Sometimes an opportunity comes our way that we just can’t resist. This seems to happen a lot at IAA lately as we become more and more known for learning through the arts.
Last week our fourth and fifth graders were able to join an art installation in progress at St. Michael’s College. We paired up with St. Mike’s Education students, and assisted artist Thea Alvin as she created an enormous stone archway on the campus grounds. Thea Alvin is a stone mason who has been working with rocks for over 30 years. Her work reminds one of the much loved work of the famous artist, Andy Goldsworthy. Our students learned a bit about the physics involved in this kind of sculpture and then worked in teams to create their own small stone arch. See the snapshot page for visual details. Students also took advantage of the word garden and wrote some fun and lively stone art sentences.
We’ve recently begun a new integrated arts unit in kindergarten with Burlington City Arts resident artist, Kim Desjardins. Kim has worked with Ms. Emily and Ms. Maggie to design an integrated unit combining science and visual art. Students are exploring the difference between living and non-living things. Most kindergartners can almost always tell you what things are living and what things are non-living, but they cannot always tell you why. Discussion questions like the ones below will begin the science unit.
How can you tell if something is living or non-living?
What are some things that all living things have in common?
All living things must get energy from their environment, show movement, breathe, remove waste, grow, react to the environment, and reproduce. Lucky kindergartners will have an opportunity to show what they know through this exciting media, clay. Alongside the science curriculum, students will be simultaneously exploring ways to work with clay. Creating slabs, rolling balls, and making coils are beginning techniques for clay work. Students will be using these new techniques as they create tiles that depict their understanding of both living and non-living things. This beautiful integration of the curricular areas is what it’s all about at IAA.
Third graders have been actively exploring slavery, segregation, and civil rights through drama. Students have taken time to think about character traits, life experiences, and issues that slaves would have encountered in the 1800’s. Last week Harriet Tubman (Ms. Joan) visited the third grade team and helped them make decisions about running away to freedom on the Underground Railroad. Students used their voice (volume and tone) to deliver a piece of dialogue. While engaged in a tableaux, students decided what a slave may have said during that period of history. This week students will travel 100 years forward through history to explore famous historical figures such as, Jackie Robinson, Martin Luther King JR., and Rosa Parks, and how they were affected by the Jim Crow Laws. For acting skills the students are focused on using their voice to show different tones and volumes to express emotions. They are also working on freezing a statue or image and holding it, detailed pantomimes, and finally they are working on presenting lines of dialogue that deepen their character.
In social studies they are working on remembering time periods, making emotional connections to history, and knowing important historical figures form each time era. Linking these two learning goals together helps strengthen both subjects and the engagement seen in students is empowering and impressive. Many third graders have even requested extended co-teaching blocks with Joan right now so they can keep their stories going. Here are some photographs of their presentation to families and friends last Friday.
IAA Kindergartners have been very busy exploring the art of Alexander Calder. Visual Thinking Strategies, geometry and color have been the focus of their exploration. Working both in two-dimensions and three, students created paintings as well as stabiles. You should ask them to share their new knowledge with you. They have been remarkably curious and attentive and have so much to share about Alexander Calder’s work. Here are some examples from their classroom.
IAA teachers in the news! Click on the link below to see the latest article in the Burlington Free Press.
Words Come Alive! Has IAA Teachers Learning Hip-Hop Steps