got them at the beach! They are all the same, but different! 
T- What makes them the same?
S3- The shape is the same!  The colors are different!  These have holes.
T- I  wonder how the holes are formed.
S4, eavesdropping- I think animals in the water bit the holes in the shells!
S2- And some are broken! 
S2- Where did you get them?
T shows them a picture of the beach.
S1- This is you! You went there! 
S2- I'm making a pile of all the same ones.
S3- When did you get them?
T- Over the summer. 
S3- These ones have holes
S2- Look! This has purple!
S1- Look! It's beautiful!

A few more excited exclamations of how beautiful some of the shells are.
S3 noticed a shell on our beach blanket in the photo. He is determined to find that shell, so he searches until he finds one that resembles it.  He places it on the photo and compares the two. Student Two notices.
S2- Whoa! You found the same one! Wow!
S3 hides a tiny shell under one of three big shells, then shuffles the shells and has the kids guess which shell hides the baby shell. 
S2- Why are some so soft and some are hard?
T- I think you mean smooth and rough. The ones in the ocean a long time get smoother, like stones. 

We touch different ones and guess which were in the ocean a long time. 
S2 starts collecting a pile of smooth shells.
T- Do we want to learn more about these?  [Lots of nodding heads respond.] What should we learn?
S3- I want to know what the animals look like. I want to know more about where they come from. I want to know how they catch it.
S2- I want to see the water. I want to go there. 
S1- I want to learn about the animals, too.
T- I still want to know what makes the holes.
We look at photographs of shells and beaches. A drawing of a shell comes up.
S2- We can draw them! 

The bell rings and we agree that our next step is to draw our favorite shells.

103, preschool- I think we are finished with the letters and drawings for our alphabet book.  I have to check to make sure there aren't any letters that might have eluded us, but we're definitely in a good place. 

Our completed alphabet word list.

104, bilingual kindergarten.  We spent the period brainstorming pictures for our letter book.  We used Spanish words.  The students were really passionate about which words were included. I can't wait to see their drawings next class!