Pen and Paper: Our Creative Arts MagazinePosted by Michelle Lamb
Pen & Paper is Unquowa’s creative arts magazine that is published at the end of each school year. It highlights student writing and artwork of various forms.
In 2009, two students asked to publish their writing for the school to read. With Ms. Lauer’s approval, a gathering of interested students in grades 7 and 8 came together to discuss what the important elements of this publication would be and to give it a title. They concluded that the magazine should be open to all forms of creativity and decided on the title Pen & Paper to convey the importance of the creative process in its most simplistic form.
Today, the magazine embraces the original mission of its founders while continually incorporating new ideas. The editorial, art, and publication staff meet weekly to actualize the magazine. The editorial staff focuses on writing their own work, selecting pieces for publication, and providing feedback for submissions. The art staff links writing to illustration, produces open choice art pieces, creates a unique font for the magazine, and works on the front and back covers. Finally, the publication staff codes writing and art submissions, making them anonymous, to keep the editorial staff objective during the reviewing process. They also organize and print submissions for review and advertise to the Upper School inviting them to submit their personal work. Lastly, the publication staff is charged with the final layout of the magazine.
We are off to great start with exciting writing and art that we can’t wait to share, and we look forward to creating a showcase of Unquowa talent!
All They Want To Do is DancePosted by Craig Knebel
Seventh graders have been studying the organelles or the “little organs” of plant and animal cells and have learned much about the function of each organelle and how complex a cell is. To illustrate both the function of organelles and how busy it is in the cell, students had to come up with a movement or dance to demonstrate their knowledge of a chosen organelle. Students worked together to keep the cell alive inside the membrane and danced!
A Day in Residence at The AldrichPosted by Krissy Ponden
The seventh and eighth graders recently spent a day in residence at The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum in Ridgefield, CT. The students participated in workshops led by our Progressive Education Lab fellows that explored a variety of concepts with the museum’s galleries as both inspiration and backdrop. The program is designed to allow classroom teachers the opportunity to teach either their normal curriculums or a special project directly related to the exhibits in the inspirational and unique environment of the museum. The PEL fellows crafted thoughtful and comprehensive workshops on topics ranging from poetry to science, design thinking and even math. Later the students came together to take part in a debate about what makes a work of art either “silly” or “serious,” backed by their observations of specific elements of art. Listening to the conversations the students engaged in made it clear that the day was a success both in terms of art appreciation and cross-curricular connections. We are looking forward to our next day in residence at The Aldrich in the spring!
For the BirdsPosted by Faith Barbuto
The kindergarten class has begun its year-long study of animal groups by learning more about birds. The other day our fifth grade science buddies helped us integrate art and technology into this unit by researching a type of bird and creating a diagram. Students were told they could choose any bird and use any way they wanted to represent it. A model diagram was created and students helped name the important parts of a bird. We were amazed at how beautiful and accurate the descriptions were. Students enthusiastically presented their diagrams along with some information about their bird of choice. Some groups even played audio of the bird’s song while presenting!
Celebrating Dia de los MuertosPosted by Krissy Ponden
In a collaborative effort between the Spanish and Visual Arts Departments, we worked together to celebrate Día de los Muertos or Day of the Dead. To unify us in our efforts, we decided to create an ofrenda (altar) to celebrate the life of Mexican artist, Frida Kahlo.
In Spanish class, eighth graders served as project managers for the design of the altar. They researched the essential components of an ofrenda, studied the seven different levels of the altar and thoughtfully helped to organize the various pieces. Additionally, they worked hard to make sure that the altar would be educational to the public. Similar to a museum exhibit, they recognized the importance of having information in both Spanish and English. Finally, they decided that it would be helpful to the public if they color-coded levels, symbols and pertinent information. As project managers, they paved the way for students in other grades to feel comfortable contributing to the altar. Fifth graders contributed captioned visuals of some of Frida’s most famous artwork, while seventh graders contributed captioned photos from Frida’s family life. Finally, sixth graders weighed in by adding their opinions on the life and work of Frida.
All of the happenings in Spanish class were enhanced through the visual arts. Seventh graders cut delicate papel picado banners out of tissue paper and created intricate and adorned nichos (shadow box-style shrines) to honor Frida. Fifth graders designed paper sugar skull masks, and PreK-3 decorated actual sugar skulls inspired by eighth grader Will’s complex designs. Many students helped make paper pom poms and flowers to add to the altar. Finally, at Upper School lunch students were treated to a sample of pan de muertos, or the bread of the dead, made by Chefs Dave and Henri and our resident junior chef, Aaron.
The collaborative building of this ofrenda has certainly helped our students to see that many hands make light work, but more importantly it helped them to appreciate how Día de los Muertos can be lively and festive, all the while honoring those that have passed. As for Mrs. Brenna and I, the building of the altar gave us the opportunity to reflect on our Oaxacan experiences this past summer and to infuse them into our teaching.
The Kindness Rocks ProjectPosted by Michelle Lamb
While taking in our last sunset on a long weekend away with my family in Cape Cod, I came across several rocks in the sand with writing on them and a piece of driftwood with the words, “The Kindness Rocks Project: Take 1, Leave 1, Start 1.” As I began to read the words on the rocks, the messages were both motivational and inspirational. I chose my favorite, “Life’s a journey, not a race,” and kept my rock in my pocket the rest of the evening.
This rock felt good to my heart. It’s amazing that something so small could evoke such an emotional response. How could I share The Kindness Rocks Project with others?
I immediately thought of Unquowa; a school with kindness embedded in its walls and its people. This would be the perfect project for my incoming fifth grade class.
Mrs. Faulkner was the best partner to have in sharing this experience with the fifth grade. After viewing the project’s website and understanding its purpose, the kids were immediately supportive and teeming with ideas to make this rock garden a place of kindness. We worked over a few weeks to gather supplies, create our space and rocks, and write a message to share with the community at assembly. There could not have been a better group of kids to work with.
The point of the project really hit home when today one of the fifth grade girls said to me in passing, “Mrs. Lamb, someone picked my rock!” with a look of complete satisfaction knowing that her message connected with someone.
Please feel free to share in this project with us. Visit our garden, choose a rock that feels right, and leave one to inspire others. There is no better place than Unquowa to spread seeds of kindness that will continue to grow much further than the boundaries of our school.