It was art day. And I'm getting a little more proficient at running these mini-crazy-how-do-I-do-this art days. Gosh. But what's not to love, its Emily Carr, and I am always in awe of her work. But let me begin at the beginning.
1. Icebreaker/Oh Canada
Today the task was two-fold: Tell one word that describes how you're feeling today; and tell us one thing you want to do sometime in your life. All the kids said they were "happy" or "excited" although one said he was "tired." One response that touched my heart, because I thought it was so sweet for this age of child, was "I'm excited because I get to be here with all of you." Isn't that sweet? So insightful.
We discussed how to bow properly and practiced at the end of our speeches.
We continue to love conducting while singing O/C. Today we used paintbrushes as conducting wands.
2. Poetry - Walt Whitman O Captain! My Captain!
We have spent a lot of time on silly poems; it was time to get a little more serious. This is one of my favorites. I love the movement, the rhythm, the rhyme. The story. We all speculated on what might have happened to the captain, and where the ship was returning from. Good poem, this one.
3. Art Day - Emily Carr Inspired Trees
After viewing Emily's Totem Walk last week, I really had an inkling to do something similar with the kids. First, we talked a bit more in depth about Emily Carr and I showed them a slideshow - I can't seem to provide a direct link because the link is to a download - but if you google "Emily Carr Powerpoint" its the first thing to come up. The slideshow features a picture of Carr, the house she was born in, a few slides about her life, and then several pieces of her artwork. We talked about how she used vibrant colors and whimsical shapes. She loved nature and painted it "big." We focused specifically on her various trees - some were tall and skinny squiggles while others were big curvy arcs - all were beautiful and I felt the kids were really engaged.
Emily Carr, Odds and Ends, 1939
Autumn in France
Fir Tree and Sky
We began our own watercolor paintings by first doing the sky and background - used lots of water to push the paint and encouraged the kids to fill up every space of the paper. After letting that dry over snack and outside time, we started to fill in our trees. The kids had the choice of doing whatever Emily Carr style they wanted - and I demo'd each of the options first.
One neat technique to add bark to a tree is to use a small piece of cardboard to scrape bits of color across the tree trunk once you have outlined it with paint. I found this trick online, I thought at Deep Space Sparkle, but when I went back to give credit with a link I couldn't find it! I visited so many sites in researching this art lesson, but I can't seem to find the right one now. Great trick, though.
Just a small piece of cardboard to give those bark lines. I used a piece from a pizza box.
4. Composer/Music - Brahms Hungarian Dances
Although Brahms wrote huge volumes of music and is considered one of the greats of the romantic period and successor to Beethoven, he is probably most famous for his short pieces. Brahms' Lullaby, for example. And those awesome little Hungarian Dances (there are 21 of them!) - of which we listened to one today. Brahms actually toured as an accompanist for a Hungarian violinist as well as travelled to Hungary - this gypsy-style music became the inspiration for the Dances. But No.5 is the best. The best!! You'll recognize it right away.
Check out more about Brahms over here specifically for kids, and listen to Hungarian Dance No. 5 right here at Classics for Kids.
5. Socratic Discussion - Tolstoy Continues
We are almost finished What Men Live By, by Tolstoy and the kids absolutely are mesmerized with this story. They pleaded - PLEADED - for me to finish it but we still have a few pages left for next week. You know, as I read to them and all I can think about is how much beautiful literature certainly falls by the wayside when kids attend school, and how lucky I am to be in charge of my own children's education. It is such a gift, this freedom. I mean, I know everyone can't homeschool and most wouldn't want to, and I don't begrudge anyone who sends their kids to school. That's not my point here. But wow, when I read stories like this to my kids and to my smarty pants explorers I'm simply in awe. I know this stuff is the real deal. I see it impacting them. Its good, true and beautiful to say the least.
All in all, we had a perfect day. Can you believe its February already?