3rd Grade - Recorders are out of the BAG.  

3rd graders are now able to get a good tone with their soprano recorders, and they can self-correct if the tone is not sounding the way they want. Starting first with improvisations, they are now finishing their small group collaborative recorder compositions using B-A-G.  

Recorder improvisations take place using musical questions and answers, where the player asking the question improvises a melody and rhythm, and the player answering uses some of the rhythm and melody from the question, but adds something new in the answer.  

In English, it might sound like this: 
"What did you have for breakfast today?"  
"Today I ate a bagel for breakfast."

In music, the question can't end on the tonic (in our examples, G is the tonic, or "home tone") but the answer should, because it sounds more complete.  If the question sounds finished, that's like asking "What did you have for breakfast today, probably toast."  Leaves you nowhere to go.  

See the examples of the written compositions based on a rhythmic launchpad poem, "Acka Backa" - you can see the progression of rhythm notation over the words with letters written below, to a 2-line staff with notation written either on lines or the space between for G-A-B.  

Ask your child how they know which line is G.  If they know it, they're in "treble."  Same joke.  

4th Graders Explore Jazz Rhythms in Music

How is Jazz like Democracy?  Freedom within an agreed upon Structure.  

"But you have to LISTEN to each other... I mean, that's the point!" - Sandra Day O'Connor

4th graders exploring Jazz rhythms.  Our entry point for learning a Miles Davis piece, "So What" is through creative movement within a set structure.  

We then dropped in on a conversation between Sandra Day O'Connor and Wynton Marsalis:

..before learning the classic "So What" call & response pattern, using ... recorders! 

LowK finishes their Planning and Making unit!

LowK Art students have been making plans of people who somehow help others. It was great to participate in the brainstorming that went on during this unit, and the ideas the students came up with ranged from the more traditional (firefighter, police) to the very imaginative (Vigilante, robber who gives money to people).

If your child has not shown up with a found item sculpture of a tiny person this week, chances are this project will be in our upcoming EC art show!

Foun item Art

1st Graders and Hockey

For our unit on manipulative movement, 1st Graders were introduced to hockey sticks for the first time. Safety was a big focus (keep those blades down!) and they understood it was important to be responsible when using hockey sticks. They practiced some basic stick handling skills and were shown a wrist shot. Hockey is a bridge to 2nd Grade where they will begin playing actual floor hockey games and continue to develop their already obviously awesome skills!

PreK Hugs and Hearts

Happy Valentine's Day! I thought I would send something sweet your way by posting a few photos of PreK. This week we have been doing several songs that incorporate hearts, hugs, and valentine's. In some of these pictures, the kids are singing a song where they practice safely hugging themselves and others. We also have a few photos of kids passing out red hearts to each other as we sing about how nice our friends are....I hope you enjoy :). 

LowK Explores the shapes that make our human body!

Students have studied our beloved wooden figure statue "George" and noticing how shapes are put together to draw pretty much anything that an artist wants to convey on paper- including the human form.

The realization that a person can be drawn by only adding squares, rectangles, ovals and circles together was an amazing discovery!

After a few days of reviewing, students were able to draw shapeswithout having to even look at "George" for guidance and confidently turn those same shapes intopeople!

Now we are applying the same concepts of putting shapes together to make animals. Our new unit, "2D to 3D" will entail designing a pet that lives in our pockets. We will start with a drawing and end up with a little sculpture.

Kindergarten Art Travels Update

Kindergarteners are traveling all over the world and through time itself, and discovering all that the the New York artists of the 20th century have to offer.

Having finished their trip to Europe, where they learned how to "catch lines" and the difference between 2D and 3D, the students are currently finishing their study of DYNAMIC CUBISM with Jacob Lawrence. They are going to paint with Mark Rothko and Georgia O'Keiffe nextbefore moving on to our next country!

With these artists, we are focusing on primary colors and how we can change organic shapes into geometric ones without losing the meaning of what we are trying to visually describe. Students are having a blast and I am impressed at how many good questions come from our art history discussions!

Birds of a Feather - Musical Conversations

Central Idea: We communicate with each other by listening, watching, and responding through sound and movement.

Beginning Recorders - we begin not with "oops you're playing the wrong note" but rather, "Oh wow!  you sound like a real bird!"  

Here is an excerpt of a Rainforest Dawn Chorus of Birds - 3rd graders fly to their own perches in the Music Rainforest, and with lights off, communicate with each other through their own bird calls.  Video is Black - only audio.  ("Birds of a Feather" composed by Sofia Lopez Ibor)

3 recorder rules: Chin Rest when not playing, Left hand on top (prepares for future woodwinds), and Warm Air.  


Kindergarten: Mirroring Movements and Rhythms

Kindergarten is just now finishing up our Working Together unit.  We had a lot of fun experiencing new and more complex elements of music and movement together!

 Here are just a couple of pictures from our mirror exercise where one child was the leader and shared their creative ideas before switching places and giving their partner a chance to create and show. I apologize that these photos are from a couple of weeks ago. 

First Grade Explores Symbols and Textures By Body Mapping

First grade worked tirelessly on their body maps these past two months. They explored making symbols for themselves with the help of a questionnaire.

Students also studied how maps themselves are symbols for an expansive amount of land that, looked from up above, takes on interesting shapes.They have brainstormed about "body memories" (ex. broken arm), important emotions (ex. Getting a pet dog for a birthday), and their favorite places in the whole world (the beach was very popular). The questionnaire helped them to shape what would be communicated in their maps.  Many kids included cities with people's names that are important to them. Some even made sanctuaries for their favorite animals, real or imagined.

Students also explored with texture as they applied different painting techniques to their oceans and lands and added elements of collage to suggest sands, oceans, grasslands, lava, or metropolises.

This has been the first year in which students showed themselves so focused and invested in this project. The result is a multi-layered, neat andimaginative work of art. Good job, everyone!

3rd Grade Art: Artistic Cultural Traditions

     Third grade students have finished our first project in our Unity of Inquiry, Art from Many Cultures.  To celebrate Dia de los Muertos, people come together to remember friends and family members who have died through making artwork, cooking, decorating/cleaning graves, playing music, dancing and having a party in their honor. The Ofrenda celebrates the life of family member, a friend or a pet who has died. Our students have made some very powerful works of art that illustrate symbols of memories with nearly every object they drew. 

Student Sketchbooks with brainstorming notes and practice drawings. Also, Final Ofrendas in process.

     We also reviewed the concept of Pattern by creating a patterned border around their 3-D Ofrenda. We practiced several spatial skills in drawing and also worked to make their artwork stand out or have Emphasis by outlining and layering colors evenly. Students practiced using a ruler, creating accurate folds and finally cutting and taping to create a 3-D Form to use as the Ofrenda box.

Ofrenda Sculptures created with Model Magic in process. (This is quite popular air dry clay! FYI: It can be purchased at many craft stores including Jo-Ann Fabrics.)

Next, students will sculpt their person or animal using model magic (air dry clay).  They will also draw the bones of their skeletons after creating Observational drawings in their sketchbooks. 

Sorting Group Activity done with table groups - Helping students to notice the many differences and the few similarities between Halloween and Dia de Los Muertos.  

4th Grade Art: Art is Human Nature!

The fourth graders have completed their artwork for our “Art is Human Nature” Unit of Inquiry.  We were inspired by the Paleolithic cave paintings created by early humans. Students had an excellent time learning about Carnivores, Herbivores, the Bering Land Bridge and theories for the extinction of the many awesome Mega Fauna that roamed our Planet thousands of years ago! Did you know that Saber Tooth Tigers, Camels, Giant Sloths, Mastodons and Dire Wolves all used to inhabit North America?

We studied the natural materials and tools that Homo sapiens used to create works of art. The students also developed their own theories to try and answer WHY and HOW cave paintings were created. Students also analyzed contemporary art that takes inspiration from Cave Art.

Here is a link to an interesting website that took us on a virtual 3-D tour of the Lascaux caves in France.  http://www.lascaux.culture.fr/index.php?lng=en#/fr/00.xml

If you have your own Pinterest account, you can also view more of the teaching resources for this unit by clicking the following link: https://www.pinterest.com/harpole_s/art-is-human-nature/

Some teaching resources on Sarah's Cave Art Board via Pinterest

Some teaching resources on Sarah's Cave Art Board via Pinterest

Students work together to assemble a huge Megaloceros “Irish Elk” puzzle that was painted by to class of 2015.

Students work together to assemble a huge Megaloceros “Irish Elk” puzzle that was painted by to class of 2015.

Up Next, we’ll begin our Fiber Arts Unit creating woven tapestries and plush creatures.


2nd Grade Art: Artistic Observations Unit

2nd Grade - painting Textures!

To prepare for their Sky watercolor paintings, the second graders have explored 15 different watercolor techniques! We experimented with dry brush, wet on wet, wet on dry, graded washes, straw blowing, sgraffito, plastic wrap, salt, glue texture and lift (to name a few).  

The students also reviewed vertical, horizontal, and diagonal lines adding tape in different configurations on their watercolor paper.  They have been proud to learn these techniques and have also been quite amazed by the great number of ways we can manipulate watercolor paints to create a variety of textures! 

One student tries out painting techniques and another is painting a sky by observing details from real life photographs. 

One student tries out painting techniques and another is painting a sky by observing details from real life photographs. 

A student selects their sky photo from a binder full of diverse, beautiful skies. We have also learned about different types of clouds during this unit. 

A student selects their sky photo from a binder full of diverse, beautiful skies. We have also learned about different types of clouds during this unit. 

2nd Grade - Musical Legos!

2nd graders have been focusing on working together to show, play, step, sing, and clap a steady beat together.. using circle games, shoelaces, jump rope, drums and xylophones.  

We have been playing musical stories, like "The House that Drac Built" where certain repeating  words and phrases turn into musical rhythms and sound effects.  

It's a little bit like musical Legos - where at first we put together a set from instructions and end up with a perfectly good truck or spaceship, but then three days later those cool wings get repurposed for an even better spaceship, made up of parts from other sets.  In 2nd grade music we are learning to take a whole melody, and break it into a few different parts - to be put back together on different types of instruments!  

Each melody might have some repeated notes, or some stepping notes that go up or down - right now it's a melody with 4 pitches, "No One in the House.  When we divide it into instrument groups, the children sing along with the words, and wait to play their assigned part within the whole song.  The combined effect of 4 different melodic and rhythmic groups is like putting a musical puzzle together in real time - the whole class becomes a small orchestra!

Here's an example, enjoy!

4th Grade - Blending in, and Standing out

4th graders have been practicing Blending in to the group energy and sound, while also Standing out in a musical way.  As soon as musicians begin Standing out, it seems that the rest of the group starts Blending with the outstanding work.  We have practiced this through many different activities - Vocal warm-ups, Folk dance, Creative movement, Clapping games.  

These activities provide a foundation for our study of African games and songs this year: We started the year with a Zimbabwean game song, "Bo Tendere" which translates to "let's show the elders what we can do!"  We also have a three-part song in a Congolese language, "Si Si Si (Banaha)" that we have begun breaking into a round or canon for 3 part vocal harmony.  Amazing.  

We have practiced counting off our vocal warm-up in different languages, and for a partner clapping/counting game from Ghana, "Practical Numbers" we have begun counting in different languages while others improvise melodies on bass xylophones.  

We are now beginning to orchestrate music for a landscape poem - "Blue is the Sea," (music composed my Sofia Lopez Ibor) which will soon be collaboratively re-written by students - they will compose a landscape poem in their track languages.  Using only colored paper as a score, the first day we sang this poem together one student exclaimed, "That was awesome."   - and that was BEFORE we added recorders to the mix.  

Capoeira - guest artist Dec5-Dec15

5th graders will have the opportunity to learn about Capoeira, a Brazilian martial art.  My friend Dilaho, a Capoeira Mestre will be visiting 5th grade music classes from Dec 5-Dec15.  Each ABCD group will have two lessons on this conversational music and movement art form with a rich history. 

In preparation we learned clapped, and danced a couple Brazilian songs, one adapted from capoeira, "O Ba Ba," and another Brazilian song "Baiao" and we watched and discussed this wonderful video about capoeira: