After many years of use by hundreds of students, the art room stools were getting covered in random splotches of paint. Rather than continue this arbitrary application of color, eighth graders began painting them in the style of famous works of art. As younger students walked into the art room for class, their faces lit up as they noticed the chairs, some easily recognizable like the Mona Lisa, and others portraying up-and-coming artists they were just now learning about like the graffiti artist, Crash. By the end of the year we hope to have all the stools covered to provide students with a smile as they enter the room and a learning opportunity to become familiar with a small selection of important works of art history.
The Unquowa School Upper School Chorus performed the song I Have a Voice at last week’s assembly. When I first played this song for the chorus, they were immediately drawn to the simple and powerful melody and lyrics. We knew we had to perform this song. Since there is no written sheet music for the song, we had to listen to the recording many times to figure out the chord structure, melodies and harmonies. We also talked greatly about how this song has such a powerful message in such simple words. The song speaks for itself. We all have a voice. Each and every one of us. Please enjoy this wonderful piece of music!
Today the PreK-3 students and 8th graders came together for a special music class. We started the class with eighth grade students reading the book, My Many Colored Days by Dr. Seuss, to the younger students. The three-year-olds loved how the 8th graders made the book interesting with their dramatic reading! After reading the book, the 8th graders prompted the PreK-3 students with questions about colors and feelings. “How do you think the author of the book was feeling when he had a brown day?” “How was he feeling when his day was orange?” The 8th graders shared their color feelings with the class as well. Then we listened to four different pieces of music. Some were upbeat and energetic, and some were quiet and slow. The 8th graders worked alongside the PreK-3 students to choose colors and shapes to show how they felt while listening to the music. It was a wonderful way for the students to reflect on how music can make you feel so many different ways!
The Marshmallow Challenge is our introduction to the design process, laying the groundwork for a future humanities design project. This timed challenge requires small groups to work together to create the tallest, freestanding structure capable of holding a marshmallow on top, using the frailest of materials – 20 pieces of spaghetti, a yard of tape, and yarn.
Groups who were successful did not wait until the last minute to put their marshmallow on the top; rather they endeavored early on to create a working prototype before working through several iterations of design. The concept of iterative design will be essential in their next redesign task. Students are encouraged to integrate form and function in their design thinking to bridge learning in our humanities curriculum.
“I understand that in order to take full advantage of my time in Spanish class, I am expected to maintain the spirit of The Language Pledge…My constant use of Spanish is a symbol of my commitment…My continued use of Spanish will increase my confidence and my ability…It will also create an atmosphere where my classmates and I can work together to achieve our goals as a cohesive group.” Here I share with you excerpts from the recently agreed upon Eighth Grade Language Pledge. In an attempt to come together as a class and to better prepare ourselves for Spanish beyond the confines of the classroom, we decided that this was the next step we needed to take together. Hesitant at first to ONLY use Spanish, we dedicated some class time to discussing our worries, fears and expectations for ourselves and each other. Fast forward, and we are closing in on our first month of maintaining The Pledge. Our worries and fears have lessened, but our expectations continue to evolve. I couldn’t be prouder of this group of students for embracing this new challenge. Check out some of the physical symbols that the students crafted to remind them of their commitment.
Batik techniques have been practiced in Indonesia for over a thousand years, and today it is not only a way to decorate fabric for clothing and sarongs, but also a legitimate artistic medium. Traditional Balinese batiking involves hot melted wax, which protects cloth fibers from colored dyes. The wax is applied with either a tjap (pronounced “chop”), an intricate metal stamp or a tjanting needle for delicate handwork. After looking at images of Balinese art for inspiration, the eighth graders created their own designs to wax and transferred them in pencil onto fabric. The students alternated between applying layers of wax with tjanting needles and their own handmade tjaps. They painted with dye until their design was complete and then ironed off the wax to reveal the stunning images.