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Re: School website AND reflection on hard work and the joy it brings


Date: Wed Nov 26 2003 - 10:08:58 PST

I'm working on my new site starting next week, Judy. I should have
something up by Christmas, plus links to the old site on the new site.

I can't wait to show you all the wooden Oaxacan Animals and the clay
storytellers! The photos are taken, I just need help getting them on my
new site over the next week or two.

NOW for a bit of reflection on a LOT of hard work and the way I feel
today....exhausted, relaxing, but HAPPY. I love my job.

I have a true prodigy in 3rd grade for clay. I've never seen any child
do what she did in all of my 24 years of working with clay with kids..
If I had not seen it with my own eyes, I'd swear an adult did it. She
made a really gigantic dragon storyteller with 2 babies out of clay
using mostly slab, coil, pinch pots, and pinched forms on the head and
scales. Wait til you see the mouth and head and the way she made the
eyes. There is so much gesture, movement, and expression! She also
painted it (all her own idea) in a way that it looks like an antique
chinese dragon. We used underglazes this time, which lent themselves
perfectly to her design ideas. (they don't blur or run...precise
graphic design quality) The only thing I helped her with was figuring
out how to make the tail curve around the body. I explained how to use
a combination of slab, coil, and pinch pots joined together to make her
hollow form and the curve of the body, and she did it so adeptly! No
one can believe this 3rd grade girl did this, even though they watched
her, lol. Thank goodness I was calling people in to see it as she
progressed on it. What fun that was. She whizzed through it, too. Such
a vision in her head, and such a way with clay, you won't believe it.
Get ready!!! I can't wait to see what she will do next.

Yesterday was a total art day for my 5th graders. We went to the Museum
in Houston to see the Museum of Modern Art (NY's) "Heroic Century".
What a marathon I've had for the past couple of months...Makeup design a
la cirque de soleil for a HS production of Midsummer Night's Dream.
That involved drawing, figuring out what all was needed, buying,
dividing up in baskets for each character (33 characters), teaching HS
students and a few parents to apply the makeup, checking supplies all
week to make sure we had everything we needed, 7 nights of full
dress/makeup rehearsals and performances that lasted til late in the
evening, cleanup, thank you notes, and itemizing and storing left overs.
Couple that with writing 60 grades and comments due the same week AND
teaching!!! I was DEAD but happy when it was over. It was a fabulous
performance complete with lots of special effects, beautiful costumes,
and a great director for our great kids to learn from.

Immediatelly after that was over, I had to dive into working up a huge
powerpoint and timeline for my 5h graders to preview the art
movements/artists of the 20th century for them so that they might better
understand the MOMA show. And yesterday we had a celebration party
after the Museum with parents invited to school to safely transport the
wooden animals home. Last night and today, I have been pretty
horizontal relaxed, and not doing ANYTHING for the first time in months,
with no huge projects ahead of me. Wow. I know we ALL work hard, but
this was EXTREMELY extreme for me!!! Yesterday at the Museum, I was so
thrilled with my kids understanding of modern art. A few of them even
wanted to take home the white canvasses in the Minimalism room!
Something for everyone! Of course, a number of them wanted to take home
the Rousseau's Dream, or the Starry Night, Girl in the Mirror, or
Monet's waterlilies. But some really do LOVE the abstract expressionism
and minimalism! YAHOO!
And I don't think any of them will again say "WHY is this ART????" when
they look at a white canvas, Pollack, or Kandinsky. Hallelujah! Two of
the teachers didn't read the copy of my powerpoint that I gave them
before they went, and these two teachers were hardcore abstraction
haters, lol, VERY resistant! They looked pretty ignorant next to the
kids, but they had their chance to come to the same pre exhibit
presentation or they could look at the Powerpoint printout to learn more
before they went, lol. It was fun to see the kids telling them what it
was all about. Loved that!! But what a pity that they didn't have
teachers to enlighten them about WHY art changed so much in the 20th
century. I can understand being an adult with no background and not
getting it. One was a math teacher, but the other was an English
teacher. Wouldn't you think that an English teacher who teaches poetry
a LOT would see the comparison between what happened with literature in
the 20th century and what happened with art? They were smirking that
all of these artists were on drugs! Oh...where to begin to break down
those walls???

Oh! Just for fun and R&R over Thanksgiving holiday...
For those of you who love Cirque De Soleil, Bravo channel (cable) is
running a marathon of Cirque in the evenings all week. I've watched
four different ones in the last two nights! Happy Thanksgiving, all!!!
WE ALL work like trojans...kick back and revel in the fact that you are
a bright spot in children's lives. I knew I had changed kids after the
MOMA show yesterday. To top that off with the celebration
party/departure of their wooden animals was icing on the beautiful cake!
Happy vacation!

Linda Woods