Pre-February ProSat Challenge

Hello fellow Community Course members,

We have so inspired by the ways you have been reaching out to the greater arts community to bring something unique and meaningful to your classrooms.  In just our small group of teachers, we have world-famous dance groups and artists making contact with our students; local art curators, Brazilian, and African specialists getting to interact with our kids; and personal friends and family getting involved in our students’ artful lives.  We even had one ambitious CM (Bsus, who’s ridiculous) email Wendy Kopp to get John Legend’s email address!  Amazing how it has all started with an easy email or phone call.

Since so many of you rose to meet our first challenge, here is a second one:  Before Feb ProSat (Feb. 11th), post something on this blog that you are using in your classroom or that has inspired you in some way.  If you need help with ideas, look at the drop-down menus on this blog.  Let’s make this a serious resource for us to bump up student achievement for the next 4 months that we have to influence our amazing students.

I will start by posting two videos.

The first is a video of South African singers and dancers that I am using to reinforce steady beat, introduce duple subdivisions of a beat, and just to invest my kids in the awesomeness there is to be found in the Wide World of Music!  Right now I’m only showing the first minute or so, because of time and attention spans, but some classes are begging to see the rest!

The second is something my aunt, who is an artist, sent me last week.  It is an illustrated lecture (I think a TED talk, but I’m not certain) and I found it inspiring because it made me reevaluate how I envision myself working within our educational system.

I look forward to seeing what you all post here.  When you post, check which category it fits in on the bottom right column of the screen.  Let’s get collaborating!

Circular Weaving

This is the project my 4th graders are working on at this very moment. In this lesson we discuss weaving, Kente cloth, radial balance, patterns and colors as symbols. Not a bad spread for a project that also keeps their attention. Kids love weaving. This is my second year doing the project and both years my students have been reluctant at first but once they get into it…collaboration, focused work, creativity, pretty much everything good is just spilling out of their little fingers. Amazing. Have I mentioned I lovvvve my weaving unit?

Objectives:
SWBAT explain fiber art                                                                                            SWBAT identify Kente cloth and discuss it’s relevance in Ghana                                   SWBAT identify and explain radial balance                                                             SWBAT create a pattern                                                                                             SWBAT demonstrate correct weaving techniques

Proceedure: From start to finish this project takes 3-4, 50 minutes lessons

I usually read the book The Spider Weaver. I also have  a PPT on patterns, fiber arts and Kente cloth to accompany as an introduction to this lesson. Year 1 I had the kids string up their paper plate looms. I had precut the plates with slits but it still took an entire lesson to get them all to have looms ready to weave. Year 2 I decided I thought the process was more important and wanted to save that extra day for something else so I gave them pre-strug looms. It then comes down to demonstrating how to weave and change colors. I normally demo, then do a little chant about under, skip one, under skip one, etc. I let the kids go and stop at each table demonstrating individually. By this time usually at least one kid from each table has picked it up and can help out the kids around them. Yay peer teaching! I give the kids 2 more class periods to finish. Of course we always have early finishers so I just have an alternate project prepared for day 2. When everyone is done, we tuck in the ends and tie them off!

Here are some examples from last year’s bunch. This year’s are coming soon…

Reaching out to an Internet Community

Here is the example of an e-mail I sent out to Leanne of yarnbombing.com.  She was great and sent me a personal statement back as well as the opportunity to post my kids’ stuff once their project was done!

Hello Leanne,
My name is Melanie Bradshaw and I am an elementary school (K-4) art teacher a small town called Marianna, AR. My 3rd graders really got into street art when we talked about it at the beginning of the year. To build on their excitement, we are now doing a yarn bombing project! I am teaching them to weave on hand looms. They will be making small blocks and then we will sew them together and yarn bomb our bus ramp posts in front of the school. To get them excited about the project I showed the video of work samples from the Yarn Graffiti Documentary found on Vimeo as well as lots of pictures from your blog. I thought it would be extra cool if we could get a personal statement from you about why you do what you do, perhaps a little about yourself, and just a message of encouragement to the kids of Whitten Elementary School about fiber arts or art in general. Anything you could provide would be great! You have already been an inspiration. Also, I am not sure how you choose what to feature on your blog but when our project is complete, could I send you some photos? The kids would go nuts if they knew their stuff ended up on a street art blog!
Thanks so much!
Best,
Melanie

Guest Collaborators: Brainstorming Q’s- Mentor

Here are your responses for the Key planning questions we discussed last Saturday:

Mentor:

1. Who would you want to come in? Other music teachers? Church musicians.  College students. Musical parents/ community members.

2. What would they teach/ how would they interact with your students? Strings (I wish), Character education, community involvement, consistently whole group- a face and name they can remember, relate to, seek out

3. What would be the outcome of the visit? Relationships, Accountability

4. How will it impact your students’ achievement/ investment/ life-path? LOTS! Refer to #3.  Study after study has shown that a private teacher is the #1 influencer on college music majors’ decision to study music as a career.

5. What problems do you anticipate encountering? Finding someone…  Maintaining consistency, How often?  Should they ever be alone with the kids?  What are the legal ramifications for me, as the teacher, if they are alone with kids?  Will it be more about music or character education? If it is about music, the character stuff with be included.

Please use the comments section or your edit abilities to add to these ideas as you go about the process of bringing someone in to present for your kids!  Also, add your solutions!

Guest Collaborators: Brainstorming Q’s- Guest Performer

Here are your responses for the Key planning questions we discussed last Saturday:

Guest Performer:

1. Who would you want to come in? Guest collaborators (even from community college!) for Constance’s strings classes, Guest artist to help frame the use of ceramics. Other ideas: guest soloist for a performance, guest performer to play student compositions?

2. What would they teach/ how would they interact with your students? INSPIRE more than to teach, Talk about what they do- do their performance and be open to questions.  For a guest performer, try to get them to play/ dance/ do art WITH the kids.

3. What would be the outcome of the visit? INSPIRATION! For guest collaborators, a reward and goal. Give students a clear vision of what excellence is and what it takes to get there.

4. How will it impact your students’ achievement/ investment/ life-path? Investment- get Excited!!!  Give the students a goal/ Give them the drive to work harder.

5. What problems do you anticipate encountering? Fundraising!!  Logistics!!  Finding somebody to come to the boondocks.  Student Behavior.

Please use the comments section or your edit abilities to add to these ideas as you go about the process of bringing someone in to present for your kids!  Also, add your solutions!

Guest Collaborators: Brainstorming Q’s- Guest Clinician

Here are your responses for the Key planning questions we discussed last Saturday:

Guest Clinician:

1. Who would you want to come in? Gallery director of the GAC art gallery.  Arkansas Artist from the TED talk.

2. What would they teach/ how would they interact with your students? Review critique procedures, Explain process of putting on a Gallery show, Guide students through a class critique of their own works, Start students on creating their OWN art show.

3. What would be the outcome of the visit? Reinvestment in effort, reinvestment in critique (both for self and for others), the creation of an art show.

4. How will it impact your students’ achievement/ investment/ life-path? see how art is measured in the real world, see how their effort effects their work, become reinvested (see above), increased ownership of work/ effort

5. What problems do you anticipate encountering? Logistics/ time.

Please use the comments section or your edit abilities to add to these ideas as you go about the process of bringing someone in to present for your kids!  Also, add your solutions!

Guest Collaborators: Brainstorming Q’s- Guest Lecturer

Here are your responses for the Key planning questions we discussed last Saturday:

Guest Lecturer:

1. Who would you want to come in? Stan Street of Clarksdale (artist and local artist who made a living off of musicians).  Painting in AR. Oil paint teacher.  Capoeira.

2. What would they teach/ how would they interact with your students? teach career goals and paths, teach the process of creating realism painting (photos and planning), lessons on creating music/ art/ dance where they support students

3. What would be the outcome of the visit? Increased investment in students AND teachers, students gaining an understanding of the work necessary for success in the arts.

4. How will it impact your students’ achievement/ investment/ life-path?

5. What problems do you anticipate encountering? Funding! Check on school $ for arts in the classroom.  The logistics of bringing in students.  Time- making this a priority in the curriculum.

Please use the comments section or your edit abilities to add to these ideas as you go about the process of bringing someone in to present for your kids!  Also, add your solutions!