Our new Thanksgiving cards went into the mail yesterday. The cards were designed by Ms. Nina Mahboubi and her nest class. After creating a wash of vibrant fall color, students blew a river of India ink across the paper’s surface to create a barren winter tree silhouette. Who needs another picture of a turkey or a cornucopia anyway?
Some viewers see flames in the background and others recall a warm fire on a cold winter night. What ever feelings our card evokes, we say there is much to be thankful for this year– children’s art especially.
Here is a link to last year’s design, too
If you answered the question “what is going on in this picture?” you used visual thinking strategies (VTS). What is VTS? In a classroom, by using a series of guided questions, you (the viewer) would be led by a teacher to a deeper understanding of the image. You would link vocabulary and language-based thinking with visual stimulation. Some of the questions you’d be asked: What kind of people are in the picture? Where are they? What are they doing? Do they look interested? ARE THEY THINKING? Are they learning?
You have deduced: these children on a school field trip; they are in an important museum setting (yes, that is a Picasso in the background); there is serious reflecting done in notebooks; this is a well-organized and successful program for learning.
Evergreen School has initiated a new program in VTS this year. Here we are on a field trip at the National Gallery of Art in Washington. We are so happy to be working with an art historian and arts program designer from the Glenstone Museum to teach Evergreen teachers in VTS techniques. I look forward to learning more about VTS and sharing here on my blog.
It has been a while since I posted to my blog, but not because I haven’t been writing. I just completed two courses at Montgomery College, and both required long term papers based on very specific content requirements. My creative energy was sapped.
But when I came across an article in the New York Times on the Carnegie Museum’s Playground Project on the history of playground design, I began to feel free enough to write again.
The article traces the roots of the Evergreen Garden and Playground concept to the Danish landscape architect in the 1930′s named Carl Theodor Sorensen. According to the Times, Sorensen, ”advanced the radical notion that children were happiest when playing with junk.” Toward the end of World War II, he began designing playgrounds that encouraged children to build, dig and create with natural and man-made materials including bricks and building debris. He called these new spaces skrammellegeplads or “junk playgrounds.”
Whether writing, building, cooking, making music or any other creative pursuit, we all need a skrammellegeplad… a safe place to play and try things out.
Learning and playing are acts of freedom. It is great to be free.
Look around Evergreen. Art is everywhere. In our classrooms. In our halls and stairwells, too. And when you look around your life, you’ll see art all around, too. From artwork in our homes to masterpieces in Washington Museums, we are immersed in art every day.
When a child creates a work of art, he establishes a connection as old as civilization itself. She refines her skills and develops mastery over materials. He develops control over clay, paint, scissors and glue.
Art is also problem solving. When making a work of art, the child is in dialog with the medium. The child asks questions of the clay. The clay responds. Throughout the conversation, new ideas and new solutions emerge.
Art at Evergreen is joyful and serious too. It isn’t child’s play. When you watch our young artists in the process of creating, their intensity and focus attest to the importance of their undertaking. Their art deserves to be looked at carefully. Look deeply!
Here is a wonderful picture taken by Ms. Tobin after her classes field trip to the Puppet Co.’s production of Jack and the Beanstalk at Glen Echo Park. I love it!
Cheers to Cora Michael and our wonderful new bulletin board. Our Primary hallway is bright and cheery– perfect for these cold and rainy Washington winter days.
Cora’s creations are more than just about color and form. They highlight textures, 3-D materials and mixed media. Yes, those are real scarves! And the marshmallows are styrofoam peanuts!
Every once and a while, a classroom project stands out– like an army of penguins. What is it that makes them so endearing? They are so anthropromorphised, of course. These funny little creatures remind me of the time my son insistent on adopting a penguin through the World Wildlife Fund for Christmas.
But Santa is from the North Pole. Not Antarctica.
We have a new program view book to share with prospective Montessori families at our November 16 Open House. I am so grateful for the work of Kelsey Stephens in Minnesota who designed it. She has done a remarkable job capturing the joyful energy of our school. It is such a pleasure to work with creative, talented and enthusiastic people like her. Thank you, Kelsey!
The Evergreen School Fall Open House takes place on November 16 from 9 to 11 am.
Our new Thanksgiving card went to the printer today. I hope I am not sharing the image prematurely (it isn’t even Halloween, I know). What a great project for our Nest class. And what a great use of Montessori pin punching, too.
Children worked together and found inspiration from Matisse, Calder and the recycle bin to create a one-of-a-kind masterpiece.
Another brilliant Nest collaboration!
We are so fortunate to have the creative minds of Ms. Tobin and Ms. Michael to support our students’ vision!