Fifth graders at Laurel Dell Elementary School have written an opinion piece for the Marin IJ based on their residency with Youth in Arts. Impressed by the students’ focus and hard work during a 12-week residency, architect Shirl Buss extended the learning by mentoring the students as they wrote their piece. In the end, it was the students’ own words.
Youth in Arts partnered with UC Berkeley’s Y- PLAN (Youth – Plan, Learn, Act, Now) to create an innovative program exploring the connection between art and architecture. We worked with fourth and fifth graders at the school.
“We wrote this newspaper column so we could get people’s attention, so they can listen to our ideas,” the fifth graders wrote. The piece was written by students Kim Mandujano, Gerardo Valencia, Genesis Perez and Janely Mendieta.
The artists described what they think San Rafael should look like in the future. They hope officials working on San Rafael’s 2040 General Plan will take their advice seriously for dealing with issues like sea-level rise, flooding, safety, housing and other concerns.
Laurel Dell teacher Marc Belmont said working with Buss and the Youth in Arts residency was a great experience.
“Thank you for working with the students. They love you and enjoyed every second with you,” Belmont wrote to Buss. “They were so happy and proud when we read the article in class. Wish you could’ve seen their pride and smiles on their faces.”
Read more about what the students had to say here.
or check it out here:
Thank you to UC Berkeley’s Y-PLAN and the California Arts Council for helping to make this possible.
More than 100 parents, students and civic leaders attended a presentation of fourth and fifth grade art at Laurel Dell Elementary School in San Rafael. Through an innovative partnership between Youth in Arts, UC Berkeley’s Y-PLAN and the California Arts Council, mentor teachers taught a 12-week course that explored the fascinating relationship between art and architecture. It was a wonderful way to introduce students to the field of architecture.
Visiting architects who generously participated were led by architects and educators Shirl Buss of UC Berkeley’s Y-PLAN and Janine Lovejoy Wilford, who taught fifth graders how to measure, design and build. Other architects who worked with the classes were Sally Dominguez and Dustin Foster.
Fifth graders worked hard to contributed to San Rafael’s 2040 plan, trying to imagine a city of the future and what sort of bridges it will need. We looked at pressing issues such as climate change and the need for affordable housing. We looked at the Canal Community, where many of them live.
Fourth graders engaged in a variety of projects, such as building Towers of Power using wood scraps and found objects and tiny bridges in a box. Throughout the course we refined our design skills along with practicing cutting, measuring and designing for small spaces. Using symbols, we bridged our current selves with ourselves and dreams of the future. Students also made beautiful paintings of their towers and worked collaboratively to bridge them together. Often students worked in their sketchbooks, designing projects before construction.
“As a trustee AND community planner, I was thrilled to see the results of this work, and the voice of the students. The Y-plan program is renowned around the country, and it’s fun to see it in San Rafael, at Laurel Dell. This kind of project covers all the common core aspects – congratulations to the teachers and Youth in Arts, and gratitude to the students for sharing their ideas.”
-Linda Jackson, San Rafael School District Board Trustee
Laurel Dell fourth graders embarked on a 12-week journey exploring bridges to make connections between art and architecture. The course ended with tiny bridges that were built in a box. This project was another approach to a self portrait. Where are we now? Where to we want to go in our lives? The goal of this project was to bridge our current and future selves and dreams.
We began with a discussion of symbols and what images we would use to show our present and future selves. We sketched a design in our sketchbooks to work out what our bridges would look like. This was a crucial step in working out the details. Then we used watercolor to paint the backgrounds, carefully adding details with colored pencils. It was hard to wait for the paintings to dry! The paper was pre-cut so it would fit into 6 by 6-inch wooden boxes.
The final class was devoted to building tiny bridges made from thick white paper, string, buttons and glue. We used Q-tips to carefully apply the glue to small places. It was challenging to work small, but good practice using scissors and hole punches. Some students used traditional bridge designs while others got quite creative! One student built a lily pad bridge using clay. Several students said this was their favorite project.
Mr. Belmont’s fifth graders have been working with Architect and Educator Shirl Buss for the last 12 weeks. They have focused this year’s work on the San Rafael 2040 Plan: what do today’s young people want for their city when they are grown up? Lots of green space and color, educational opportunities for Boyd Park, transportation that includes buses, bike and walking paths from end to end, safe affordable housing, more jobs, turning buildings along the canal toward the water, and designing new structures for sea level rise.
Last night, four representatives from the class joined Ms. Buss at the San Rafael 2040 Plan General Meeting. Students presented their ideas to the entire planning committee, and were articulate and thoughtful and clearly very knowledgeable about their work. The city planners asked many questions, and students not only answered them all, but wanted even MORE!
See the video here.
Ms. McCarthy’s Fifth graders at Laurel Dell Elementary School have been working with Janine Lovejoy Wilford (a practicing architect and educator). They, along with Shirl Buss and Mr. Belmont’s fifth grade class, have been working on the question, “What Do You Imagine for San Rafael in the year 2040?
By Shirl Buss, Architect and Educator
We had a wonderful session with the 4th grade students in Mr. Seligman’s class last week. Suzanne, John and I teamed the students in pairs.
Thank you so much for your support: Laurel Dell PTA, teachers and students, UC Berkeley’s Y-PLAN, and the California Arts Council
Master Architect Shirl Buss has been working with Laurel Dell Elementary students on their vision for the San Rafael 2040 Plan. Students presented their projects (sea level rise, their 2018-2040 Portfolios and their proposals for Gateways to San Rafael) to Kate Powers, environmental advocate who is on the San Rafael 2040 general plan steering committee. Kate served as a great audience for the students to practice their public speaking skills and shared information about the San Rafael 2040 General Plan and the work of the Steering Committee.
The architects Shirl Buss and Janine Wilford have been working with fifth-graders at Laurel Dell Elementary School in San Rafael for a month now, and the work is amazing! Students have been practicing layout, design, scale, and model building as they prepare to tackle their big question: What do you desire for San Rafael in the year 2040?
For the “Real World Challenge” portion of their architectural residency, students will work collaboratively in hands-on in-class studios with architects and planners from Youth in Arts and UC Berkeley’s Y-PLAN. We will build upon the work we did last year for the Resilient by Design Challenge. We will research and make proposals about San Rafael’s future—from a youthful, but informed perspective, with a special focus on selected areas of the city (downtown, canals, open space, etc.) We will incorporate the academic focus on earth systems and apply this research to our recommendations. The students will have an opportunity to present to the General Plan committee members.
The San Rafael 2040 Plan: Students consider their own paths, what they want for themselves in 2040, and what they want for their CITY:
Lesson in GEOMETRY: 2D to 3D!
Learning about SCALE:
Thank you so much to the California Arts Council, the Laurel Dell PTA, Y Plan at UC Berkeley, and Wilford Architects for sharing your talents and energy with us!
San Rafael is one of ten sites around the Bay Area included in the Resilient by Design Bay Area Challenge, a year-long collaborative design challenge to help Bay Area communities improve their resilience to flooding, natural disasters and rising seas. Youth in Arts’ Architects in Schools leaders Shirl Buss and Rich Storek, working with their fourth grade students from Laurel Dell Elementary School, helped to bring the Flood Fair to life with their young energy, beautiful scale models, and engaged fourth grade interviewers and docents.
The Bionic Team including Bionic Landscape, WXY Studio, and PennDesign are working with the San Rafael community to prepare a suite of design ideas for the San Rafael community. The Bionic Team began the challenge asking, “Where in the Bay Area can our expertise help?” And now matched with San Rafael, they’ve been asking residents “What needs to be done and where are we starting from?” Their first public event was the Flood Fair, held this Saturday at Pickleweed Park.
Thank you to Laurel Dell Fourth graders for helping to promote the event and making it relevant for all ages:
The Flood Fair was wonderful! Considering the challenging weather and date, there was a rousing turnout of local community members, allies and leaders. The student participation added an important dimension to the overall effort to inform, engage and enlist the community in our response to Sea Level Rise! Students interviewed visitors and asked them:
Thanks Mr. Pepe Gonzalez for your enthusiastic support of the students! Thanks again Marcel, Sarah and Rich, for creating such compelling “hands-on” activities: the ice melt, the “flow” of water, the Flo Mo and all the displays, food and energy!
This was a beautiful way to bring together many different facets of the community to create implementable solutions to the environmental challenges we are all facing!
Thank you for your support, California Arts Council!Older Entries »