I teach K-5 art to 95% African American students, in an elementary school in Violet ,La. Most of our students are on free or reduced lunch. Many students have experienced some form of trauma: through family conflicts, single moms, dads, divorce, drugs, deaths, imprisonment and general family mayhem.
Despite all these factors I have seen tremendous resilience from my students.
The result of trauma and home life disruption is often poor nutrition, improper intellectual stimulation and slowed social skills. All of these behavioral and physical issues have a profound effect on learning. As the art teacher for the last ten years, my classroom has become their "Safe Place." I teach life skills through yoga, meditation, art and creative choice play.
Our school is located about 25 minutes from New Orleans, La. This entire area flooded from Hurricane Katrina. Our school faces the Mississippi river. My school is built on Katrina rubble from the previous school, it sits on 5 acres surrounded by marshy woods, a respite from the city.
Independent learning is a very important time in my classroom.I am the school art teacher. After the routine agenda of yoga, character education and the visual arts, I always try to find time in the hour for play time for the students. State testing takes its toll on the freedom to make believe.
The magical imaginative potential found in these magna tiles has captured the schools attention.
The students proudly present to me each new creation that they make.They are so popular we have to take turns playing with them, hence the need for yet another set!
The community people will be a welcome family amongst the lego constructions. Role models are a wonderful thing for my students. Many of the students come from broken and sad home lives. Making believe is a lovely escape from there realities.
My baby bottles will service the dolls already present, boys and girls alike nurture the dolls we have. It's a great opportunity to feel compassion and love towards a needy helpless life. Never to early to start teaching such love.
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