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It Takes a Whole Art Colony to Raise a Child

A confident kinderflowerA confident kinderflowerThe quality of the work created by artists in this building is amazing. Evergreen is a special place in several ways but one of the coolest is the different ways my colleagues nurture and grow artistic expression by our students. I see examples all the time, and sometimes I'm bright enough to capture them on camera.

Our dual language school uses a powerful teaching/learning strategy called A lesson in picture and textA lesson in picture and textGLAD. The letters stand for Guided Language Acquisition Design. A visit to a GLAD classroom offers up a rich visual smorgasbord of charts, drawings, maps, posters, and other highly visible written language - in both languages - that supports lessons. Using this much variety to allow learners to access knowledge is part of essential scaffolding that good teachers use all the time. GLAD takes classic scaffolding techniques, adds lots of oral language support, and uses a wide variety of graphic organizers that kidsFlorFlor and teachers employ to share new knowledge. Artistic talent is visible all over the place. One of the techniques that's used employs making drawings of vocabulary words. Another has teachers draw a nearly transparent pencil drawing of a topic of study - say, a flowering plant - on a large sheet of butcher paper. After it's laminated, a dry erase marker or washable pen can be used to "draw" the parts of the plant as children discuss them. Here's looking at you!  (Sorry - couldn't resist...)Here's looking at you! (Sorry - couldn't resist...) Labels in the target language are added and used repeatedly during the unit for reference, to practice the words, or to check spelling during writing assignments. Nobody makes a big deal about relative skill in drawing, but it's clear that lots of practice yields up comfort with lots of public drawing. Teachers model drawing, kids use it extensively, and the art teacher smiles all the time.

A well-loved story with lots of dramaA well-loved story with lots of drama




Art is visible throughout our building and it's not always generated in the Evergreen Studios. A bulletin board close to the kindergarten rooms broke out in pumpkins recently, and the effect is glorious. Pumpkin Town!Pumpkin Town! We see clear evidence of wise teachers who choose projects that extend their children's learning rather than narrowing it into "class set" types of projects. One of the fascinating aspects of this quality of learning is the deep understanding a teacher gains about children during their work. Find the face?Find the face?The child who painted this picture really, REALLY wanted to do a Jack-O-Lantern, even though the story that was being shared was about whole pumpkins. His teacher quietly observed how he painted characteristic triangle eyes and jagged mouth, then used that darker paint to blend and shade the pumpkin. While she noted the beautifully controlled blending, he just smiled.Glorious, celebratory pumpkinsGlorious, celebratory pumpkins
The story line and requisite vines meandered across the bulletin board - beautiful...The story line and requisite vines meandered across the bulletin board - beautiful...

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