Last summer I finally decided to see about becoming a teaching artist in the school. I applied and was accepted to work with the local organization, The Right Brain Initiative. After orientation and some training sessions, I waited. And waited. As it turns out, this is de rigueur for new artists on the roster. But then this spring things started hopping, and soon I had residencies lined up. Reflecting on this first year, it was busy, hectic, crazy, wonderful, and full of challenges. I learned a LOT along the way!
Residency #1 was out at a little country school. Although far from my home, it was lovely to be out there with all the green fields. For this residency I would be working with the entire K-6 student population. Normally residencies are set up and planned for about a month or so in advance, but for this, my very first residency, I only had two weeks to get ready. Lesson #1: this is NOT enough time to get ready for a whole school residency! We had a great theme to work with, "How do I show my mathematical thinking?" I decided that designing quilt blocks would be a good fit, and it was, but each grade level had a different math focus, so that meant designing 7 different block projects. Seven different sets of lesson plans, with different templates to design and copy, and lots of different pretty papers to buy! Thank goodness for sales on scrapbooking papers at JoAnn (but do they have to scan each individual sheet? I had to photocopy my receipts and boy, were they LONG!!!)
The daily schedule was pretty crazy, too. I was wheeling my cart to 4th grade, 2nd grade, 6th grade, kindergarten. I learned very quickly that in the future I would need to request grouping the grade levels in the schedule. But how WONDERFUL it was to work with the students! The biggest surprise was how fun it was to work with the kindergarteners. We searched for patterns everywhere and played pattern games, and then they created the flying geese strips. They were so capable and cooperative! They really could have done so much more.
Fifth grade was also so much fun to work with, mostly because one of the fifth grade teachers was really into art and she'd had her students paint their own custom papers. For fifth grade we worked with the coordinate plane in math, which turned out to be an awesome fit for plotting the points to create the quilt block pieces and laying them out. Their project turned out so gorgeous!
In the end I hung up all the finished blocks in the school's library. Nice work, everyone!