Sunday, January 4, 2015

Haiti Projects: #1- Teach Art


 1. Teach Art- You got it! You must know however, I am really not an art teacher. I only took art in 6th grade for a few weeks. The art teacher at my school was creepy--- so I stayed away. He was the same teacher for middle school and high school- so I never explored that creative classroom. Looking back- I am kinda bummed. I really wish I would have taken pottery or something. But I knew I couldn't draw (not even stick figures)- so I thought art was just out. for life. 

 2. I remember loving any creative project K-12th grade. The highlight of my kindergarten year was to learn to put my crayons in rainbow order. Do it every time… anything and everything- even my clothes in my closet are rainbow order! I started out in college as an elementary education major- but knew that I would devote too much of my energy into bulletin boards instead of lesson plans- so I switched to secondary social studies education. 

 18 year old decisions looked like this: Who was my favorite teacher in high school? Mr. Rodgers. Favorite childhood toy? American Girl Dolls. Bam- I think I will become a history teacher. (Best teacher ever shout out goes to my beloved Mrs. Collins… that's why I started out as an education major!)

 After rainbow ordered 1st grade crayons, creative high school book reports and Homecoming/Snowfest floats…. the next thing I discovered was scrapbooking, which led to sewing, which led to crochet…. If you give a girl a box of crayons, then she will need poster board, and then and then and then…. cue in the "If you give a mouse a cookie" book lines- just substitute art supplies for cookies. Or not. I really like cookies too! Rabbit trail… 

 3. So when our Haiti trip got rescheduled for November and now that the girls that I wanted to teach crochet to where in school at the time- I got volun-told for art. I got pretty excited because I currently teach a bit of art at the end of the day and absolutely LOVE it! There is more to art than just drawing!!!! Art is color, and techniques, and visible emotions, and history as a cherry on top! Glue guns, and fabric, and rainbow sharpies and pinterest- whoohoo! My students love coming to art class because they get to socialize, be creative, and are not behind an electronic screen! (I eavesdrop on them and this is what they really said!) You can't mess up in art. I personally don't want my students not to pursue it "for real" in 7th-12th grade so I am trying really hard not to be too creepy :) 

 4. I was told that the students in the school we were traveling to do not have art class or do art. I didn't really want to believe it. In my current stage of life (mostly simply raising triplets)… art is therapy for me. But sure enough- here is what the classrooms looked like on Sunday: 

 It kinda felt like operation color... Or extreme classroom makeover! 

 I taught 5th grade art on Monday and the same projects on Tuesday to the 6th graders. I tweaked a valentine printable from here

I started by passing around a mirror. This helped to break the ice and get the kids giggling…they were super quiet at first. 

 I tried to convince them to color their skin color in… but that got lost in translation! After they created their self-portrait, they glued rainbow tissue squares all around. 

 The next project I typically do at Easter time with my kids from church. I loved how this one turned out- so colorful and instant smile makers! A little bit of watercolor and paint tape created instant magic.

 I kinda have this personal goal of making sunshine cookies with kids all around the world. I love spreading sunshine- especially edible ones in the form of cookies.... But then again, I have already established that I love cookies! I have done them at church, kids summer book club, my class, my own tribe, and now my Haitian kiddos. The 5th graders were a MESS… my candy corn had melted and turning the white frosting into yellow frosting was intense!!!! For 6th grade, I took advantage of the only classroom resource: the chalkboard. 6th graders did a great job! Frosting was totally a first for both groups- they licked every drop off of their fingers and wanted to know what it was called! Some of the sweet 6th grade girls saved 1/2 of their sun to take home to share. 

 After the sunshine cookies, they made journals. I did most of my "teaching" by show and sign-language. But I did grab the translator for the intro for the next 2 projects. They created an art or writing journal. I told them… no begged them… to write out their dreams. Draw their dreams. Write poetry. Leave their legacy. I told them their story matters and that it was ok to dream. I am not sure if they got it. Or that it was translated correctly. I am not sure if they believed me. Can a message from a white lady with no clue of their hardships and life really make a difference? I tried to show my genuine compassion through my smile and eyes and patience. I sure hope it worked. I hope those girls heard just a morsel of what I was saying. I hope the boys tucked it away too.  On our last night there, I (and some Swedish fish bribed friends), wrote a note in their journals to remind them of my pep talk. And that I meant it. 

 I read the book- "The Dot" to encourage them to just start. Leave a mark. To have confidence and that their name was important. (And yours is too by the way!) 

 We ended the day doodling away and coloring in some popsicle stars. (I saw them here) After school, I hung them up all around the banner that we hung in every room as a "banner verse" :) At night (yay for a generator at night!) and the last few days we were there, I laminated everything that I could so that it would last as long as possible and hung it up to create classrooms full of color. There is no electricity- just open windows for sunlight to come through. Yay sunlight! I put a group of young men to work tearing up fabric to create banners- as seen here

 The rest of the team took a grade level or 2 and created awesomeness as well. I love love loved being part of this team and doing art with kids. Creating a cute classroom is one of my favorite things to do for my students--- so why not take that show on the road? (Or airplane!) Thank you CPI Haiti for allowing me to come along and do my thing! Spreading Sunshine is my fav! Here was our creative classroom team: love these girls! 

1 comment:

  1. You rock, friend! It was amazing to see you in your element. You brought not only sunshine but also love, fun, and hope to a whole lot of kids!