Tuesday, November 18, 2008

I Always Like A Happy Ending

Yikes! What a start to the week I had, yesterday.

So…….. I arrived at Victoria School and began to bring in my art teaching supplies. I struggled thro’ a couple of sets of double doors and made my way to the office. I arrived at the perfect time to get set up, with time to spare to meet my first guest speaker that is helping me with this art program. The principal smiled and gave me a curious look and said, “Hi Jim! Aren’t you teaching here next week?”

D’oh!!! She brought out her calendar and sure enough… I felt like a complete idiot. I guess there is always a first time for everything!

When I finally got to Matthews Hall, my guest speaker had already arrived. We were getting ready for our presentation and I picked up my guitar to make sure that it was sounding okay. Two days ago, I had just put on a new set of strings, so the guitar needs to be checked often, during the first few weeks, while the strings tighten a bit. I didn’t realize that my guitar tuner was set incorrectly until the end of the process. Then the class arrived and I had no time to fix my problem.

I played my guitar a little more softly – cuz I knew it didn’t sound that good. After class the students asked me to play a song. I told them that my guitar was out of tune and they said that they didn’t care – and they didn’t – they were having a great time. Then my bottom ‘e’ string broke…

The students really made me feel at home and truly welcome. Even tho’ my day had a rough start, I can’t stop smiling because of all the other happy memories that the children brought into my heart.

+ + + +

The presentation began with me doing my ‘yak’ ‘yak’ for a little bit – getting the kids all excited!!! (I always laugh when I think of the teacher getting the kids to be silent – then she introduces me and the first thing I do is get the kids to laugh and make lots of noise as the express how happy they are feeling – so much for the silence!!!!LOL). Then I introduced my guest speaker.

Julie works for a local environmental organization called Reforest London (www.reforestlondon.ca). Julie knows lots of things about trees and she became excited about this art program, right away. We had talked a week ago – to get prepared – and this is what we did…

Julie engaged the students with questions and observations about forests. Twice, she gave me a little bit of an amazed look, because the students had known answers that she didn’t think they would. Heck – I didn’t even know the answer to one of the questions!
While Julie was doing this I began to draw some wiggling trees and branches on the blackboard. When she began to talk about the different types of trees found in this area, the students who answered correctly got a chance to draw leaves onto my trees.

Then there was talk about butterflies and badgers and beetles and soon the blackboard was filled with all sorts of ‘foresty’ things.

The students loved doing this – their final drawing was truly inspiring.

And then, the painting started…

I’m looking forward to spending the next two days working with these students some more. Today, I will be telling them about the colouring contest. I know that will make them very happy!!!!


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