I read an interesting article about the power of perception and reflection on mistakes, which I'm sharing here.
Years ago, my husband introduced me to the idea of the "self-fulfilling prophecy," which basically just means that, if you believe something about yourself, you will make it true. In my experience, I have found this pretty accurate....but it doesn't, unfortunately, work for winning the lottery!
I read an interesting article about the power of perception and reflection on mistakes, which I'm sharing here.
Kindergarten students started off the school year by creating self portraits.
After a discussion in which we noticed that everyone has different hair, wears different shoes, etc, students drew themselves on paper with a pencil. They then traced their drawing with a black marker, colored the drawing with crayon, cut out the drawing, and glued it onto their name paper. The results are wonderful!
In the weeks leading up to the UN mandated World Food Day on October 14, my Grade 5 students discussed and studied how climate change is affecting food production.
After learning about GM (genetically modified) crops and the recent buy out of Monsanto, and hearing first hand accounts of the recent pollution problems in Singapore due to the burning of palm oil plantations in Indonesia, students created posters advocating for recent change.
The posters were scanned and submitted to the Food and Agriculture Organization arm of the United Nations for consideration in their poster competition. Fingers crossed that we have a winner!
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Last year, Grade 3 students were introduced to printmaking in a Pop Art project, in which they used an A6 sized plate to make multiple prints in different colored inks. This years printmaking project was a bit more involved.
Using one A4 sized plate, they made multiple prints with different inks on the same piece of paper. Here's how it worked: after making a drawing of an activity that they were looking forward to doing over the summer holidays, students then traced some-but not all-of the elements in their drawing. They over-layed the tracing paper on their styrofoam plate, traced the image again, and in that way, incised the plate with the drawing. The plate was then inked with gold ink and then printed.
After washing and drying the plate, they traced the remaining elements in their drawing and incised the plate again. The second inking was done with an ink color of their choice and they made their second print on top of the first print, being careful to line up the edges of the plate. The effect is really neat and the students loved the results!
EE4 (pre-school), Kindergarten, and Grade 3 students finished off the school year with Ceramics projects.
EE4 students learned how to make simple pinch pots with terra-cotta clay. Then, by turning the pot on its side, it became the gaping open mouth of a monster. Students then used clay tools to cut and mold clay into monster features. By adding eyes, teeth, tongues, and other details, the effect was complete.
Kindergarten students combined both a pinch pot and a coil pot to make a terra-cotta owl. After rolling out long "snakes", students coiled them around the sides of an upside down plastic cup. When the got to the top, they added the pinch pot to form the top of the head. They then smoothed down the coils with their fingers, and added features such as the eyes, beaks, ears, etc. Using a pencil, they "drew" feathers on the clay owl and the owl was complete.
Unfortunately, the school kiln broke down before we could glaze the owls, so they've had to remain in the bisque fired stage, but the students loved them nonetheless!
Grade 3 students studied Ancient Greek Black Figure vases and noted that myths, stories, and everyday activities were represented on the vases. After creating a design of themselves participating in an everyday activity, students began work on their clay piece. Using a rolling pin, they rolled our their clay into a flat, even surface. Some students then chose to create bowls or vases, as was their choice, and then using a pencil, they incised the surface of the clay with their drawing. After the bisque firing, they then glazed as the Greeks did, using only black or white glaze. The students were thrilled with the results!
Primary and Secondary students enrolled in the After School Activity Animals Asia decided earlier this year to shift our focus from rescuing bears held in bear bile farms to working with a local cat and dog shelter named Animal Rescue and Care.
Yesterday ISHCMC students participated in a Field trip to Saigon Pet Clinic, a veterinary clinic and home to ARC. After talking with the resident vet, Dr. Nghia, students then learned proper dog handling techniques with dog trainer, Regina, and practiced their skills walking dogs ready for adoption.
Our Field Trip was in preparation for a Pet Adoption Drive, being held at school tomorrow, during which we hope to find homes for cats and dogs. Students are learning the importance of working and giving back to the community, proper care and responsibility of animals, and at least one student is being a genuine Risk-Taker by learning to confront her fear of dogs.
Kindergarten students are just finishing up a unit exploring wet-on-wet watercolor; a technique that creates effective looking skies.
After reading about the French artist Henri Rousseau, famous for his imaginary jungle paintings, as well as watching the Art with Mati and Dada episode on Rousseau, students practiced drawing the flora and fauna found in jungle habitats. They then drew their jungle, traced it with a permanent marker, erased the pencil lines, and colored everything except the sky with crayons.
To create the wet-on-wet watercolor effect, they "painted" clean water on their paper, and only then added the watercolor paint. The effect creates a beautiful sunset effect in their lush jungles. As we finished our work a little bit early, students also enjoyed comparing their jungles to the jungle scenes in the Walt Disney classic The Jungle Book.
Early Explorers explored the wonderful world of monsters this week!
We started by reading When A Monster is Born by Sean Taylor and Nick Sharratt and then learned how to turn a simple pinch pot into the gaping mouth of a monster using Play Dough. We practiced making eyes by rolling little balls, a long tongue by rolling a worm and then flattening it, and then used ceramic tools to cut out triangle shapes for teeth. After the break, we'll do this again with real clay and fire and glaze our very own monsters! Some of the children were so excited, they even made monster drawings!
Today was a special day for my youngest students! The two Early Explorer (pre-school) classes have Music and Art back-to-back on Fridays and today, my colleague Alicia and I collaborated on a project involving our student's parents.
Student Led Conferences, in which students demonstrate their learning to their parents, are two-fold in the Lower Primary Art Room.
During the last Art class before the Conferences, students are teamed with a partner for some role-playing. One partner pretends to be the parent and knows nothing about the art project and the other is the student who has to teach them the entire process. During this, students gain confidence, learn how to communicate an idea effectively, and embed their art understanding further.
During the Student Led Conference, students sit down with their parent and teach them an Art skill. The below photo shows Kindergarten students teaching their parents the Wet-on-Wet watercolor technique of painting. Having already made a project in Art class with this technique, and having practiced with a partner, they are confident of their learning and are able to communicate their ideas effectively.
After Grade 3 completed their more traditional portrait of a sitting model, we had some fun with portraiture. They read the book Getting to Know the Worlds Greatest Artists: Picasso by Mike Venezia, in which they learned about Cubism and saw examples of Cubist portraits.
Next, we designed our own version of the game Roll-A-Picasso, in which the features of a Cubist face are randomly chosen by the roll of a dice.
First, each of my four tables was assigned a facial feature (face shape, eye, nose, and mouth). Next each student drew 2 Cubist features for their table.
As there are 4-5 children on each table, each child had a drawing included on the Roll-A-Picasso chart. The Table Monitor then chose from the remaining drawings to get the necessary six (as there are six sides to a dice).
Each table put their six drawings on the Roll-A-Picasso chart.
Lastly, each student took turns rolling the dice four times. The first roll determined which face shape to draw, the second roll determined the eye shape, etc etc. Then they used the chart to compose their Cubist--now quite Surreal!--portrait!
Some works in progress....
The kids absolutely loved it! They loved the action involved, the game element to rolling the dice, and the surprise element, too.
I loved the collaborative aspect to the creative process, the kids taking ownership of designing their own games, and learning a new technique to encourage creative thinking.
This was my first time teaching this lesson and I think it's a great template for other lessons, especially with Lower Primary kids. Can't wait to use it again!
As part of a unit exploring different types of communities, Grade 1 students have almost finished making their own whole-class city.
Students started off by studying real maps and noting that the different colors on the map indicate different features in the city. They then created their own fantasy map, voted on their favorite, and drew their four favorites on a large roll of paper. All the cities had to be connected by roads and waterways, and after painting the giant map, the students designed buildings, cars, and people to populate their city.
These new cities are almost ready for display in the school library! Once they're been installed, I'll update the post new photos.
Grade 3 students practiced their observational skills in a recent portrait project. Last year, the students created a Self-Portrait. This year, after learning about the proportions of the human head and face, they drew a portrait of a classmate. They are still in the process of adding finishing touches using chalk pastels, and when completed, I will update the blog post.
I am fortunate enough to be part of the Positive Education Committee, here at school. This afternoon, we completed presenting a two-day Professional Development workshop, introducing the science and benefits of Positive Psychology-and how it can be used in an Educational environment, ie Positive Education- to our 120+ colleagues.
Positive Psychology is an area of research that studies the positive aspects of personality, as valued throughout history and various world cultures. Researchers, most notably Dr. Martin Seligman from UPenn, noticed that certain character traits were repeatedly valued over thousands of years of human development. Those 24 traits-or Strengths-were grouped into 6 Virtues: Wisdom, Courage, Humanity, Justice, Temperance, and Transcendence.
I was part of a team that explored Character Strengths with our colleagues at school. During the Workshop, we asked our colleagues to complete a 20 minute survey to identify their personal Character Strengths. It proved to be a very rewarding-and interesting-exercise. One colleague reflected that "it was nice to have my sense of self validated."
People were not shocked or terribly surprised about what they had learned; after they saw their results and thought about it for a bit, most people thought it was accurate.
So what did I learn by co-presenting this workshop? I learned that I really enjoyed sharing my understandings with my colleagues. I learned that, while presenting a workshop is a bit nerve-wracking, it was very rewarding and, in the end, fun. I learned that I love all forms of teaching-whether it be with children or adults. And really, none of this should be a surprise for me as "Love of Learning", "Kindness", and "Social Intelligence" were in my top ten!
I gave my Grade 3 students the opportunity this year to write their own Art Curriculum. In other words, they told me what they would like to learn and do; and the results have been amazing!
The above work was made by a boy who swore that he had never made his own transformer before. But using just cardboard and a few rubber bands, he made a car that refolded into an alien robot! All without drawing or planning in advance; he knew exactly how to create the vision he had in his mind.
As I tell my kids, I try to give them as much opportunity as possible to think for themselves; not mimic my thinking. It's always inspiring and exciting to see what kids will create when given the chance!
Grade 1 students learned that they can combine media into one artwork. In our first piece, student drew buildings, then painted them with watercolor paint, then printed the lines that they drew using found objects, like card board pieces and tubes.
Now that have mastered that skill, their applying it to a project of their own design.
Some students found it a bit challenging, as they couldn't just draw what they wanted; as the lines would get printed and they could basically only print straight lines. But they were able to plan ahead and think about images that would work best being drawn with straight lines. They created some beautiful, graphically bold images.
My school has incorporated practicing Mindfulness into the daily schedule twice a day. I quickly learned that a fun way to introduce being mindful was through Art. My students color mandalas, which they love. It's interesting to read this article, Tackling Mindfulness Through Creative Expression, on how Art and Mindfulness flow so well together.
On any given day, I have about 100 students passing through my classroom. As I teach about 250 students, that works out to be about 500 students a week. That's a lot. And assessing their growth has always been a challenge.
As a Specialist teacher, I work with the same children every year, so of course I see many changes over the years. I know my students very well-I've watched them grow up over the past 3 years, both physically, mentally, and artistically. But knowing those changes isn't enough; they have to be documented as well.
And that is the challenge that I'm experiencing. A wonderful colleague shared her method (photographed above) which has many benefits, not least of which is that it's very quick and portable. But of course, it needs to be digitized. I've asked other Specialist teachers in different schools what system they use, and basically they're all doing what I'm doing: assess on paper first, then scan and upload to the internet. Time consuming and not very efficient. If anyone knows of a better way, I'd love to hear what you do!
I've introduced this concept to my students many times: the Art of Failure. Many people assume that failure is a bad thing....but that is only the case if one doesn't learn from it. The idea of doing something over and over again-until it is right-is not always a comfortable thing for many young students.
Many believe that after they've made a self-portrait, that they are somehow 'done' with self-portraits. The ole "been-there-done-that" mindset (which drives me crazy!) I explain that Frida Kahlo and Vincent Van Gogh didn't just make one self-portrait; between the two, they've probably made hundreds! They don't all work-some were probably considered "failures" by the artists-but they were all worth doing. Because something could be learned by all of them.
This BBC Magazine article, How Creativity is Helped by Failure, is worth a read.
Art Educator with 10+ years of teaching experience in 4 countries, including International Baccalaureate and American curriculums. Unique skills and experiences include Art History Educator at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, museum exhibited Artist, manager of professional fine art/commercial studio, and workshop leader in Positive Education.