Monday, December 17, 2012

The Snowman Helpeth

Snowman drawings are always a crowd pleaser. We draw them "miniature style" using oil pastels since we just read the lovely story Our Snowman, by M.B Gothstein. I think it's out of print. But I adore it for it's simple narrative and whimsical illustrations that kid's can relate to. Then we add jumbo craft sticks around the edges to make a frame. The we made patterns on the frame using little cutout foamies or woodsies. (if you are an art teacher you really know about "foamies" and "woodsies"). I do this lesson with all grade levels K-5 they all really love it and want to do it every winter.*

*Sparkles are involved. The white kind. The kind that looks like snow.

When my 1st graders came whirling in this morning (yes, they were literally whirling) I was a little nervous that I would be answering or listening to questions about the massacre in Newtown spoken in tiny voices. Our staff discussed all the best ways to deal with the potential questions before school this morning. We were going to make this is a positive day.

I decided to circumvent any problems I might have by introducing Snowman drawings, because kids love drawing snowmen (snowpeople if you wish). I mean, if you think about it, snowmen are really fun to draw.
So we read the book and watched this snippet of The Snowman movie (i love the music, one child said..."it sounds like a lullaby") and all I heard and saw all the rest of the day were children deeply engrossed in making a snowman portrait.

I heard some good news today after driving home from school and listening to Cliff Schecter being interviewed on The Majority Report (one of favorite podcasts! I love how Sam Seder expresses rage). About you know, gun laws.  I hope I am not wrong to feel encouraged.

Until the grownups figure it out, we'll be drawing, painting and sculpting snowmen. Because that's what little kids like to do.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

I'm from Newtown

Yes, I am from Newtown and even in some small way you are from Newtown too. I thought if I could post some work by my students it might make me feel better...I need to do something send a message somewhere for someone to hear, that might help. Being an elementary school art teacher in another town in Connecticut the same ages of the children murdered yesterday gives me a feeling of despair, fear and helplessness I don't think I've felt before. I live here in Newtown, and the lost children in Newtown were my children too. Because being a teacher makes every child feel like your own.

In future posts I hope to use the stories and art of my young students to promote or inspire ideas I feel will bring positive change to the world.

                                   To help us remember that all children are our children.

                                     But right now I need to grieve with my community.

Gun Control. Now