September is finally here, and for me, it marks having the first 2 weeks of school in the books. It’s been exhausting and I have had to stop my personal exercise regime because of it. BUT, it has been so worth it. My new (and returning) students and I have had a blast and have rocked it.
I don’t like to start off the school year in a traditional way. I like to have my students jump right in and get busy getting messy. On our first day, we had 20 minute classes, and I was required by my admin to go over certain things during certain periods. But, that did leave me time to show a small video to hopefully get my kids thinking about my class and art making in a different fashion.
Over the summer, or maybe it was last year, I found this video by artist and motivational speaker, Erik Wahl. I thought it was perfect for some first day inspiration.
The next two weeks were spent doing not one, but two community projects. First my students prepped, and installed our own Unity Project. The welding students cut down steal tubing to use as our braces. My students painted 7′-6″ PVC poles black, and they balled up miles of yarn. Once the set-up was complete, they began to add their voices, by choosing the identifiers that represented them, then bringing it to life with yarn on the installation. (I will write more about the Unity Project in another post once it is complete.)
Once we were finished with our part in the Unity Project, it was time to play with some clay. I like to start the year working with clay. The majority of kids like clay, and it gives them some time to get to know me and each other without much pressure. I use this time to teach some basic clay skills–slab draping, scoring/slipping and other surface treatment techniques, and to have the kids give back to their community. This is the one piece the students will make this year that they aren’t allowed to keep. I do ask all my students to create a bowl for out Duck Art Club’s charity fundraiser–Empty Bowls.
Next week, we will finish up our bowls, then move onto exploring the artistic behaviors that are essential to my classes. I hope my students keep enjoying art class and continue to knock it out of the part when it comes to my expectations as the weeks, semester, and year continues.