Thursday, April 19, 2012

Shaker Bottles and Math Foundations

Over the last few weeks, I have been saving and collecting various sizes and shapes of water bottles. I made enough for every student to have one during the latest story dance class. First we read an alphabet book that also features colors. We reviewed the colors before I handed out the shaker bottles. 

With shaker bottles in hand, I led the kiddos through a movement exploration exercise that explored location words - we shook the bottles in front, above, behind, to the side, down low,  and in between our legs! Then, of course, we got to free dance with them. Not only was this a fun, kinetic exploration on spatial awareness, but these words and concepts are also foundational math skills. 

We continued with our math skills at the end of class through bottle color-grouping and matching exercises. I encouraged students to find other students who's bottles were a similar color to their own bottle. For our cool down, I laid out different color felt squares. Then I called on students one at a time to bring up their bottle and put it on the corresponding color square (apparently I need more red bottles!). This part of the class also elicited a great discussion with the children about colors. For example, water in one bottle was a little bit blue and a little bit green - which square should it go on?

Young children are often mesmerized by the swirling objects inside the bottle. The ones I made also include letters of the alphabet, words, and fake fruit! Because the bottles also have some weight to them, the children are getting a good work-out, keeping their bodies healthy and strong while dancing, moving, playing, and learning.

 Making Shaker Bottles!

First, save a bunch of water bottles.

Then, make a trip to the local craft store for supplies - don't forget the food coloring and corn syrup from the grocers.

Then, go to town!

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Blogger Tag

  • Jen Navarro tagged me for some creative blog fun! If you want to play on your own blog, here are the rules:
  • You must post the rules
  • Answer 11 questions the tagger posted for you
  • Create 11 questions to ask the people you tag
  • Tag 11 people
  • Let them know you’ve tagged them
Here are the questions I got from Jen with my responses:
 And now for my 11 questions: (I can’t make the numbering below go away :()
  1. When did you really start to embrace your creative self? In high school
  2. Who encouraged you on your creative path? My Nana, Nana White, My Mom, My Aunt Fran, My Brother, My Sister, My Father, My Aunt Donna, My Husband, My Teachers, My Friends
  3. If you were going to change careers, what else would you do? EMT or Police Officer
  4. If you had a patron for a year, what would you do with your time and money? I would open an expressive arts studio in Lowell, Ma that is dedicated to arts education for at-risk youth and students with special needs.
  5. What piece of art would you most want to have in your home? A Degas dancer, or one of his paintings of a nude brushing her long hair.
  6. Which artist, living or dead, would you like to have dinner with?This is a really hard question to answer, but I am going with Sir Paul McCartney.
  7. If you were going to host a salon and could invite anyone living or dead, who would you invite?Amanda Palmer. I think she would be fun to work with and help me put on a really go show.
  8. What kills your creative buzz and how do you get it back? Being sick. Take care of being sick, be sick. Be in the muck of it. Accept it. Then one morning I get up, and I can stretch to one side, then the other. Gradually I am able to start doing more and more stretches. Then my body is ready to participate again. Then I start dancing.
  9. Describe your creative work space. I have various creative work spaces. It depends what I am doing. I have been making water shaker bottles and rice and bean shakers out of canisters of all kinds. That is in the kitchen and the room that is not the bedroom - its the everything else room. I have all my craft and costume supplies, beading and jewelry making stuff, buttons, paper towel and toilet paper tubes, paper plates, tongue depressors, ribbons, fabric, tapes of all kinds, and sewing machines. Then there are my moving spaces. Around the kitchen of my apartment, anywhere outside, whatever classroom or learning space I am in, whatever studio I can get to.
  10. Do you ever sell your work? Does the prospect of selling it alter it in any way? I think when you ask people to pay money for your art, you are offering them another kind of relationship with you, the artist. I think once you sell your art, you really have to be ok with letting it go and accepting that others will have a relationship with it that has nothing to do with you anymore - whether it is performing arts or fine arts.
  11. What percentage of the creative process is fun for you? 100% I love the process. I love the moment of inspiration and then running with it, wherever it goes. As a performer though, I live for the moment when the lights go up and the music starts.
  12. Now I just have to figure out how to tag some people!
  13.  Here are my 11 Questions for the next bloggers:
  14.  What is your favorite way to share your art with others?
  15.  What area of your work would you most like to improve?
  16. What keeps you motivated to maintain a creative life?
  17. If artists were superheros, what would your super hero name be?
  18. What would your theme music be?
  19. Who or what, would your "art nemesis" be?
  20. You can go back in time and work with any artist(s) of anytime, anyplace - where do you go? who do you see?
  21. How young were you when other people started calling you an artist?
  22. What did you create today?
  23. What art pieces are in your bathroom?
  24. What is your favorite free public art?
  25. Now tag some people!

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Creative Movement with Fabric

If there is anything I have learned from running creative movement classes with children it's that they LOVE FABRIC!

This week I taught the story dance class using Down by the Cool of the Pool by Tony Mitton. For the main-movement-event I brought a very light weight, vibrant blue fabric that has a little stretch to it. We used it in similar ways to using a parachute. We gathered in a circle, first sitting, and all grabbed on to the material. Then we became the cool pool and shook the fabric to make waves. We all stood up and the children naturally clustered under the fabric full of giggles. (It never fails, fabric on top of kids = happy laughing children. Every time.) We lifted the fabric up over our heads giving us a nice elongated stretch. Then we made made big waves by making the fabric go up and down.

(actual fabric!)

In the story, the different animals teach each other their dances and they are excited to learn from each other. For the next part of the story dance class, each student had a turn to do their favorite dance/movement under the fabric; this could be their favorite animal movement from the story, or their own and the other students try to copy. This was a blast!

For our last dance, I put on music for the children to freestyle to while I walked around waving the fabric over them as they danced. I have done this in other classes with other kinds of fabric and the children seem to love getting caught by the fabric, individually, as a group, or in small groups. As a teacher of young children, I highly recommend the use of fabric in your classroom. If you are not sure what to do with it, don't worry, the children will have a million ideas for you!