chinese lunar new year begins on friday! it is the grandest and most important festival for the chinese. it falls on sunset on the day of the second new moon following the winter solstice. this year it begins on the 31st and lasts until teng chieh, the lantern festival on the full moon a couple of weeks later. this is the year of the horse.
the upper grade students were asked to create posters to be hung in a chinatown store plaza. i printed some images off the internet, gathered the class around me and gave them a mini-lesson on how to draw, no tracing allowed. i showed them how to incorporate elements from all the different printed images then set them loose to design their posters anyway they wanted. for many of the students this was their first time using watercolor. thanks to the packrat that inhabited the class before me i found lots of supplies in the closets.
it's amazing what 5th graders can do! especially this particular group of 5th graders. i told them i had never in all my years of teaching taught a class to draw and had them be so successful with such little instruction. then i said in all seriousness, "of course those were 2nd graders, but still…" these students haven't done any art this school year, but it's obvious that they've received some kind of art instruction in the past even though most said, "i can't draw!" when we started.
after school there was a faculty meeting in the library. i gaped and gasped when i saw the giant dragon & lanterns. this school is a TITLE 1 school like my old one and most of the students live at or near the poverty level. you wouldn't know it from the school environment or test scores which are higher than the district's or state's.
i love this school and my class. so glad i landed here!
when my gig is up here i want a big rocker in a reading nook like the one above, a hotel maid's cleaning cart plus a box of labels and sharpies, and a big art room stocked with art supplies and 5th graders. reading, cleaning, categorizing, and making art with kids. that's what i want.