My students come from a poverty-stricken agricultural community.
Here, many of them struggle with English as a second language, group homes, and financial hardships that many of us cannot imagine.
They are faced with a world of can’t.
Despite their hurdles, all of my 4th graders come to school with smiles and are eager to learn. We spend our class budget on basic supplies that my students and their families are unable to provide.
We start our day with a class promise. This promise is to each other, as we work collaboratively in our shared learning environment. In our room we learn to take both academic and personal risks without fear of failure. Our focus is on a growth mindset. While we have paper and pencils I want my students to experience more. I want my students to have a safe place that they can call their own. Here not only are their needs met, but their learning flows through active engagement and limitless creativity. We end each day with our mantra "I deserve the education I get here. I was someone when I got here, and I leave a better person."
We have learned the elements of art but now it is time for them to become the artist. These materials will allow us to imbed the 4 C's of common core: critical thinking, collaboration, communication, and creativity. Creative minds and busy hands find new solutions to old problems. Art is so important and often overlooked in our assessment focused classrooms.
Learning about art is the first step, but becoming the artist and actually putting pastels to paper will allow them to bring true color to their education.
We will use the chalk pastels to study some of the art masters such as Van Gogh and Henry Matisse.
Not only will students get to sketch, and sculpt, they will also be able to partake in meaningful discussions, and most of all make learning fun and memorable. We will put our pieces on display and conduct a gallery walk in class.
I don't remember the textbook I learned from in school, but I do remember the rare occasion we had to create. We will use the clay, googly eyes, jewels, and to wooden dolls to create sculptures from our reader's theater and social studies lessons. We will learn the science behind clay including greenware, stoneware, slip, and glaze. We will use the air dry modeling clay to create sculptures of imaginative creatures and discuss the importance of animal adaptations.
These materials will allow us to integrate art into our S.T.E.M. (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) program. The practice of art is beneficial for all students whether gifted, those with special needs, students from second language homes, and students who do not see themselves as artistic. There is an artist in each of us. Help my students learn that value of creativity and expression by supporting our project.
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