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Can You Hear the Walls Vibrating?

Yummy, and only a memory by this time of yearYummy, and only a memory by this time of yearThere are many clues. The raspberries have been gone long enough that we almost don't ache for not having them. (Fresh Washington raspberries, sold in little stands throughout the short season are unlike any other food on the planet. Trust me.) The weather has turned cool and we've had a couple of days of gentle all-day rain. Football noises are beginning to be heard on TV and high school marching bands are visible again, practicing long hours of formations on fields. And yes, school supplies are everywhere.

It's time for school again. WOO HOO!

I've already been by school several times. My colleagues are digging around in their classrooms, too, rearranging books and taping age-appropriate essentials onto clean desk tops. The hallways shine with the manic energy that only comes from dedicated custodial staffs who know how to tape off the hallways so they can strip, wax, and buff. If you've ever challenged a serious worker who's protecting a damp floor you know what I mean.

A few children, dragging smiling moms and dads, have come by to check on class schedules (not up yet - please be patient) or to just check to make sure the playground is still there (it is, it is!) Even the quietest of the little ones race to me for a belly-wrapping hug, trailed by little brothers and sisters who can't wait until it's their turn to play school, too.

"Before" - lots of stuff to organize"Before" - lots of stuff to organizeSo - what kind of preparations DO go into a choice-based art classroom? I offer up my "before" pictures for your approval. I pulled down everything on the walls and deconstructed all the centers in a bit of a hurry. My hip replacement had to be scheduled for the day after school let out for the summer and I didn't have much time to sort and plan. The aforementioned super custodians (thanks, Sue and Porfirio!!!) did a stellar job working around my piles of materials and shining walls and floors. The windows sparkle, the floors hurt your eyes, and there's a new backsplash on my sink that will go a long ways towards slowing down flying water colors. (Have you ever seen a six year old clean a paintbrush? Poetry. Sheer poetry...)Sheesh!  Even MORE stuff.Sheesh! Even MORE stuff.

I'll begin the year with lots of questions -

  • What do artists do?
  • Where do they get their ideas from?
  • Why do we "do" art?
  • What do we want to learn about this year?

and some review/creation of cleanup standards and procedures -

  • Yes - you can use it if it's in a kid-labeled area
  • No, you can't take it home yet - it goes in your portfolio
  • Yes - we DO share. Even the dinosaurs. Trust me.
  • And (probably most important of all) we do put things away and leave the studios clean for the next class.

The first studio that will be open will be drawing. The work we do in drawing is elemental and helps to inform the other disciplines, so reminding ourselves of what's there and how to use it is crucial. It's also important to establish the "everyone in the room is an artist" credo and to increase comfort levels with trying new things.

Colorado wildflowersColorado wildflowersI may share some of the watercolors I created to share with relatives and friends during our walkabout this summer.Meet Belle, the newest member of the family.Meet Belle, the newest member of the family. I'll introduce my new horn to the kids (horns are great for talking about shapes, shine, reflection, and the glory of noise) and we'll talk about when and how to reacquaint Jezebel, the boa constrictor with the school.

I'll show the kids the backdrop for their artwork in the hallway, plant some seeds for the big art show in April, and get their input on grading system changes.

I can't wait!

Bare halls, but only for the momentBare halls, but only for the moment

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