As fate would have it, I'd JUST intro-ed a printmaking project with my new group of middle school students a day or so before Ms. Azarian's visit! I hadn't done printmaking with my other rotations of kids (who were also doing projects based on the theme of Colonial Arts & Crafts) and really hadn't *planned* to do it this time, either.
How this all came about is that when I intro'ed the course on Monday, I talked about various professions during colonial times. I mentioned printmaking (as I did with every other rotation of students) as one of the professions.
A couple of the kids really picked up on that for some reason, and asked some great questions. Their unexpected and surprising interest prompted me to go by a local print shop (which has been around forever) that afternoon, and the owner let me borrow some of the type that was used when everything had to be hand set on printing plates. He gave me a wonderful mini-tour and a nice history of how printmaking hadn't really change a whole lot until about the last 25-30 years.
SO....the next day (Tuesday) I went back to school with an assortment of type from the print shop--some metal, some carved from wood--and again the kids were fascinated and wanted to try printmaking. (They had already started silhouette projects.) So...THAT night I went to Michael's and bought some easy-cut material so that the kids could do a small print.
I really didn't know that Mary Azarian would be visiting until Wednesday afternoon, and I realized what a serendipitous thing her visit was!
On Thursday the kids still worked on their silhouettes, but they also started making a design featuring their initials or monogram that they will print. That afternoon they attended her presentation, and I made sure that the kids in my class had the chance to come up and look at the tools and materials. They also asked some of the best questions. :-)
So yep, we were lucky, indeed, to have her visit, and the timing was absolutely perfect!
By the way, this isn't the FIRST time that something like this has happened: When I was doing the Sacred Circles course, I discovered that there was an exhibit of Tibetan art at a local (SMALL) museum near here and was TOTALLY blown out of the water to discover that Tibetan monks would be at the museum creating a mandala during the first week of our course! I was able to arrange a fieldtrip (on short notice!) and it was really one of the highlights of the Sacred Circles unit. :-)