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San Rafael, California 94901
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First Graders Create Beautiful Animals and Their Habitats

In only six weeks, First graders at San Ramon School worked with Mentor Artist Julia James to create very personal masterpieces.

PLAYGROUND  DESIGN: Magical play spaces

Students were given the opportunity to design and build a model of a new playground for the first grade. Students began with sharing ideas about what is important for a playground.

 

CREATING ANIMALS AND HABITATS

Students researched any animal and its habitat. They collaborated by sharing ideas, supplies, tools and art. The final habitats were amazing!

Fooling the King! And many more at Harding Elementary

By YIA Mentor Artist Thomas Arndt

 

IMG_7511“I’m BORED.  BORED, BORED, BORED!!!” exclaimed the king, slouched in his throne with his chin on his fist.  And what a grumpy face he had!  The other actors worked very hard to fool him, and finally it was the little girl who saved the day!  ”Fooling the King” was one of many new short plays that my two Harding classes worked with for the past several weeks, and they did a wonderful job.

In the first weeks, we built trust and basic acting skills – especially focusing on using strong, clear voices and using one’s body to express emotion.  We also declared our classes a “Judgment-Free Zone” and had some great discussions about what is so scary in 6th Grade about performing in front of others.  Once we had that discussion, we were able to check in every day with how the class was doing at supporting each other.  We had a great day with “Building a Machine,” in which we eventually built a machine full of noise and movement using every single person in the room.  In this case, no one had to worry about being watched because they were all busy acting.IMG_7507

My goal for each class is always to have each student grow in some way at their own level.  Especially in the last 3 weeks while we worked on our short plays, I saw each kid finding more strength in their voice and more expression in their character.  One student had the most stage fright I’ve ever seen.  We got him to take small steps.  First, he decided to be the Stage Manager.  Then, he rehearsed but didn’t perform.  And finally, he performed off stage, using a microphone as the Narrator.  I think it was a huge success.  I also saw many students who struggled with reading growing stronger as they did the same short play 3 weeks in a row- once they knew their lines, they really opened up!

And overall, we just had a great time performing Fooling the King, My Teacher Ate My Homework, Wayne the Stegosaurus, Sometimes Arthur Is Choosy, Hershele Gets a Meal, and I Call First!

Live Music… in History Class!

This month, 7th graders at Davidson Middle School had very unusual History class! Professional musicians Shira Kammen, Michelle Levy, and Jim Oakden played an assortment of medieval instruments for them (including vielles, harps, bagpipes, drums, recorders, and voice) as students learned about life and culture in Medieval Europe.

IMG_0048 The artists made a special effort to make the 1000-year old music relevant and interesting to Middle School kids. “If you ever want to make music for movies and video games,” Levy explained,  ”you need to learn an instrument, and you need to know about Medieval Music.”

The artists showed a powerpoint presentation which illustrated concept art and music for movies like “The Hobbit” and video games such as “The Legend of Zelda” and “Braid”, and described how this media is influenced by Medieval art, music, and mythology. “To create a realistic instruments for an imaginary time that takes place long ago,” Levy explained, “artist John Howe drew Medieval and Renaissance instruments for Dwalin & Bofur to play in The Hobbit.” Students saw actual medieval illuminations of people playing instruments from important  Medieval manuscripts such as the Codex Manesse (Germany) and the Cantigas de Santa Maria (Galicia), followed by live demonstrations of those IMG_0054same instruments.

Through this multi-media demonstration, focusing on the main social structures in Europe during the Middle Ages and their impact on music and everyday life, students learned to identify where a piece might have been played in Europe and what role it served in the community, and they developed critical thinking skills and vocabulary while experiencing the music of the time on historical instruments. It was a history class they will never forget!

Imagining Friendship’s Second Annual Exhibit Opening

Creative young artists from Bahia Vista Elementary School in San Rafael, their families, teachers and friends filled Youth in Art’s gallery opening night, April 10th in celebration of the second annual “Imagining Friendship” Art Exhibit.

Some 145 people experienced the kid-friendly art world that showcased work created by students in the Walker Rezaian Creative HeArts Kindergarten Arts program at Bahia Vista Elementary.

Inspired young artists, their siblings and friends explored a castle art structure, crawled through a dinosaur tunnel, played interactive tic-tac-toe, created personalized books. These cardboard creations incorporating drawings, paintings and sculptures were inspired by the kids’ creativity and imagination.

The kindergartners shared their lively watercolor self-portraits and welcomed their families into their world of creativity and wonder.

Mentor Artist Suzanne Joyal said, “The weekly art classes leading up to tonight’s art opening are magical. I love seeing these young artists blossom and grow. Seeing smiles on the faces of these kids and their proud parents is the perfect culmination of three months of creativity, sharing and learning.”

Bahia Vista kindergarten teacher Tara Pauley said, “Wednesday’s have been my student’s favorite day of the week. They looked forward to exploring ideas about their feelings and friendships through their artwork and were always excited to see what fun and creative art projects Ms. Suzanne would bring into the classroom.”

The Rezaian family, surrounded by the young Bahia Vista artists and their creations, experienced first hand the magical results their generosity. The memory of their son Walker lives in the artistry and imagination these students created.

This celebration of the brilliance of the Bahia Vista children’s art could not happen without the generous support of Walker’s family. Their gift brings families together and symbolizes the importance of art within a community. Bahia Vista School is the second recipient of the Walker Rezaian Creative HeArts Fund, following last year’s Loma Verde Elementary School in San Rafael.

The Walker Rezaian Creative HeArts Kindergarten Arts Program was created through a partnership between Youth in Arts and the Walker Rezaian Creative HeArts Fund, celebrating 5-year-old Walker Rezaian’s life and love for art. Youth in Arts worked with his family to create a kindergarten visual arts program focused on the theme of friendship. The Fund has provided all Bahia Vista kindergartners this year with professional instruction in the visual arts, along with workshops for parents and teachers.

Bahia Vista was selected for this program through a competitive application process. Click here for information about applying for the 2015-16 academic year.

Art inspires: Help young artists learn to share their vision and voices through the arts. Give today.

Special thanks to Peter Rodgers for capturing the photographs and joy of the evening

Family, Optimism and Friendship at Bahia Vista Elementary

This week Youth in Arts celebrated art and friendship with Kindergarten students and their families at Bahia Vista Elementary School.   Optimism and friendship are two important themes in Kindergarten and YIA Mentor Artist and Program Director Suzanne Joyal lead families in an family niteevening creating art around these topics.

We started out talking about how we can be good friends and singing a song in Spanish and American Sign Language about friendship with YIA Mentor Artist Nydia Gonzalez.  Sharing, supporting, listening, respecting and playing were definitely important and students made it clear that they feel great when with a good friend!

Teacher Suzanne then lead everyone in creating a beautiful Tree of Hopes, adorned with drawings depicting everyone’s hopes and dreams for the future.

For the past few months YIA Mentor Artist and Program Director Suzanne Joyal has been teaching all 7 Kindergarten classes a visual arts curriculum geared around the themes of friendship in honor of the life of Walker Rezaian.

Kindergarten teacher Mrs. Pauley reflected on the past few months, “This program has helped each of my students learn a new way to express themselves, build self-confidence and discover the amazing artist within them.  We feel so thankful to have gotten this experience and are happy for the next bunch of kids that get to work with you.”

Youth in Arts WRLogoForBLOGExecutive Director Miko Lee has announced that applications are open for the 2015-16 Walker Rezaian Creative HeArts Kindergarten Arts Program. “We are thrilled to continue this program next year.” said Lee. “We look forward to sharing the experience with another low income school in memory of Walker.  We have had a wonderful partnership with Walker’s family in creating this program and providing life long learning tools for so many children in our area.”

Interested Title I schools in Marin County should apply by May 18. Apply here.

The Walker Rezaian Creative HeArts Fund is a project of the Walker Rezaian Memorial Fund. Youth in Arts is a nonprofit established in 1970. The leading arts education nonprofit in the North Bay, Youth in Arts offers students experiences and instruction in the visual and performing arts, and enriches the community with cultural events.

 

Photosynthesis, We Really Need This!

Youth in Arts is so excited to release our album of songs from Photosynthesis, The Musical!

The songs are all available for free download on the Bandcamp website.  Inspired by Living Sunlight: How Plants Bring the Earth to Life by Molly Bang & Penny Chisholm, the songs were  written and composed by Youth in Arts staff and Mentor Artist Miguel Martinez to accompany our theater show Photosynthesis, The Musical.  In this tale of a Magical journey, students and their science teacher Ms. Frizzle travel to a world where they can experience and understand the processes and importance of photosynthesis; transforming their skepticism and boredom into understanding and enthusiasm!

Join us in celebrating the magic of photosynthesis with these fun songs.  Miguel Martinez, Nydia Gonzalez, together with a talented group of singers and musicians, sing songs that teach us about how plants make energy, sugar, fiber and how the sun keeps life circling ’round.  Help to bring science alive and sing along with us!

Thanks to the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation for making this recording possible and accessible to all! www.moore.org

If you are interested in learning more about how Youth in Arts can bring the magic of photosynthesis to your school with arts, contact us at yia@youthinarts.org

http://youthinarts.bandcamp.com/album/photosynthesis-the-musical

Circles at San Jose Middle School

By YIA Mentor Artist Sophie Cooper

The final piece, inspired by Wassily Kandinsky's Color Study: Squares With Concentric Circles, will be hung in the classroom to brighten the lives of the students and staff. This

The final piece, inspired by Wassily Kandinsky’s Color Study: Squares With Concentric Circles, will be hung in the classroom to brighten the lives of the students and staff. Oil pastel and watercolor on canvas.

Inspired by Nature, College of Marin

By YIA Mentor Artist Sophie Cooper

Hip Hop with Common Core at Bahia Vista

by Mentor Artist Kaitlin McGaw

In my first teaching artist residency with Youth in Arts, I customized a Common Core/Hip Hop series for four kindergarten classes at Bahia Vista Elementary School in San Rafael’s Canal area.

Dynamite-BahiaVista Alphabet Rockers

Since my songs and curriculum can cross over various topics [shapes, coins, letters, letter sounds, writing, fitness, nutrition, math, etc.], it was a joy to work with our partner educators to focus the workshops on the needs of the students as they closed their first year of school.
As many of the students were learning English as a central part of their school experience, the objectives for the artist residency were to include language proficiency in the ability to retell a story, and a performance of understanding of math terms (less/more). We also wanted to support and augment student opportunities in self-expression.

I used several of the songs from my curriculum to meet these goals, which are outlined at the bottom. In the first week, the students were perhaps a bit shy, learning many new words, formats, and dances with me. By week two, our progress was underway. Our name game “Do Your Thing” gives each student the opportunity to say their name with a dance movement, rhythm or gesture: “I’m Kaitlin… I do my thing!” and hear the class say the name and mirror the movement: “She’s Kaitlin… she does her thing!”

For kindergarteners, learning he/she and do/does are elements of language acquisition. But more interestingly was watching some of the students really come out of their shell over the weeks together, saying their name louder each time. We always give students the option to “pass” – but oftentimes the “pass” I found was merely to provide the student just a few more seconds to think about the gesture or dance move they wanted to share with the class.

Food Calculator Dance Prep

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Food Calculator is an original song we wrote in my group Alphabet Rockers. The song includes learning the b-boy move “the wave” along with learning less/more and healthy food choices. For the purposes of this residency, I added a story about the rockstar who brings 1 food each day to share with her friends. (Monday is 1 apple, Tuesday is 2 grapes)  The students fill in the blanks for what the foods are. At the end of the story, there is a number sense element played out as they bite 1 apple, pick 2 grapes and retell the order of the foods to the teaching artist. We then use a food calculator to decide which snacks were healthy before going into the actual song as a dance. The kids absolutely adored this song and loved performing it and singing it with me.

At the end of the residency, the students performed for one another, learning terms for “audience” and “performers” as well as expected behavior for both within the arts world. The boys performed “Dynamite” for the girls, and vice versa. They then shared compliments with one another with what they noticed in the performance. It was an opportunity to celebrate the students’ strengths while also reinforcing the ability to say a complete sentence, such as “Josue – I like the way you danced.”

I look forward to working with additional schools to customize curriculum for music/movement with Common Core goals, including adding in beatboxing and rhythm and making letters with our bodies as a way to reinforce early literacy.

Here are the songs I used for the residency:

  • Good Morning Song [Listen here: http://www.alphabetrockers.com/music]
  • Do Your Thing [watch teachers do it here: http://vimeo.com/85632098]
  • Dynamite [Watch here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jepxZWR3EH0]
  • Food Calculator [Listen here: http://www.alphabetrockers.com/music]
  • Shape Rap [Watch here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1zxwLSjCfaI]
  • Rhythm Games through “Can I Kick It” by A Tribe Called Quest

Renaissance Drawing at Davidson Middle School

By Mentor Artist Gabrielle Gamboa

As part of the Travel the World program, I conducted a fun and challenging Renaissance Drawing workshop for the 7th Grade History students of Davidson Middle School in San Rafael. This two day workshop was a hands-on lesson in Renaissance artists and their unique innovations. After a discussion of the apprenticeship system of the era, students chose a Michelangelo or Leonardo da Vinci master drawing to copy on tinted charcoal paper. I talked about how copying a master drawing was an important exercise in an apprentice’s studio education!

Each master drawing came with a transparent grid that we then copied on the charcoal paper. Next, we discussed the types of drawing tools used during the Renaissance era, and students practiced using vine and compressed charcoal, and sanguine and umber Conte crayons (soft, earth toned colored pencils.)

I then demonstrated the technique of making a more accurate copy by drawing only one small grid square at a time, copying the contours of shapes and lines, and then adding shading. I demonstrated how turning an image upside-down can sometimes make it easier to copy clearly. Some students chose to start in pencil and then switch to charcoal or conte, others chose to draw entirely in charcoal and/or conte.

rendraw4 rendraw3 rendraw2 rendraw1

This lesson directly connected to their history studies, and the students were impressed at how well the old grid drawing technique worked to make more accurate drawings!

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