06 March, 2014

A menagerie of a week

 I am learning so much, oh so much, in this job.  When I first started talking to my KG1 classes (4-5 year olds) about African art and patterns I realised that many of them couldn't do a zig zag.  If I'd thought about it, maybe I'd have got there, but seeing them in class trying to do one and making it look like a series of small "m"s really got me thinking.  So I went back to the drawing board.  I made a pattern template that they could trace.  I went over it again, talking about how a zig zag was like lots of big letters like M and W and N.  And this week, when they started decorating their headbands for attaching their masks, I saw the improvement from just a few weeks ago.  It makes me so happy!
 As do the "masks" that we are making.  I drew out  9 templates of different animals for them to colour. They got to choose.  I made sure they were familiar with the animals by showing them pictures of various African animals and giving them photos to draw from.  We watched a video of the "circle of life" from the stage show of the lion king and we talked about the decorations of masks.  They've spent a week or two colouring them (I find that in a 40 minute art lesson some will finish in 5 minutes, and some will want another 30), and then we've been decorating them using pipe cleaners and plastic raffia, paper strips and shredded paper.  I absolutely ADORE the results and can't wait to take photos of each and every child (all 200+ of them) in their masks!  Here's just a few.

 I totally left the placement of their decorations up to them.  They used glue for the pipe cleaners (which I also stapled to keep in place while the glue dried) and masking tape for things stuck on the back.  I found that it was manageable doing this with small groups at a time....mostly....although the first class I did I just had them come up as they finished (and had 15 standing around a table), the next classes I called them up when I was ready for them so I could manage it a bit better.

 I can't even begin to express how happy these "masks "make me.  Each and every one of them shows the personality of that child, and the kids are so invested in what they've been making.  I had a moment's panic when one of the classes showed me the dance they are doing with the song and it included bending over to touch toes and I could just imagine x number of masks ending up on the floor, but a quick email to the music teacher with the suggestion  from one of the kids to make them squat rather than bend did the trick.

And as for the mural this week; it's coming along great guns.  Ella tackled the Singapore tree shrew that I sketched out (and was painted into a grey blob like my monkeys) and did a fantastic job:

 We are slowly filling in this section and fixing some over zealous painting...stay tuned as one of the other art teachers and I are going to tackle it this weekend together.

Behind that window is a preschool and every week the kids look out the window and ask us what we are doing.
 This week the owner of the preschool came out and thanked us for what we are doing.  In a few weeks we are going to interview residents and people who use the facilities and we asked if we can interview some of the little kids and he was so supportive of that.
 And even though we don't have a large group of kids doing the CCA (Co Curricular Activity) this session, they are a great bunch of kids.
 And here's a few photos from last week that I stole off instagram, just because.

I feel so lucky and proud to be a part of this.


  1. I'm surprised Steve hasn't said this is good practice for painting our grey couches...


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