Saturday, September 10, 2011
New School Year
A couple weeks before school began, I got some news that greatly changed the planning and expectations I had for this school year. Due to a large enrollment number at our school, the art room was likely going to have to be given up to make room for another Kinder classroom. Heartbreak. But after the initial shock and disappointment, I reminded myself that my students and I are lucky to have an art program at all, and that great artists can make art anywhere! So while I was waiting to find out where and how this new arrangement was going to work, I focused my energy on thinking of a couple fun things to get my students' attention the first week of school... especially since I couldn't set up my classroom!
First, I made some artwork on the bulletin board in the main hallway - with scraps and recycled materials saved from last year! I highly recommend this activity. I used construction paper cuttings, notebook and graph paper, cereal boxes, bottle caps, egg cartons, paper rolls, post-its, phone book pages, and LOTS of staples (for functional and aesthetic reasons.)
It was incredibly fun to arrange everything into something energetic and colorful - yet abstract and ephemeral - to encourage my students (and myself) to start thinking about all the possibilities ahead of us this year! The board reads "Hey ARTISTS - What will we CREATE this year? BG GREEN ART 2012-2012." This year will be no exception: we will continue on our quest to incorporate GREEN materials and practices into every art unit this year.
I am considering a way to arrange for small groups of students who have earned extra special privileges this year the opportunity to do something similar at certain points in the semesterI'm really excited about the idea of seeing what they would create on a giant bulletin board with a bunch of leftovers from the art closet! A lesson in installation art! (I wish I could do this with every student - all 915 or so of them!)
And second, the day before school started, I went to the nail salon with a special mission:
RAINBOW NAILS! Warm tones on one side, cool on the other. It was so fun to watch my students discover the spectrum on my hands. I had a great time the first week saying "Oh, you like them? I did them for YOU!!!" AND our first week lessons involved some color theory, so it served as a fun little added visual representation!
Art is a wonderful, healthy, healing and joyful thing. In the nail salon that weekend, I sat next to a friendly woman getting her nails painted with a simple clear coat of polish. She was excited by my choice of colors, and commented that at her place of work, painting her nails like that would probably get her fired. I am so thankful to be an art teacher. No matter the obstacles, this is a really fun job. And an important one too.
More coming soon on THE MOVE and our first week activities. Change, challenge, creativity AND opportunity ahead...
Wishing you a spectacular school year,