Monday, February 12, 2018

What's Your "Ism"?

a Cubist-style drawing (grade 3)

When Pablo Picasso and George Braque met in the early 1900's, the world was rapidly changing. With vast changes in transportation, communication and power, Pablo & George found their old  world was gone and a new world was emerging: one that seemed faster and smaller. They felt that the art they were making should reflect this new world - that art shouldn't remain how it always was when everything else in the world was changing. They talked about "simultaneous perspective" and began painting subjects that overlapped and appeared on one picture plane from multiple points of view. This style of art came to be known as Cubism and a brand new way of looking at and recording the world was born.

LSS students are studying Cubism ... & they are exploring their own "Ism".  I ask them to partner up with a friend and brainstorm a list describing our world today. From that list they mine out words that sum up this fast-changing world we live in today. This is the basic building block for their new style of art - one that exemplifies and illustrates life in 2018.

These "Ism"s are eye-opening and fun. Some this year include: Technologism, Lovism, Balancism, Naturism, Confusionism, Resourcism, Sportsism, Scarism, Peacism, Busyism, Pollutism, Changism, Connectism, Depressism, Foodism, Colorism.

Ask your grade 5 student if s/he is working on an "Ism" in art. Ask them why they chose what they chose. The conversation will fascinate you!

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Here's what's new in the new year: 2018!

grade 3 still life painting

grade 4 wire sculpture in progress

grade 5 hand casting

Happy New Year! 2018 brings much excitement in the art room as students continue working on their projects. Grade 5 is in the middle of a sculpting project: casting hands. They are using plaster bandage over a hand gesture to create a portrait of themselves. Once the hand cast is complete they will make a background design out of corrugated cardboard - carving into the cardboard to expose some of the center flute. This relief sculpture will be displayed with a writing prompt that will take the viewer deeper into the personality of the artist!

Grade 4 is also exploring sculpture this month as they work on wire sculptures. They began this exploration by learning about American sculptor, Alexander Calder who is best known for his mobile sculptures and his miniature circus sculptures. Students began making their own sculptures by gathering wire mesh, beads, buttons and wire for materials. From there they began to twist, scrunch, weave, attach, wire and fold - creating a sculpture all their own! The final piece will be mounted, titled and displayed in the next few weeks.   

Grade 3 is finishing still life paintings. This year I was able to offer more choice in the still life set-up each student painted. There were flowers, geometric shapes and fruit bowls to choose from. Once the set-up was drawn, grade 3 students used tempera paint to add color to the still life as they saw it - mixing all their secondary colors!  The finishing steps were to add highlights, shadows and contrast with charcoal. These still life paintings are incredible - look for them soon in the LSS Hallway galleries! 

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Our Paras are Superheroes!

So much happens at a school.  I am often overwhelmed by all I witness in the daily routines of such a complex system.  There are so many roles: teachers, custodians, administrators, directors, administrative assistants, case managers, cafeteria & recess aides, counselors, coaches.  Though each role is integral to the operation of our school & everybody here is a valuable participant, I’d like to address one specific group of incredible people at LSS: our Para-educators.

I see almost all our Para-educators throughout my week as they support their students in art.  I watch them respond and adapt to their students’ needs with great care and creativity. They have to handle a vast range of scenarios each day – some impossible to plan for.  But they do so with finesse and skill.  They think on their feet and pull strategies out of their toolbox. It’s inspiring to watch our Para-educators work.  I learn everyday from this amazing group of professionals.

Yet the thing I must stress the most is the collective love and compassion for their students that I see from all our Para-educators at Lincoln Street School.  In this world of divisiveness and darkness, it’s heartwarming to come to school and witness such a positive and nurturing environment created by our Para-educators for the students under their care.

So I thank our Para-educators: Sue Bessemer, Kristan Boomhower, Lucy Boyle, Tina Bruce, Maria Cameron, Julie Carmielia, Jenna Coakley, Jodi Daignault, Cyndy Davidson, Lynn Despelteau, Janet Floodstrom, Brenda Gilman, Pam Hallett, Rose Hallett, Carole Hartley, Marney Kelley, Jen Kirby-Macek, Meagan McCauley, Lena Natola, Jess Paquette, Jean Pesaresi, Lynn Pittendreigh, Amy Quel, Sue Quinn, Cammie Savage, PollyAnn Tatarczuk, Robin Vogt and Kathy White - and any others who I may have missed here – for the work you do each day and the love you give to the students of LSS.

To me, you are all super-heroes!

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Wish Tree

This morning I had the opportunity to share one of my many stories at an all-school assembly. I chose to tell a story I called "Me & the Trees": a story about how trees are not just my friends but also my teachers & how they teach me every day how I can be both deeply rooted while reaching beyond the sky.
            As I told my story about the relationship I have with so many trees, I couldn't help but think of the book "Wishtree" by Katherine Applegate: the LSS one-school-one-book for this school year.  This is such a fabulous book to share with our students! A book about relationships and family, history and friendships! What could be more important in this time of uncertainty and change? 
I am so very delighted to be part of a school community that participates in the one-school-one-book program. And I am especially grateful to both Julie Lambert and Helen Burnham for the the work they do and the time they take to find just the right book each year! Thank you Julie & Helen! 

Sunday, November 12, 2017

A Bird Ballet - Part two

I saw the most incredible thing the other morning. It began with a sound: a swooshing sound that pulled me out of my warm house, barefoot into the cold. I thought the noise was the wind but it didn't sound quite right. I looked up and saw what was making such a sound: birds! The flapping of their wings was loud enough for me to hear inside my house! Thousands of migrating birds ribboning across the sky in black stripes - dancing and singing and flapping over me. I threw my head back in delight. My smile grew bigger and bigger as the birds kept coming. For over ten minutes they flew while I smiled up at the sky. Another gift for me to marvel over - another story to tell.

A BIRD BALLET - Part one

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Paper Cellphone

I have a paper cellphone that was given to me by a 4th grade student.  He gave it to me so that we could communicate throughout the class. This class was at the end of a very busy and trying day - the energy was chaotic, elevated and challenging to manage. At one point, I stopped in the midst of the chaos and watched as the class unfolded.  Let me clarify, please: I believe there needs to be a little chaos to feed the creative process. Though I don't try to instill chaos, I do let the students ride on the edges of it sometimes.  They were way beyond the edges - and I knew I needed to rein things in. But, truth be told, this was the tip of the iceberg for me and I was feeling defeated.

Then I looked across the room and my student, who had given me the paper cellphone earlier, had his paper cellphone to his ear. I took mine out of my pocket.
"Hello. Ms. Wheeler-Bean, are you okay?"

I told this boy that it had been a hard day and that I was feeling overwhelmed.  He reminded me that sometimes students make bad choices but we are all good people inside.  I smiled at him across the room and reined that class in, with light in my heart ... thanks to the wisdom and compassion of a 9-year old boy at the other end of a paper cellphone.