Monday, 29 January 2018

2018 Here We Come!

As a lover of art I went to see the Banksy art exhibition in Auckland. It was amazing and I got so many new and inspiring ideas to take back into my classroom. But one of them really stood out. It's one that any student of any age can understand and I am going to make it one of my great quotes this year.

Sunday, 8 October 2017

Art Creates Equality

Over the holidays I have been putting my students art on their blogs for them. As I was doing this it dawned on me that the art I was looking at was so special and different for every student. I also recognised there was no right or wrong in their art. How can you judge a child's art? What makes one painting better than the other?

The art below is inspired by either sunrise or sunset on the ocean. The children used crayon and dye to create their paintings.We looked at many designs and I modelled a few for the children. The first is from a student who is sitting well above in all curriculum areas.

The next is from a student who is struggling in all academic areas....apart from art!

The next is from a student who is right where they should be according to National Standards. 

When I look at these paintings there is no top, middle and bottom. There is just beauty. This is why I firmly believe that artistic expression is so important for students. It lays the very foundation of creativity, to allow children to think outside the proverbial box.

If children have practice thinking creatively now, it will come naturally to them in their future careers. For young children drawing, painting or sculpting in class helps develop visual-spatial skills. I have seen it bring out perseverance in some students who were challenged and frustrated but I would not let them give up. Funnily enough I noticed the students who find the core curriculum subjects the easiest, were the ones who got the most frustrated. These students had their confidence tested, whilst the students who struggle daily with Reading or Writing managed to cope more calmly with the art assignment. I loved seeing their confidence shine through. The smiles on their faces. The look of pure joy when it came time to share their art and talk about it.

I understand that the art my Year 3 students are doing is modelled by myself first, so there are similarities that cannot be ignored. However, every student always manages to bring their own uniqueness to their work. Watching my students focus, some with tongues slipping out of their mouths, made me smile. To be able to focus is vital for learning in class as well as doing a job later in life.

As we do art in class I often play classical music. At first I got laughter and giggles from my students, as they tend to like rap and hip hop. But after awhile the music took over and a sense of calmness would wash over the classroom. I would explain that the music they are listening to is art in their ears. This would bring many laughs, but one day I hope my students look back with fondness on their time spent in my classroom and remember all the artistic expression I tried to introduce to them.

Sunday, 1 October 2017

Art Incorporating Math

For the last week of school I wanted to do an intense push on art. Recently my class had explored creating art with pastels and crayons and dyes. I wanted to give them a chance to have a choice of the next medium we used.

So first thing in the morning we sat down and talked about what materials they had enjoyed using. Everyone liked the look of the pastels but all agreed they were very messy and were easily smudged. Crayon and dye was a favourite, but it became clear they all wanted to get the paints out.

They separated into groups to talk about what they would like to paint. It became clear that they needed guidance. The last time I let them have free choice completely with what they painted, they all drew these tiny figures with their pencil and then were unable to paint such small details. I had sat back and watched to see who would figure out they needed to draw bigger more simplified designs, maybe 3 children grasped the concept and changed their painting.  The rest of them were disappointed with their end result, opting to throw them in the rubbish bin instead of taking them home.

As we were looking at images on google, I reminded them that sometimes the simple images can be the most effective. We came across some simple black and white paintings children had done. Everyone liked them, so we had our plan.

Each student got a choice of a design and I printed out one A4 size for each. To make sure they got the size in proportion with their paper I decided to incorporate some Math. We got a ruler and a pencil and divided out paper into quarters.

This bought up aspects of math. First they had to correctly use the ruler to find the half way points across the page and down the page. This bought up conversation surrounding halves, doubles and quarters. It was great to see the students who are working in Stage 4 and Early Stage 5 helping out the other students. They then used the same strategy to divide their size A3 paper into quarters.

Using their pencils they had to use the space in each quarter to draw the image they had chosen. Of course there was the usual,,,,"I can't do this" "This is too hard" Some students rubbed out their drawing 3 or 4 times before they understood the concept of spatial awareness. Using words like on, off, under, over, up, down.

Having the paper cut into quarters allowed them to have a realistic view of how big their image had to be and to get the proportions right.

This art project took a few hours from start to finish. I think the best part was seeing the pride on their faces looking at the end result. I have to admit I did join each student towards the end and show them how to tidy up the outlines using a small brush.  The art was simple and best of all it was achievable to every student.

Sunday, 24 September 2017

Maori Legends - Animations . Recounts

Just think of the smiles on your kids’ faces when you read them a great story, or how their eyes light up when you show them tiny plants buds just peeking through the soil.  The great thing about teaching young children is that they have an innate desire to know more about the world.  Sadly, this innate love of learning is often squelched by the time kids hit elementary school, crushed by ineffective academic standards and incorrectly implied curriculum that take the delight out of learning.
But it doesn’t have to be this way!   As a teacher, you can make a big impact on your students’ future love of learning by simply allowing them to learn in a way that’s not only educational but also fun.
As I continue to inquire into how art helps help my students learn, I am becoming increasingly optimistic that there is a link between learning and art. 
Last week I had my students create a piece of Maori art to celebrate Maori Language week. Their art was inspired by NZ's native bush. This was done to inspire their writing. I set the children up to write their Maori legend by first reading them many Maori myths and legends prior to doing their art. I also set up links on their i-pads where they could go and listen to short Maori legends. Some were in English however some were also in Maori. This did not bother the children, they were silent as they all sat on their i-pads with their headphones on listening intently.
My goal was for them
-  to create a cool Maori legend themselves with a message behind it.
- animate their story on their i-pads
- write a recount on the whole process
The children were excited and ready to go. I felt I had set them up properly with all the tools needed. Needless to say I was so proud of each and every student. Even my children who have difficulty with writing were eager to get going.

I have taken the work from their blog so the story's are just how they blogged them errors and all.
The work below is from one of students who excels in writing. She is also reading above the National Standard at Level 30

Mere and the Pukeko
Once upon a time there was a Maori girl called mere and she lived behind a secret beautiful bush.
In their bush it was full of Kowhai's with beautiful yellow flowers and big rata's. one lovely afternoon when mere was fast asleep, a pukeko flew down and the pukeko saw a beautiful shiny necklace and grabbed it and flew away. Then Mere woke up and got upset because it belonged to her great grandmother, so mere goes to God of the sky Ranginui to ask for help.

Mere explained to Ranginui the promblem so Ranginui called out "pukeko please give the necklace back to mere how would you feel if someone stole something of yours" pukeko felt bad so the next night pukeko sneeked and slowly put it back, The next morning Mere found the neacklace she was so glad.

Finally mere and her family celebrated with a beautiful big yummy feast and said a karakia to Ranginui for helping them.


Last week at school room 15 designed Maori art around flora and flora.

First I got my sharp pencil and drew my design. Secondly I got some greens browns and black pastels and coloured in my drawings. Lastly I got a big piece of black paper and stuck my art on the paper and got some shiny green glitter and decorated my art.

Next I wrote a Maori legend about mere and a pukeko. Finally I went on google and searched for some native NZ bush scenes next I drew my characters and animated my story.

Last week at school room 15 designed Maori art around the native bush.

First we got a pencil and we design our beautiful Maori art. Secondly we chosed dark and light green - brown- blue pastels and colour in our drawing. Lastly we stuck our outstanding Maori art on the black pieces of paper and we put green glitter on our art. 

Next I wrote my own Maori legend and it was about Pania and the Taniwha. Finally I went online and down load some native NZ bush pictures and I drew my characters and animated my story.

Last week at school room 15 made Maori art around the native nz bush.

First I got pencil and draw my debasisgn.

Secohdiy I got some green brown and blue pastels and coloured in my designed.

Lastly i got some black paper and stuck my art on.

Next I wrote a Maori legend and then I animated.

The last example is from a student who is reading at level 22. He can write independently.

Maui and Kiwi
Once upon a time there lived a cool boy called Maui and his friend kiwi. They lived in a nz Bausch with yellow flowers and red flowers and it was so beautiful.

One  beautiful day Maui and his kiwi got up and jamped into their amazing waka.they set off to their fishing to their secret Island.

First Maui said to his kiwi run"for your life" Then Maui got his hook  and killed the Taniwha.

Finally Maui and  kiwi got in their waka and went fishing. Then they they got home and ate the fish with they family and told them all about their adventure with the Taniwha.

Last week at school Room15 designed cool Maori art around the native NZ bush.

First we got a pencil and designed my beautiful colours and it was green brown and blue and coloured my art in and ms Eaid gave us a black paper and and stuck my picture on After that I decorated my art with green glitter.

 Next I wrote a Maori Lagend about Maui and kiwi and I went on google to get my back gound and I drew my characters then I animated my story.

Friday, 15 September 2017

How art can inspire creative writing.

Last year I really wanted to try and improve the writing quality of my students.

So in week 1 Term 1, as we were all getting to know each other I asked them what they would like to create on one large wall in our classroom. I explained it had to be something we all agreed on as this was going to be their focus for their writing for Term 1. I spilt them off into groups to discuss it. Later we all gathered on the mat and each group got to share what they felt would be the best. After much deliberation we had it. The Magical Kingdom Of Boondagilay

IMG_0572 (1) from Team 1 PES on Vimeo.

I wasn't sure at the time how much success we would have, but the only way to improve is to take risks and try new things.

I was really excited by the children's ownership of the mural and to top it off their writing was exciting. There was so much going on in the mural that their imaginations could take holding back. It was a positive outcome and their writing did improve. They had something to write about right in front of them.

I believe when kids are encouraged to express themselves and take risks in creating art they develop a sense of innovation that will be important in their adult lives. The society we live in today needs people who are forward thinking, inventive people who seek new ways to make improvements, not people who can only follow others directions. Art is one way to encourage this process.

So moving forward......

I was fortunate to stay with my same class and move with them into Year 3. Once again writing has seemed to be the biggest problem. Because my children are not surrounded by literacy in their homes they struggle to come up with new ideas. I downloaded onto their i-pads many fun, short children's stories. I read them a sophisticated picture book after lunch each day where we spent 10 minutes after reading it, discussing the characters, the setting, the beginning, middle and end of the story. We also discuss the plot, the adventure that took place, the problem in the story, the solution.

I felt I was giving them so many tools to go off and write some descriptive, amazing, and interesting narratives. Some children did and they really took off. But majority still struggled to come up with a plan or even anything to write about.

So I asked them if they would like to make another mural. They all agreed and we started to make a mural of our own made up universe. Our Inquiry for Term 3 is about space so we wanted to keep the theme running. The Universe of Zola was created with different aliens, evil queens, rockets with the children's faces on them flying around, the Moggy Moon where the Flat Foots lived. You name it we had it. Beside that we created the real Solar System beside it.
Once again writing in my class improved. The children had ownership of what they had created, they were proud of it and wanted to write some cool stories and share them with their friends.

Studies show that there is a correlation between art and other achievement. A report by the Americans For Arts, states that young people who participate regularly in the arts, are four times more likely to be recognised with academic achievement, to participate in either science or math fairs/shows or win awards for writing essays, poems, or speeches than children who do not participate.

But I still wanted to explore more with the arts and how it can benefit my students.

As it was Maori Language week we sat down as a class and looked at some Maori designs. We all decided we wanted to move away from the traditional red, black and white designs and focus more on the earth (the flora and fauna) of NZ. Below are just a few examples.
Next week I hope to introduce my students to a range of Maori myths and legends. Discuss as a class the messages behind each legend. I want them to use their art as inspiration to write their own Maori legend, pulling in all their knowledge they have learnt in Te Reo classes, their own life experiences, and some great imagination.

Following this writing exercise, we will be looking at writing a Recount on the experience of creating their art. You could also explore Instructional writing. Each format of writing requires different language, formats and outcomes.

So one piece of art work set up properly can inspire many visions.

Dr Kerry Freedman, Head of Art and Design Education at Northern Illinois University believes that children need to know more about the world than just what they can learn through text and numbers. Art Education, teaches students how to interpret, criticize and use visual information, and how to make choices based on it. Knowledge about the visual arts, such as graphic symbolism is especially important in helping students become smart consumers and navigate a world filled with marketing logos.

I am excited to see how this plan of using art to inspire writing will go.

Next week  I hope to be posting some examples of the students Maori legends.

Sunday, 30 April 2017

End of Term Summary

So this term my focus has been to engage my students with learning Number Knowledge. There is no really easy or exciting way apart from rote learning to do this so I found myself in a tricky situation. I knew that many of my boys would not be able to sit still for long enough to get anything out of rote learning.

 I thought about all the knowledge my students would need to know so they could easily transition into Early Stage 5.

Once I had made up a list of information I had to teach my kids I decided to make it as interactive as I could. My Team leader came in to film some snapshots of this learning.

I have been really pleased with the results and will continue to do this all year as a warm up before we split off into our small math groups.