Always happy to #collaborate with fellow teachers to integrate art in their lessons. G3s we’re exploring the elements of fairytales during library and we came up with this project. We both dedicated time and readjusted a few schedules. Students and teachers were so excited to work on this during their library time.
A few years ago Grade 1 students were inquiring about communities in their UOI. I snapped a few photos of them creating these cardboard buildings of our community here in Qatar. It was such a great lesson. You can really learn a lot about them as you listen to them chat with each other. They mostly talked about all the hotels and tall buildings there are in Qatar and then some would talk about the hospitals and police stations, etc. After all the buildings were created we turned them into a relief wall hanging.
Grade 3 students explored color theory with watercolor painting. I wanted students to work on mixing colors instead of just using the colors straight from the palette. Previously I have had students use oil pastels to create the barriers that would prevent colors from mixing and turning into a puddle of brown muddy colors. This year I decided that if I had them practice and focus on controlling the amount of water and use Analogous colors then we could eliminate a step and then develop more skills in regards to creating texture and leaning about color mixing.
I think that students were more successful in building their knowledge in color theory but I want to work with them more on drawing bigger so that they have more space to mix the colors. Some of their drawings were so small that they didn’t have the space to work with mixing colors.
Take aways from last weekends iSTEMed conference in Doha…
From Cesar Harada, “Imagination is the most precious stuff the children have.” Many of the conversations and workshops focused on stimulating students creativity through empathy.
At the conference I attended a workshop with Suzanne Presinal and we were challenged with creating a playground for animals. We first brainstormed different animals we were interested in and then once the group decided on an animal we began to create the playground from paper and recycle bits. As we were building the playground we began to think about what the characteristics of our animal, a meerkat, were and what they would like best. Our playground eventually included a widescreen TV that would play videos of meerkats, because meerkats like to mimic each other as well as hammocks and slides and places for them to climb. Everyone was in charge of different areas and we worked as a team to build a playground that meerkats would enjoy.
There were other workshops that I attended that gave some useful information but the overarching theme from all of them was to begin with empathy to engage the children. I will definitely be paying more attention to appealing to the students empathy side in the future when asking them to design.
At the end of my second week at Qatar Academy, I am exhausted both mentally and physically but very happy. This being the first year of arts integration for Qatar Academy my colleague, Laura, and I are working to educate both teachers and students to take charge of their arts education. While this may be scary for some, others are jumping in with both feet. Listening to the students and staff about their needs and how we, as educators, can release ourselves and students from the confines of scheduled time tables and creatively weave subjects in and out of each other requires a lot of time, practice and faith. I am certain that things will fall in place as time goes on. Other exciting developments within our program are the collaborative projects with MIA and Mathaf; both programmes focusing on increasing student opportunities to participate in museum practice and arts production through real world applications.
As the end of the year comes to a close and I’m packing up my classroom I look back on my seven years as the art teacher at Hanahan Middle School and smile. I have met some wonderful friends and coworkers who I love dearly. I have learned from my students and I appreciate all they have shared with me. I love the teacher that I have become and as I set off on my new adventure in international education I feel prepared for the next step. In the words of the late Maya Angelou,
“Do the best you can until you know better.
The when you know better, do better.”