Friday, March 11, 2011

catching up with Grade 5

I have gotten to the point where I am going to need an external hard drive for all my photos, lessons plans, and power points. last weekend, while sick with my second case of strep throat(!), I had to completely rebuild my iphoto library after attempting to clean off my hard drive. it was not fun, and once the fatigue set in and I accepted that I was sick, it was the only productive thing I did for three days!
we have been super busy in room 15!
I am aiming to have an "Arts" day at the end of April. The Spring concert will be in the afternoon and I thought it would be great to open the school halls afterward, for parents and families to view all our hard work. --- there are many things we still need to get done! And I am feeling the crunch. (there is an entire week coming up when I will not see ANY of my morning classes due to standardized testing - I'm trying not to panic)

catching up with Grade 5
Fifth grade is my largest class... I can't complain about 26 students when I know public school teachers who deal will class sizes in the 30s. (I read someone on an email list had 40 kinders in one class!) However, when you do not have a budget and literally need to use folding chairs to fit all the kids at a table space, some days with 26 kids can feel like there was a herd of elephants in your room.

before we started the figure drawing lesson I posted about a few weeks ago, we spent a few weeks painting in the style of Canadian folk artist, Maud Lewis. we had spent about 6 weeks completing different Latin American themed folk art, so I thought I would wrap up the "unit" talking about another folk artist. much of the work we viewed when I introduced the lesson, were scenes of coast line and snow covered hills.... similar to how our neck of the woods can look like!

example of Maud Lewis
I first learned about Maud Lewis from a post on and since did some research on my own. Maud's story is pretty great. Once she started painting, later in life after receiving a gift of oil paints from her husband, she would go door to door with her husband, who would sell fish, and try selling her work. after being featured on a local tv station's show  (I told the kids that it would be something similar to our Chronicle) Maud became a more popular artist and had people asking her for paintings, up until she pasted away. one of the points I attempted to make with the students was how Maud overcame physical difficulties, having deformities after suffering polio as a child, to do something she really enjoyed. she enjoyed painting so much that she painted anything she could find in her 12'x 12' home!

student work

I feel like folk art is really approachable for upper elementary students. Grade five in particular starts to feel like whatever they create has to be "perfect" and get caught up in things needing to look "real." and its a natural progression. so introducing folk art -art made by people who have been taught by passing down a skill, or who are self taught with little or no "formal training"- lets students loosen up a bit and have fun painting.

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