Monday, November 30, 2015

Ms. Gebhard's First Graders Make Cities with TAPAS Artist Leslie Rosenberg

During the two weeks before Thanksgiving break, Ms. Gebhard's class engaged in an exciting social studies-meets-woodworking project with TAPAS artist Leslie Rosenberg.

The class prepared for the residency by meeting with a real city planner and discussing what makes a community. Then, in four groups, they drew maps of the cities they planned to build.

Ms. Rosenberg began her visit by discussing the properties of wood with the students and brainstorming ideas for using bits and pieces of wood to build the cities they had planned. 

Students then transferred their maps onto large wooden boards and selected pieces of wood to serve as the buildings, parks, power facilities, houses, and other parts of their cities. They had to be careful to label each piece so it could be glued on later—a lot of detailed work for these 6- and 7-year-old builders!

Next, students painted their bases and the individual wood pieces, added details, and, finally glued them in place.

The very last stage of the construction project involved using other objects—pom poms, Easter grass, pebbles, and such—to create the environment around their buildings.

The class will be using their impressive cities to practice their navigational skills using the compass roses showing cardinal directions that they included on the bases of their cities.

We are so very impressed with the thought and teamwork students put into this project. They were attuned to issues like green space, environmental needs, schools, businesses, power generation, and, of course, recreational needs. They truly showed how doing art allows their minds to more clearly grasp and engage with curricular subjects.

Many thanks to Ms. Rosenberg for the time, care, and work she put into her residency. And, of course, we cannot thank Asheville City Schools Foundation enough for making the TAPAS program available, and for funding this residency!

Friday, November 20, 2015

A Windy Day with the Asheville Symphony

On November 20, Claxton 2nd, 3rd, and 4th graders were treated to a concert in the gymnatorium by the woodwind section of the Asheville Symphony Orchestra. We are so proud of the students' attention and good questions!

The quintet delighted students with selections including Mozart's versions of Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star and Henry Mancini's Pink Panther Theme. They also taught students about the instruments and wore different colored tee-shirts representing each one. This approach helped students learn the roles and sounds of the woodwinds.

The flutist (who also demonstrated the flute's cousin, the piccolo) wore blue to represent the sky, where birds fly. The flute often represents the sound of birdsong, such as in Prokofiev's Peter and the Wolf.

The clarinet player, dressed in yellow, explained that the clarinet was invented in Germany by adding a reed to a flute. 

Just as the color red worn by the bassoon player is the base of the rainbow, the vibrations produced by a bassoon are low in pitch, and form a base under the other instruments in the quintet.

The oboe player, in green, also introduced students to the sound of the English horn.

The fifth member of the woodwind section, the French horn, is technically a brass instrument, not a woodwind. The musician wore orange to recall the ancient use of the horn in a hunt, since orange is the color worn by hunters for safety.

The Guild of the Asheville Symphony Orchestra sponsors these annual visits to provide music education to supplement the excellent work of ACS music specialists. The program culminates in a 5th grade field trip to see the Asheville Symphony Youth Orchestra perform on March 9.

Thank you to The Guild for making this program possible!

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Performances, You Say?

Let's not forget the performances!

In addition to hands-on use of the arts to help students master curricular subjects, arts integration includes exposing students to artistic performances that teach them about other cultures, other ways of communicating, spatial relationships, the science of sound, the mechanics of the human body ... This year we'll even have dual-language performances that support our new Spanish Integration program! We could go on and on.

So we're excited to share with you the list of upcoming performances and assemblies our superior Claxton specialists have planned for the remainder of the school year.

On December 10 it's the annual Storytelling Festival, a special event that really sets Claxton apart. For the entire day, students take a break from regular programming to attend a variety of storytelling performances in large and small group settings—and sometimes try out a little storytelling themselves!

Then, in 2016, get ready for:

While the schedule is always subject to change, we appreciate the attention to diverse cultures and performance media it provides. 

Mostly, though, we're just excited that Claxton students get the unique experience of attending these performances and being exposed to something new and valuable.

Thanks, specialists, for your work collecting this terrific group!

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Still Growing!

Our Children's Art Garden just keeps on growing!

After a long wait, the beautiful ceramic tiles depicting the life cycle of plants are finally on display, and they are well worth the wait!

The tiles were created by third graders in spring 2014 as part of a residency with TAPAS artist Melissa Weiss. Ms. Weiss' residency was part of the larger Art Garden project in which every grade worked with a different TAPAS artist to create an installation showcasing one of the curricular subjects they were learning at the time.

Mr. Cassara worked hard to mount the tiles so they could be displayed together, our wonderful Bear Pack built the frames, and ACS Maintenance worked hard to ensure that they have been properly installed.

Be sure to come take a closer look at the display—and to stroll past the NC History and Culture mural, the Cardinal Directions boulders, the Seasonal pavers, the Shapes, Patterns, and Colors picnic benches, our garden looms, and the planters that reflect the Art Garden subjects. What a lovely spot it's become!

Our thanks and appreciation as always to Asheville City Schools Foundation for funding the Art Garden through an Innovation grant and TAPAS grants. And a special shout-out to ACS Maintenance, who did an amazing job of installing the tiles.