Posted on August 19, 2016
I'm so excited to be back with Mid-Pacific and exploring all the fun, questions, and thinking art provides!
We began the school year with a seemingly simple question, but one that artists, art historians, and others have been grappling with for centuries: "What is art?" All children from 1st through 5th grades answered this question. Responses ranged from single words such as, "everything," and "remarkable," to more nuanced definitions such as: "a way of showing people how you feel by making things;" "to showcase something you have seen, and to let loose of your stress;" "a time to expand your feeling and thinking;" "art is creative and you think it, and beautiful things come out;" "Everything is art. It's so hard to explain what art is, because we are surrounded by it; art is art."
So that children could reflect on each other's ideas without having to read through each post-it response, I typed every response into wordle.net, where it created a graphic for us, showing words that were used more often appearing large and those used less frequently smaller. The children were excited to see the results and point out words that they questioned or resonated with.
The studentsʻ responses belie a deep understanding that art has various roles to play and experiences to offer. We will continue to explore this question throughout the year.
Our first week was also full of drawing get-to-know-you games and opportunities to explore the different stations of materials that will be available to students throughout the year during "Mindful Choice."
Now a full two-weeks into the year, we are diving into our first inquiry project -- color. We began by looking at colors on the Smartboard and tried to describe them without naming the color. For example, this teal was described by students as "cotton candy," "shallow seas," and "foggy." A bright yellow elicited "lemon," "the sun," and of course ever-popular, "Pikachu." While green was described as "grass," "leaves," "our MPI t-shirts," "goo," and "lettuce." Indeed, color takes on new meaning depending on its context.
The children were then set to their first task. After some paperfolding to create an 8x8 array, students were charged with the challenge of creating 64 different colors. While first met with gasps, they eagerly began their color mixing, and we will see where they observations and color experiments take us in the next few weeks.