Wednesday, March 6, 2013
LESSONS LEARNED - AND LOVED
So that is probably why I opened our local paper today and was stunned to see this most interesting picture of a hawk, and then to read the story about it. For it is truly good news!
If you click on this picture, it will enlarge a bit, but you really still won't realize what it is showing until I tell you that you are seeing 675 plus students (and a few teachers and parents) standing on Hawthorne Elementary School property turning themselves into a piece of living art as seen by a photographer in a helicopter overhead.
Led by artist Daniel Dancer and his "Art for the Sky," he describes what we are seeing: "The red-tailed hawk hawk has always been the mascot, so to speak, for Art for the Sky and it was great to bring this bird to life in such a magical way in the region where I grew up. The fact that the bird was bearing the gift of an orange is highly significant because this fruit represents the sun and we are in grave danger these days in our relationship to the sun because of human-caused global warning."
Hawthorne teacher Mariana Robles wrote a grant application for the project after learning about Dancer's work at other schools. A Riverside Educational Enrichment grant made it possible. The upper grade students used geometry concepts to scale the large picture for the field. Other students worked with Dancer to to define the outline in bark and sand on the field. Robles said that a whole bunch of academic and mathematical activities were put into play as the project progressed, all offering good lessons for the children. And probably for some of the parents, as well.
When it was ready, everyone in the school was assigned a place to stand and wore a tee-shirt of the needed color. At that point, up went the helicopter and a video was made. Each participant received a copy of the finished piece of art.
While the primary focus of the project was educational awareness of the environmental issues facing our earth, there was a lesson to learn at every step of the way, not only of the academic sort but also the processes of groups and cooperation and working together -- and art itself.
With all the recent emphasis on teaching to the test, making sure our kids can pass the next test required by law, I often worry that the understanding of art and music and drama and literature are going to dry up and blow away from lack of use. It just did my heart good to read about this very special arty activity that every child in that school became a part of. They will never forget it.
It is good to know that a local school has done such an amazing thing. And it is equally good to know that our local newspaper saw fit to put it right out in front of us so we would have some Good News on the front page when we opened it up this morning.
Thanks, PE. Don't stop!