Sunday, August 31, 2008

One Full Week!

This week was the first FULL WEEK with students.

Five student days.

I'd like to say it was nothing, didn't wear me out or anything.

In all honesty, I was so excited for Friday to finally come! And then, just in time for the weekend, some sort of bug knocked me out COMPLETELY on Saturday. All day Saturday...I'll spare you the details.

Thankfully, I started feeling better this morning, so I had all day to sleep, start to eat, and regain my strength for ANOTHER FIVE DAY WEEK! But I did miss having a weekend, where I could do things for myself...

Check out the picture below! I came in last Monday to find a BRAND NEW CEILING AND LIGHTING in my art room. I was told that they would be putting in new lights, but I didn't realize the lights and drop ceiling would come at the same time. I don't have much of an opinion about the ceiling. It looks nice, and that extra 2 or 3 feet would never have been used. This is supposed to help with heating and cooling costs, and now I have better lighting!

Probably the biggest news for this week is that I'm teaching the Pre-K class! Once a week, for 30 minutes. It's a small little class of 7 students. One girl cried hysterically about coming to art class. Thankfully, one of the classroom teachers stayed and sat with her. About 5 or 10 minutes into class, she finally stopped crying.

It's a fun class, especially since I have four of my colleagues' children as students. Two of the boys' dads work in the secondary building. One little girl's dad is a music teacher and the head of fine arts. And another little boy, his dad is my principal, the principal of the elementary school.

Pre-K was learning about colors in their class. We practiced our cutting skills by playing "HIDE AND SEEK" and finding the colors that were hiding in magazines.

The yellow table cut out yellow items.
The red table cut out red items.
The blue table cut out blue items.

Then a teacher helped each table glue their bits onto construction paper. The classroom teacher that stayed helped the yellow table, my TA helped the red table, and I helped the blue table.

My principal's son was sitting at the blue table. At one point in time, I thought he said "I like you." Then I realized, he was probably saying "I like blue" since he was sitting at the blue table and cutting out blue items. A few minutes later, I was helping him cut out some more items. This time, it was clear as day. "I like you." Yes, this little four year old boy likes me.

He also likes my scissors. They spring open to help young children with their fine motor skills...

He saw me two days later, on Friday, pointed at me and told the person he was with "I like her."

Here are the finished Olympic bulletin boards---designed and created by the 5th grade classes.

I'm so impressed.

Nearly everything is their own creation. I stapled the items on the board, with their direction. I also created the flag of South Africa on the first bulletin board. (It's fairly complicated, and the students were struggling, but since our secondary principal is from South Africa, I thought I'd help them out!)

I love the way the first bulletin board combined the Olympic rings and the word "Olympics." Genius.

And check out the finished torches on the second bulletin board...those torches are the result of rulers, protractors, "paper and pencil" math calculations, mental math, and research at home! (One boy from the group printed out color images of the torches at home and brought them in for the second class so they could get all the details perfect.)

Lastly, some finished hand designs from the 2nd graders and the 2nd/3rd grade ESL class.

This girl really impressed me. The front of her book is beautiful. She finished early, so she began designing the back. I didn't ask the students to think about the arrangement of hands on the front cover, but merely to overlap the hands to cover the entire page. She took this to the next level when she designed her back cover. It's things like this back cover that make you smile and realize your students are learning, applying their understanding independently, taking risks, and finding success!

I read this passage in The Art of Teaching Art to Children on Friday night:

Sometimes the art room gets really quiet. It's the tip-0ff that the kids are deeply involved. I haven't asked the children to be quiet. They are simply expressing their involvement in the work by a high level of intensity, combined with a deep focus. They are immersed in the art materials and in themselves.

I started tearing up. Already, there have been many quiet classes in the art room. I love to facilitate this type of involvement in art, in the process of creation!

Sometime, I need to write about 3rd grade. They're awesome! The discussions we have about art, their increasing drawing skills, and the crazy portraits they're drawing of their's a great time!

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