Friday, September 23, 2005

Under Over Under Over

Every morning I have one particular 5th grade girl who comes to my room and asks "Is the painting center open yet?" I reply, "sorry, not yet, soon though, soon." Last year was a struggle for her, the only thing she enjoyed and felt somewhat successful at was painting. She is a student who has trouble reading and has lots of academic difficulties. Last week when I introduced weaving shetook a risk and decided to try it. To my surprise she worked a complicated pattern and had not one mistake. She took it with her and I hooked her up with a weaving partner in her class so she could have him check it throughout the week. By lunchtime she had already come back to replenish her yarn supply. I am so happy that she has now found another success in the art room. Painting will open soon, I hope she continues to take risks even with her old standby around.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

"next project"

I opened the full found object and cardboard construction center today. On the second day of school one 4th grade girl drew a sketch in pencil. It was a boat with wheels, and the only color piece was the sail colored with the a rainbow crayon. On the bottom she labeled the drawing "next project". The multicolored sail was inspired by a piece of paste paper in the collage center. Her decision to choose the rainbow crayon to show this could not have been better. When she started to build the boat with wheels she started with cardboard the first day as this was the only material available. This week when all the found object boxes were available she began to add details. The wheels were perfectly chosen to coordinate with her sketch. She achieved great accuracy by choosing 3 foam squares to decorate the front of the sculpture to exatly replicate the squares she traced from a template onto her sketch. I watched in awe as this young girl movde between centers, each inspired by the previous and chose the exact materials she needed for her self conceived project. Bliss.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

They have finally got it together

My first period class on Tuesday really gives me hope for the rest of my classes. It is so nice to come into school and look forward to this wonderful class. Today I realized that when the behavior issues subside it opens the door for huge successes. These kids have very quickly figured out that if they finish breakfast, walk quickly and quietly to art, and sit down to listen right away that they will have what seems like an endless art class. They kept saying "Don't we have to clean up?" and I'd reply "Nope, not yet, seems like we have a lot more time to work today, doesn't it?" They came to school today ready for art and ready to learn. I see a perfect mix of enthusiasm and maturity.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Just wait until...

We have a new 4th grade class this year comprised of gifted and talented fourth graders, 2 or 3 from each elementary school in the district. There are 3 students who were in my school last year and are used to all the centers. I thought that these three might be disappointed because I chose to open centers slowly since so many students were new to the choices. Wow, did they create a buzz over the centers to come. "Just wait until you see when puppets opens, and when weaving opens, we even did sewing last year!" from one eager young lady. I could tell she had been saving up ideas all summer just waiting for me to provide the supplies and encouragement for her to realize them. Her enthusiasm spread until the room a buzz with future ideas.

Friday, September 16, 2005

Drawing cars on Friday afternoon

Last week a child asked if he could take one of my car pictures home to continue his drawing. Unfortunately my response was no, I don't let these types of materials out of the room as I often never see them again. So he asked, "where did you get this photo, I'd really like to have one." I simply told him that I found it on a car calendar I got at the dollar store. Today, a week later, he came to art with a very satisfied look on his face and told me that he found the same calendar at the dollar store (2 years later). He beamed with excitement, now he could continue his passion for drawing cars at home just as he does in the art room. This encounter made me sure that he was not only learning about drawing in the artroom but also how to act like an artist, 45 minutes of art at exactly 12:10 on Friday afternoon is no longer enough for him.