art and teaching


March 2015

Creative Expression

Today I introduced a mini project to my class – how cruel of me immediately returning from Spring Break!   However it seemed to be just what everyone needed go kick off the week and jump back into the swing of things!    I gave them a checklist with success criteria and off they went.  Their task?  Depict the life cycle of a star.   Many chose to do average sized stars like our sun but also wanted to show what happens to larger stars – mostly I think for the challenge of visually depicting a black hole might bring!   (Hello negative space lesson).   So many students went the traditional poster, marker route which they love and I have no issue with.   Many however took time to look around my well-stocked classroom and came up with some unique ideas.

– cutting Styrofoam balls in half to glue down to cardboard
– chalk pastels on black paper (a beautiful way to make nebulas)
– one student pulled out the flour and found a non-cook play dough recipe so he could model the shapes of stars and nebula
– with the help of an Ed assistant, one of my autistic students made a large painting, found some round stamps to make stars, and then used black, blue and yellow paint to splatter and create a cool looking universe

Although it was loud and messy everyone was deep in their own work and ideas and created dialogue with each other to provide techniques or advice to each other..  It truly was a collaborative and creative work period.   Look forward to some more in progress shots and the final products!




Field Trip Frenzy

So due to some scheduling issues (aka – my disorganized brain) I thought it would be okay to go on two separate field trips two days in a row this week.   Yesterday, our class went to the Rothney Astrophysical Observatory, and today the City of Calgary Safety Expo at City Hall.    Both experiences were very rewarding and educational for the students.   However, after today, day 2 of the field trips was the equivalent of a two year old tantrum.   The students were exhausted and coming down off a two day high of excitement and new experiences.   There were tears, tantrums, mental breakdowns (and that was just from their teacher.. haha jk).     What better way to learn a lesson than to experience it first hand.

Note to future teaching self, try to put at least a day between separate field trips so the students don’t get over stimulated and then come crashing down on that over-stimulated roller coaster only to result in said teacher having to help with the issues of kids just too tired to cope or problem solve on their own.     Live and learn!

With that being said, here are some wicked pictures of our two awesome days.

The Observatory was fantastic, we got to build our own telescopes, then go test them out in the foothills –  many cows were spied on.   We also got to explore all the different telescopes, mostly optical, one radio.    We discussed the potential of life as we know it on another planet in another galaxy, and even got to view the sun through a special telescope with UV filters to protect our eyes!

Gazing at the cows in the foothills
Gazing at the cows in the foothills
Using a special telescope with UV filters to view the sun!
One of the Observatory’s optical telescopes!

Today was the Safety Expo, where I coincidentally also ran into my very own 6th grade teacher 🙂 My students sure were weirded out by this time warp!    We got some time to view and interact with the various exhibits, I was thrilled to hear all of the intriguing questions they had for various agencies in Calgary.   We then had a session about Electrical Safety which was very interactive and engaging.  We then had lunch in Olympic Plaza, the kids loved the fresh air and opportunity for some running around – I don’t think downtown knew what hit’em.   My students were “parkouring” all over the place trying to see what they could climb and jump off.    Many of the adults nearby were fascinated with the newly vibrant plaza filled with hundreds of excited youth.    Finally, we went to see a session about Internet Safety.  My class seems to be experts on the subject, as we did cover this in Health at the beginning of the year.  I was so happy to see them participating with the Youth Link presenters with their knowledge on privacy settings, and cyberbullying.   We had a great time being in downtown Calgary.

learning about how hard it is to drive while being distracted!
learning about how hard it is to drive while being distracted!
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parkour! But being respectful of the young saplings – thanks to our Trees and Forests Unit 🙂
canines were the center of attention at the expo!

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