Monday, August 29, 2011

Joan Miro and Life Skills

These images are from some of the first projects I've taught this school year.  The first two images are from a Coat of Arms project I did with first and second graders.  The next three images are from a kindergarten project I taught about non-objective art and the painter Joan Miro.  I was so proud of the first and second graders for coming up with original ideas for their Coat of Arms and it was so satisfying watching how thrilled they were with the books I checked out from the public library about Knights.  I was also so excited to see the results of the Kindergarten non-objective project.  I had a lot of fun hearing the children tell me their feelings when they saw the power point I showed them about Joan Miro.  I love how you can see the Miro influence on their paintings but how they also made them their own.

Another thing that's been on my mind this week is the passing of my old swimming coach from Stephen's Lake, Greg Scott.  I was probably 12 or 13 years old the last time I saw Greg Scott, but I've been thinking this week about how he taught me a skill that I will carry with me for the rest of my life.  The reason I bring up this thought in my blog is because today I was working with a first grade student in our school who was recently adopted from China.  I am not sure of the situation she came from in China but she was not educated, possibly because of the fact that she has Cerebral Palsy.  Therefore, even though she is in the first grade, she is learning to write her name for the first time along with many other basic skills.  As she works on these skills, she is also learning English.  What a brave and joyful girl she is!  Today in art class, she was working on her Coat of Arms.  She finished coloring her design and it was time for her to cut out her Coat of Arms.  As soon as she picked up scissors, it was evident that she had never used them before.  I took a little bit of time and showed her how to hold the scissors.  We worked together to cut out as much as she was able and I helped her with the rest.  She was completely enamored with cutting!  After she finished her project, she spent the last 15 minutes of class using the scissors to cut her paper scraps into smaller and smaller pieces.  As I watched her work, I was thinking about the value of this skill.  I was thinking about how powerful it is to witness a child learn a skill that they will use for the rest of their life.  I was thinking about how thankful I am to Greg Scott for teaching me how to swim; a skill I will use many more times for the rest of my life.

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