Friday, October 3, 2008

Teacher Learns

Whenever I have completed an art workshop, I always spend time reflecting on the experience. Since I’m rather ‘new’ at teaching, it is important for me to learn from these experiences so that I can improve my teaching methods for future classes. The last three Thursday afternoons at Montessori School have given my lots to think about. I’m extremely happy with the results that were achieved and I am confident that my next few workshops will be even better than this first class.

Yesterday’s class began with a quick review of the student’s homework assignments. The students were asked to complete a poem about ‘My Home’. Since these students are in the senior elementary grades, I challenged them a bit more than my younger students by increasing the level of their thoughts on this subject. This following poem was created by input from all seven students from this class:

My Home

M orning sunrise is an amazing thing
Y ellow is the colour of the sun

H appiness is a choice
O ntario is where I live
M ountains are high and rocky
E verything is important for balance

I magining is wonderful
S unsets are beautiful

P eace is needed
L akes have fish
A ttention for the Earth
N ot many plants grow in the arctic
E arthworms aerate soil
T rees provide oxygen for all living things

E ggs taste good scrambled
A rt is meaningful
R ain is falling diamonds
T rees give shade on hot days
H omes are important for everyone

I really enjoyed reading all of the poems that were created. Each student used this exercise to explore so many different aspects of life on Earth – making references to mountains, rivers and sunsets – taking me on a journey to the arctic, to the top of a mountain, to the deserts and into the soil of the Earth. Many sentences shared an understanding about environmental issues and were very serious. It was nice to see a few sentences that shared the student’s sense of humour by stating how they liked their eggs cooked. Job well done! I am impressed.

Most of today’s art workshop focussed on the painting of the canvas. This was the last day of this three-day workshop so the painting had to be completed. So paint, paint, paint they did…

I was really impressed that – for the most part – the students were able to work together as a team to complete the canvas. This was very challenging because seven students were painting at the same time. This was a first for any workshop that I have ever put together – having that many paintbrushes going at the same time.

The students were very happy when my 3:00 pm visitor came to see the progress. Ben is an arts reporter for The Londoner – one of London’s community newspapers that comes out weekly. Ben shared some insights about art, as he is also a painter – in his spare time, and his experiences allowed him to recognize and truly appreciate the efforts of the students. He really liked the painting – a lot!!!

While I was being interviewed the students put the final brush strokes onto the canvas. Then we all gathered around for a series of group photographs. Ben wanted a chance to hear – first hand – how the students had enjoyed the class, so while cleanup was in progress two of the students sat with him and shared many stories.

This news article will be appearing in the paper near the end of November. Ben wants to share this story with the community and he mentioned that if the story was printed near the end of the entire workshop that he could also invite the community to come and see all the paintings at our ‘grand finale’.

Okay! Okay! I’ve been talking for way too long…. so now – without any further yik-yak – here is the first completed canvas…

‘Nuff Said!

Have a great weekend – I’ll look forward to sharing more stories about art with you in the near future!


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