Summer Fun

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This past Wednesday was the last session of my summer art program.  I met for three hours once a week (for six weeks) with a multi-age group of 10 students ranging from 5 to 11 years of age.  It was very relaxed, and when the kids had ideas and suggestions we were able to act upon them immediately which was really nice.  There was no pressure in terms of having to accomplish certain specific tasks as there might be during the school year.  If something we were engaged in lasted for two hours instead of one, we went with the flow.  Image

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I had planned some fun open ended art activities such as building forts and collaborative drawing,  and I had hoped we’d be able to create an original play.  We found that the drama improv activities were really fun, but 6 sessions just isn’t enough time to create an original play, especially when some kids didn’t make it every week due to family vacations.  At the suggestion of the students, we decided to perform a play which was based on a mad libs version of the three little pigs that I had presented as an improv activity the first session.  The great thing was, that though the basic story was not original, the kids put their own stamp onto it changing the story into the wolves and the evil pig, and they got very creative with their own impromptu dialogue between the characters!  At the next to the last session when we were rehearsing the play, I wondered if it would come together, as the rehearsal was a bit challenging. At the last session we rehearsed the play once, spent about an hour creating a set using big pieces of cardboard, colored masking tape, markers, and some supporting tables and chairs. Then we had one last run through before the parents arrived. The kids really had fun creating the sets and performing for their parents.  Student plays always seem to come together beyond expectations when the parents show up!  (Major sigh of relief for me!) They also performed an improv game that was our favorite from the six sessions which the parents really enjoyed too. Now I’m gearing for the upcoming school year, and I hope there will be many opportunities for students to build on classroom learning experiences with their own ideas, as occurred this summer!

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About francifularts

I am an independent art educator. I had my first experience teaching ceramics when I was 24 and worked in the University for Youth program at the University of Denver. As an elementary school teacher I always found myself integrating the arts across the curriculum, which led to me working as an artist in the schools. In May of 2008 I began a master's program with Lesley University in their Creative Arts in Learning Program. It was a truly transformative and incredible experience which led me to decide to devote the rest of my teaching career to teaching art, and through the arts. About the same time that I completed my master's degree in January of 2011 I was hired to teach art in two different programs. I have never been happier in my work as a teacher, and I really appreciate the wonderful professors and cohort of fellow teachers I studied with at Lesley University. I also want to thank all of the wonderful arts educators that I have met online through the TAB/choice list serv for their thoughtful posts and insightful suggestions for teaching art!
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