Tuesday, November 14, 2023

Community Outreach with and for my Students

It's been quite a week! I took my Art students on a field trip Thursday to decorate a Christmas tree for the Museum of Art and Science's Festival of Trees. My kiddos loved playing with all the science toys and art supplies, and were happy about being served doughnuts, but I hope they remember that community outreach is our goal. We want to support our local museum while advocating for those who our blind. Our tree shows every student at the Academy for the Blind with a homemade, cardboard face, and the snowflakes made with Brailled paper, reinforce the idea that no two children are the same.
That afternoon I was allotted time to present during the keynote address by Dr. Matt Marone for the 2023 Virtual GLOBE North America Regional Meeting. GLOBE stands for Global Learning and Observational Benefits for the Environment and it is part of NASA. I was able to show my student's "Layers of the Atmosphere" claymation video and tactile cloud charts as part of our collaboration with Mercer University and the Museum of Art and Science in making science more accessible.

The evening before, I got to speak to education majors during their Exceptional Child class, about how to teach children with visual impairments. A teacher's job isn't just to teach his or her students the curriculum, but to get others on board with supporting the needs of those students. The fact that I had 3 venues to advocate and educate within 20 hours is proof that people want to be informed. And once you start getting involved, more opportunities come your way.


Sunday, November 5, 2023

Clay heads: Expressions

 In an one hour hour lesson, my students were able to learn about facial proportions, expressions, and the ceramic techniques of making a pinch pot, slipping and scoring.

A small handful of clay is all it took for kids to roll a ball, stick their thumb into the center and then make the hole bigger by using their fingers as a paddle to press against the thumb. the little bowl shape
was stretched to make an oval and turned upside down. Viola! We had the beginnings of a face.  Because the eyes are in the middle of the head, we started there, first by pressing in eye sockets, and then rolling small eyeballs. the sockets and balls were both scratched with a needle (scored), brushed with watered down clay (slip), and attached before poking a hole for the illusion of a pupil. Then students moved to attaching eyelids, brows, noses, ears, and lips by scoring and slipping each individual piece. Because this was a Halloween Day lesson, students had the choice of doing a human or monster head, and each face was required to show an emotion of some sort, even if the emotion was "bored." I look forward to building on the skills and ideas touched on in one simple project.

Saturday, November 4, 2023

Curly Paper Wigs

Elementary and Middle School students get a kick out of turning flat strips of paper into fun hats and wigs. Long strips of poster board can be wrapped around a child's head to measure the headband size before removing to staple. Another two straps make an X across the top to make a crown. Paper is curled by rolling each strip up in a pencil. If you pull the pencil out the side, the curl remains tight, but if you unravel it with in the pencil as you pull it out, you will have looser ringlets. Younger children will need help stapling each curl to the crown. They could choose to just line up big spiraled circles along the posterboard under structure, or try to fill in the gaps with longer curls. They may choose just one one or many colors. They may even create crimped effect by forgoing the curling technique by folding the strips back and forth for a zigzag line. Whether the goal is a hat or a wig, crimped, curled, or straight, it won't take much time or money for kids to feel happy about their wacky new look.