Friday, September 26, 2008

My Home - continues

I taught the second of three classes, yesterday afternoon, at the Montessori House of Children… and what a great experience that was!

One thing that I always stress with my students is, understanding the importance of the art that we are creating. This art project is entitled ‘My Home’ and so the students are taught different ways to put thoughts about ‘home’ into their brain to think about as they work on their art. If an artist does not know anything about the subject that they are creating, how can the finished product have any value?

Last week the topic of ‘home’ was introduced in a discussion format. I would ask a question about a topic and the students would share their thoughts on the subject. Afterwards I explained to the students that, “I have not taught you anything about this subject that you didn’t already know. This discussion was simply a tool to collect and gather the information that you do already know, into focus… a gathering of thoughts focussed on one theme.”

This week, I began the class with similar ideas but a different approach. Simply, I sang them a song that I wrote earlier this spring, ‘The Bricks Of Love’.

I performed this song for them for two reasons: 1) Simply to get their minds focussed on the theme of ‘home’ and 2) To show that ‘art’ can be created in many different ways. Art can be a visual rendering, a literal expression (like writing a poem) or the creation of a feeling using music as a tool to paint images in the listeners mind.

After this introduction to today’s class, the students spent the rest of the afternoon finalizing their sketches and drawing their images onto the canvas.

Next week we will see the completed canvas. It’s going to be amazing… so far the students have really shown that they have a great imagination and I have full confidence in their ability!

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If I am teaching a class that is longer than one day, I often create homework assignments to keep the students thinking about their art project, outside of the classroom. Last week I handed out a few different kinds of homework assignments and I will share one of them with you now:

My Home
Where I Live, Laugh and Learn

Homework Assignment #1B

Have you ever noticed how fortunate we are, living in Canada? Most people have a place to live and food to eat. There are some people that are not so fortunate. There is a village in a country across the ocean that is used to dump garbage sent on boats from North America. The people that live there dig through this garbage to look for food and clothes. They live in wooden or metal huts and they are very poor and very sick.

Discover a place where people are not as fortunate as you and me. Share what you have learned. Express how you feel about this discovery. Do you think that it is possible to create an environment where people can live healthier lives – how?

This is the answer that one of the students gave me:

One of the many places where people are less fortunate than we are is Africa. Africa is the world's poorest and second most populated continent. Daily, people die and suffer from diseases, starvation and poverty. It makes me sad that people are dying in other parts of the world because they don’t have basic necessities of life like we have here and take for granted.

One of the main problems in Africa is that they don’t have clean and safe drinking water like we do here. The continent is sadly lacking drinkable water.

Another really big issue in Africa is AIDS. Approximately 3,000 people a day die from this disease and 11,000 are infected. This number is so high because the vaccine for AIDS is too expensive for African’s to afford. Malaria is also a common illness that spreads through different parts of Africa. Malaria is usually in some way associated with poverty. The malaria parasites are transmitted by female mosquitoes.

Yes, I think that it is possible for us to create an environment for less fortunate people. It would be really great if we could create an environment where people could feel safe and happy. In a way we are already helping people by donating our artwork to the “Habitat For Humanity”. I think that every little thing we do to try to help others in need is a really good thing to do.

Wow! How very insightful and thoughtful.

If these are the thoughts of the world’s next leaders then I have full confidence that they will be able to tackle the many issues facing our global society.


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