Monday, October 29, 2007

Day of the Dead, Vietnam style...

Today worked out great – I ended up winging it, was going to have the students work on continuing a collage/culture project they had started last week, but decided to go with a Day of the Dead theme. I was planning on doing the Papel Picado stuff with them again this year, and had brought in some books to read. At the last minute, I decided to give them a shot at drawing their own Day of the Dead art – we read from the book, talked about how different cultures incorporate holidays and art into their work, and then I had them work to try to replicate the style of what they saw in the Day of the Dead art, only I asked them to work their own culture into this. They did GREAT, and they really seemed to enjoy it, especially when I was able work with them one on one with drawing techniques, getting them to think about what they were drawing in terms of shapes and not trying to draw the whole picture as they saw it, rather, breaking it down into pieces. It comes in part from some of the right brain theory in art – something I want to look into more, as they really responded to it and were eager to try it out, even my ‘difficult’ 1st/2nd grade group got focused and was into it. It was funny leading them through it – I really don’t think of myself as someone that can draw all that well, but I am strong enough to teach it, I guess. I am a filmmaker/photographer by training, I write and I do paint a lot but in a collage context – fun for me to realize, like my students, that I actually can do a lot of stuff I assume I can’t!

My favorite piece of the day by far came from Chelsea, a student of Vietnamese heritage. She TOTALLY got the idea of incorporating her culture into her work, and did this piece:

An AMAZING Day of the Dead student work

I love that she used the image of the rice farmer skeleton – we were able to compare that to the sombrero hat that students of Mexican descent used in their pieces.

I also introduced the idea to my older students of joining up to do the National Novel Writing Month project. I am going to do it with them, focused on the ‘adult’ goal of 50,000 words in a month, and I am hoping some of them will want to sign up to write their own mini ‘novels’ or short story collections, writing one to two pages a day. Love the idea of getting them to embrace and see writing as an outlet, and I really emphasized that this is a project you do for yourself, as a means to push yourself. We’ll see if they sign up – I told them all I wanted them to think about it then come back and let me know their plans this week.

Student work

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