Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

I hope that everyone who reads this blog has a wonderful Thanksgiving.  I am thankful to be a part of the Reggio Emilia program at School #33 and I'm thankful for these wonderful, talented students.  This has been the most amazing year so far!

120- We started using papier mache on our masks.  The masks are coming out so well and the amazing thing is that every single one is drastically different from the next.  Some students chose to continue to add things to their armatures, which made their masks even more unique and interesting.  Other students felt ready to add papier mache. They are responding with the interest and enthusiasm I expected, after seeing how disguises and costumes are so exciting to them, so I'm so glad we decided to go with this project.

"It's so gross!" 

Bunny mask gets some papier mache.

Horse mask

I love the side ponytail on this mask. 

116- I brought a group down to work on the foyer mobile. I had my first Reggio-style parent connection last night!  I showed the mobile pieces to a parent at Parent-Teacher conferences and he said, "You need fishing line? Don't buy it!  I have a lot of it at home and I will gladly send it in with my daughter!"  Hooray for connections! I wonder if parents would like to come in for the installation of these pieces... I think it would be awesome for students, teachers and parents to collaborate on this semi-permanent artwork for our school.  

108 missed their studio time because we had an Honors Assembly, which is okay, because it's awesome to see children rewarded for their abilities, improvements and efforts.

112 only had a small group today, so I let them make free artwork, throwing them the suggestion that they give the artwork to someone they are thankful for.  They had so many people to choose from!  They really appreciate the adults in their lives.  

103- The preschool class was really interested in the video I made for the Honors Assembly, so I decided to let them make a video to showcase their Taino and Vejegante masks. They chose the theme for the movie trailer and they helped me pick the clips we used in the video.

104- The students and Mrs. Christie were making homemade butter and cornbread, so I was able to assist with that as a last-class-before-break activity.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

120- We used cardboard, magazines and tape to make the armatures for our papier mache masks.  The students were really into this! They were holding the masks up and laughing the entire time they constructed the masks.  It was a great class.  I'm going to do the mask project with 112, too, and we're already brainstorming how our masks can be inspiration for a play or stage production. :)

112 and 108- I brought more students in for the foyer mobile project. Everyone seems to love this project. The nice thing about it is that the students can talk to me about other things- about their lives, their interests, their classes- while improving their fine motor skills.  It's very relaxing to paint the little cardboard pieces.

118 made a lot of progress with their work on the clay church. They felt they'd made enough square "walls" to start piecing them together. They followed directions this time and used slip and scoring. They attached the walls together to build the facade, then etched in the main components of the facade.  It looks great.  They need to figure out a way to prop up the very large facade.  They were talking about using the walls they already made to support the facade, but I think they are going to need more clay, or maybe use something else... At any rate, I think the church will enjoy seeing the observational work the students are doing.
The students decided to put all of their "walls" together to create the large facade.

Adding details from observation

Our facade is complete!

101 and 103.  I had both preschools this afternoon, so we continued to "paint cheese!" which is how they refer to the foyer mobile.

We are making progress! 

Monday, November 25, 2013

Monday, November 25, 2013

120- We are starting an inquiry about masks.  I showed the students two ceramic masks (one African and one Mayan) and we looked at samples of masks from around the world.  I pointed the countries out on the globe as we went through, so they could see how the masks come from all of the continents and many countries all over the world.  We talked about the purposes of masks- to hide the face for protection, disguise, celebration, theater, or even for warfare or hunting.  The students then had time to brainstorm and draw their ideas for their own masks.  Tomorrow, we'll build the armature for their masks, which will be made out of papier mache.

116- I took a small group to work on the foyer mobile project.  This is the project with the cardboard triangles.

108- I took a small group to work on the foyer mobile project.

118- I had two groups today.  One group was the "church group."  They have their walls finished and started to construct the building, but they had a hard time getting the walls to stick together. I wanted them to try on their own and I will step in tomorrow to help with it, as it can be tricky to attach the walls when you don't have experience.  The other group I had worked on the foyer mobile project.  We divided the cardboard triangles into groups by color.  The students will compose patterns when they hang the pieces, so we thought we'd be prepared by dividing them ahead of time.

102- I took a small group of students who needed to finish their self-portraits.  Now we're ready to critique them with a lesson on adjectives.  I'm going to have the students look at each other's work and share one adjective that describes the person.  The kicker is that no one can have the same descriptive word as someone else.  I want them to expand beyond using just "beautiful" or "cool" to describe something they like and use a few synonyms.

101- I had the preschoolers work on the foyer mobile project.  I strung up a few pieces to show them what we're working toward. The final version will have fishing line instead of white string and the students will be allowed to work on gluing the pieces into shapes, like circles or diamonds, and will be encouraged to use patterns, so this is just a basic example.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Friday, November 22, 2013

The morning was spent watching the performances in the auditorium for the Discovery of Puerto Rico Celebration.  Not only was the show entertaining, but it was a lesson on history and culture.  Any educator knows that children learn lessons well when taught by other children, so it was a perfect way to celebrate and learn about a culture that many of our students and faculty/staff come from.  The faculty and staff will continue the celebration with a Puerto Rican lunch and desserts. It has been a wonderful experience, watching the entire school come together for a common goal today, and it's been amazing celebrating our Puerto Rican students' culture.  I've learned so much and I'm adding "Visit Puerto Rico" to my bucket list.

In other news, I've received media release forms for many of the students, so I can finally add faces and names to the blog!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Thursday, November 21, 2013

120: I helped the class prepare for the Discovery of Puerto Rico celebration.  They finished painting the last of their props and we practiced their act.

I have a group of seven students and they are cutting slabs to create a replica of the church next to our school, as part of our long term study of the community.

T- I notice that your clay walls are all different sizes. I wonder how that will work when you build the church.
S1- I guess we should make them the same size.
T- I didn't say that. I am wondering what you will do, that's all. I think it is interesting.
S2- I like that they are different sizes. When we attach them, it will look more realistic. The building has walls that aren't the same.
S3- some are bigger and some are smaller
S4- and they will all be attached together, so it doesn't matter.
S5- maybe we should make them skinnier?
S2- I don't think so. We will just attach them later.
S5- if you squish it like that, how are you going to get it off the table?  That's not the way to do it. Watch me.
S4- You flip it like a pancake and it doesn't stick. Like this.
T- when do you think this was built?
1960s, 1980s, 1990s, 1915, 1929, back in the thousands
S1- that's when Adam and Eve were born.
S2- the small pieces can be windows.
T- how could we find out the age of the church?
S1- I think G goes to that church- we could ask her!
S4- go on the internet and check out their website.
T- ok!
We checked the website, but it didn't say.
T- now what?!
S1- We could just guess.
T- if we guessed, would we know it's right?
S6- no.
S1- we could check with the builders. They would know.
S2- we could ask the people ate the church.  They work there, so they would know. You could text or call them. Or go there on a Sunday.
T- let's call them right now!
Students- Really? We can do that? We're calling now? 
They were very excited and gathered around me as I called the number we found on the church website. I introduced myself to Karen, who'd answered the phone, and explained our inquiry. Karen was nice enough to look it up for us! The church was built in 1891 and the hall was built in 1893.  Now that we know these dates, we'll talk more about what that means next class, and we can see if there are any other questions the students have about the church, the building process, or the time it was built.

UPDATE! Karen called us back and invited us for a tour of the church, so the students get an idea of the architecture on the inside!  This is a great opportunity for them to make ties with the community and learn more about the architecture. We will be planning a walking field trip to the church to take a tour and maybe do some observational drawing on the inside! 

108: We all gathered in the auditorium to practice the performance.  Both the New York and Puerto Rico murals will be on stage, to show the immigration process from Puerto Rico to New York. The students were very careful with the murals as they moved them around the stage.  They are so proud of their work, and excited to show it off in such a way. 

116: We finished our tree after some trials and tribulations.  Just as the boys finished the last palm leaf, the tree tipped and all of the leaves came off!  I stapled them on for them, but the tree was created by propping two boxes together and the result of stapling it was such that the tree shrunk a little.  "It's a baby tree!" One child exclaimed. "That's okay, Miss. I like it better this way," he said. I offered to make it full-sized again, but the students preferred the child-sized tree.
It's a baby tree now, but it's okay.  We like it.

While that group worked on the tree, I began a project that's been on my mind for two weeks now.  We want to decorate the entrance to the school.  I have these cardboard packing triangles.  I knew the students would be thrilled to have a purposeful project, so I gave them the box and asked what we could do to make the triangles more beautiful.  "They look like queso!" was the first remark they made. :) Soon paint and glitter (our new favorite thing) came out and the triangles took on a whole new life.  I am hoping that we can sort the colors when they are done and maybe do patterns or solid colors and string them on fishing line to hang in the foyer.  Repurposing cardboard, beautifying the building, allowing students to express themselves, practicing pattern for the older kids and color for the little ones- this project has so much!  I can't wait to see how they want to string them up.  They were already attaching them together to form little diamonds.


103- The preschool students finished their masks! 

102- I took a small group of kindergarten students who struggled with their painted self-portraits.  We were able to accomplish much more with the individual attention! 

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

118: I took a group to the studio to make waves for their Discovery of Puerto Rico performance.
The students will hold the waves during the Puerto Rican national anthem.

116: I brought two small groups to the studio. The first was working on the palm tree and the second group had the task of making a guitar. I enjoy every week in this position, but this week has been even better and I think it's because students are making full use of the studio, getting ideas from the materials. I admit I did put the paper clips out (along with a styrofoam option) knowing they would probably use those for the guitar tuning pegs, because they are pretty perfect for it. I showed them how they can form the sculpture out of paper by making a ball and then they went with it.
Ta da!  A guitar! 

I helped tie the knots, but they did the rest. 
They really wanted to make sure this stuck, hence the tons of tape. 

120: We finished New York City!!!  "This is the best day of my life!" exclaimed one student, as she sprinkled glitter over the water.

The Big Apple

We did end up using glitter in the water.  And pretty much everywhere. 

102: I brought a group into the studio to continue their exploration of materials through self-portrait.  I gave them the "beautiful stuff" and asked them to really think about how they were using the materials.  I wanted them to think about composition and shape, and understand that artists make choices when they are working.  We named the many shapes we saw and the students had to create a design before they could use glue.  I think they turned out nicely.  We're going to share out next class.  I want them to use adjectives to describe the work and then we'll write the adjective on the portrait.

104: We finished our many faces of Puerto Rico portraits, then made an Animoto video showcasing them.  The students thought making this video was the best thing ever!  They were giggling like crazy as we photographed and filmed, and they were so proud when it was finished.  You can see the video in my next post! 

The Many Faces of Puerto Rico

This is the kindergarten video we made.
The Many Faces of Puerto Rico

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

I am enjoying this week of The Discovery of Puerto Rico Celebration preparation.  I love that every classroom is working so hard towards a common goal.  The studio is covered in murals, palm trees, boats and masks.  We've learned much about history, art, working toward a goal and positive critique, all celebrating our shared culture with Puerto Rico.

120: Our New York Skyline mural is nearing completion.  We have a few more glittery windows to create and the water needs to be filled in.  There was talk of glitter on the water to make it look like it's sparkling. 

116: The students decided to use the tree trunk that they were building for the community mural to create a palm tree for the performance.  They painted a large Puerto Rican flag and a frog.  We researched the flag, using a photo for accuracy, and we researched the way palm leaves look so they could be portrayed correctly.

108: We painted boats for the celebration, after looking at passenger boats in the 1940s and 1950s. 

112: We finished the mural of Puerto Rico! This is a group of first and second graders and I think this mural looks like it was painted by much older students! 

103: We worked on our Taino and Vejigante masks. I had three stations going, which was not an easy feat!  One group finished up their papier mache step, one group painted a base coat and one group added details to their masks.

104: We continued our many faces of Puerto Rico portrait project.  They only have to add some details and cut them out to be finished.