What does “Art in the 21st Century” mean? How has art changed in the real world? The utilization of artist skills and creativity by companies has always been a important to innovation and marketing. While some basic knowledge remains timeless, many of the modern art skills involve integrations with science, technology, engineering, and math. You may recognize those words, since they are the basis for the acronym STEM. Art is a key area to integrate STEM.
What are some of the art aspects that remain timeless? I mentioned above that some aspects of art remain timeless. We focused on developing these skills through much of last semester, including developing a basic understanding of the elements of design and the principles of design.
What are some art aspects that are new or receive greater emphasis in the 21st century? We are applying the knowledge we gained in first semester to a couple of graphic design projects. These days, graphic design skills are useful in a variety of professions. How many of us have had to use photoshop at one time or another? At this point, having at least basic graphic design competency can be a helpful skill in a variety of career paths.
What are some other examples of STEM inspired art projects? Engineering has a lot of connections to art. We are considering involving the middle school students to plan and build a greenhouse for the school. We will involve science, technology, engineering, and math. This project is still in the works, so stay tuned!
I’m in San Diego, hanging out with friends and family. I asked advice about this blog, and my husband suggested the title. Why? He pointed out that I’m enjoying seeing all the place names and hearing random conversations in Spanish. They happen to have fallen into exactly those two categories!
Why is it important to learn languages? There are so many reasons, but the pure pleasure that I get from being where I see and hear a lot of Spanish is one that I hope our students grow into. It has happened a lot in Alaska for me with my main language (Russian), and now that I’m working on acquiring Chinese, it is happening with that language too. I feel powerful when I can suddenly understand a few words that people are speaking near me, or know how to make a comment in a restaurant where folks speak Mandarin. Spanish is so common here in San Diego that it’s not unusual, but it’s lovely to hear the lisp of speakers from Spain, the jjj of the “ll” from Argentinians, and the range of accents from those of other countries. My family always gets a little worried when I approach people to ask where they’re from, but I always feel it’s fair to alert others that I know the language they’re speaking, especially when topics are a bit … salty. And after that introduction, we typically get into an interesting conversation or I find that I can help in some way.
The little video that is attached to this blog is from a few seconds in second grade when I offered students the chance to hear and respond to language that they understand in a fun way. They are acting out lines of a story that they wrote about one of the students’ stuffies. (Everyone has a favorite, and each animal is getting a personal story.) This particular story is about a germ (el microbio) who has no mouth and therefore can’t do some fun things: eat, drink, or speak Spanish. He steals one student’s mouth, and another student gives him one, but then he’s still unhappy, because they can’t talk with him!
If I do my job well, students will eventually not only understand me, but they’ll be able to understand random bits of conversations they happen to overhear. It’s my hope that they will have the same pleasure that I gain. Instead of ignoring a blur of incomprehensible syllables, they’ll feel a kinship with people of another culture, able to share a moment or offer help as needed.
In January, the Martin Luther King, Jr. Annual Show was hung. I would like to thank Rachel Botson for her help mattting, labelling, and hanging the exhibition. An artist herself, in the fields of painting and sculpture, she has been an invaluable assistant for the Art Program. Thank you very much, Rachel!
This semester, we have continued our art discussions, critiques, and the creation of new work. Teachnology is included in the context of the lesson, especially when discussing art history. This year many more images have come onto the public domain and are available for download. Some of the museums that offer lessons and art history resources are the National Gallery of Art, the Met and the MOMA. I enjoy going to NYC every year and visiting the museums.
More specifically, the Early Childhoood has been working on drawing and painting Arctic animals. The Kindergarten has been maskmaking, and are studying the Polynesian cultures, with a focus on the Maori of New Zealand, Soon we will carve our Maori designs in soap. After that, paper-mache' sculpture is in line.
The First Grade have been working intensively on their paintings interpreting Mil Memorias. We have discussed theatre, movement/dance, and music as part of our understanding the song. I worked with them on my techniques for developing work from literature and music. We are collaborating with Senora Whaley who provided the song. In Art class we have constructed paintings using calligraphy, and 1960's/70's hard edge techniques, with a mention of Minimalism and Color Field movements in art.
The Second and Third Grades are working in paper-mache'. The Second are constructing hanging sculptures, and the Third are making masks.
The Fourth and Fiifth Grades are taking thwir woodburnings home. Thanks to Steve and Chris Nyman, we have wood for this, cut from cottonwood and birch. The Fifth Garde finished their paintings inspired by Guernica, a wonderful collaboration with Senora Whaley.
Beginners through Fifth Grades are working toward the Annual Spring Show, held the first week of May.
Art Notes from Brenda Jaeger:
Presently the Georgia Blue Gallery has my painting "Forest Wind" in a group show at Jens Restaurant. I also participated in the LEWK silent auction and show at the Georgia Blue Gallery, where the proceeds are used for gynecological cancer research.
I have a show at Advanced Physical Therapy in Wasilla; and will have work in the Robert Service-themed show at Humdinger's Artisan Pizza in Palmer. I'm continuing teaching private lessons in my art studio, which is still under construction. Recently I sold and shipped artwork to buyers in Washington state and Missouri.
Floor hockey was a blast these past few weeks. The kids are always excited about the hockey unit and this year didn't dissapoint.
What Accounts for Acquisition Speed in Learners? An alternate title for this blog might well be, “Why is my husband acquiring Chinese four times faster than I am?”
No one knows why some people acquire languages faster than others. Studies would be problematic, unless a hundred or a thousand people all lived together and documented their activities for anywhere from a year to four or ten years. Even then, one would have to control for many variables, among them language aptitude, working memory, prior languages learned, gender, age, language being studied, and language being acquired.
Those who teach with Comprehensible Input methods have demonstrated for three decades now that skilled teachers who meet regularly with students can bring their classes to levels they had not been able to reach with traditional methods. Here is a definition problem. What does “skilled” mean, and what are “traditional methods”? And who exactly is measuring?
Aspects affecting rate of acquisition, including socioeconomic level, age, class size, class frequency, teacher preparation, access to resources, and others, vary in classrooms across the US. However, three areas have been studied more than others: working memory, motivation, and language aptitude,
Students cannot control their processing speed. If they are fast processors, they can typically understand a phrase faster than others at their level. If their working memory can store more information than others can, they will be able to hold phrases from a new language in their head longer, process them, and then respond to them more dependably. It would seem that having a better working memory would result in being able to acquire language faster. Strangely, there is no proof that having better working memory improves speed in acquisition.
Motivation similarly does not have a clear effect on the speed of language acquisition.
And as it turns out, students who have stronger language aptitude do have better results in language learning, but only for that language as it applies to classroom talk and grades. The improved rate does not hold up outside the classroom.
If you’d like to hear about these differences from linguist Bill VanPatten, go to this link for the Talkin’ L2 with BVP podcast and listen from minute 9:48 through 21:57. (You can move the time control to the first point.)
The variable that students can control is the amount--and kind--of input they get in the language. As readers know, this teacher is focused on providing input that students understand. Students who want to acquire a language can search for language at their level. But to speed up language acquisition, there has to be more comprehended input in the same period.
So to go back to the alternate title, here is a story. A language teacher and her husband begin taking Chinese lessons together. The language teacher speaks three languages, and her husband speaks seven or eight. When she mentions that he seems to drink up languages, friends nod knowingly, saying, “He’s got that musician’s ear.” (They forget that the teacher is also a musician.) She adds that he began life speaking Japanese, added English, then Italian, later German, French, and Spanish. On a trip to Russia, he magically began speaking Russian, and whenever the two were visiting the teacher’s relatives in Holland, he was quickly able to speak Dutch -- her first language -- better than she.
The teacher expects that her husband will acquire Chinese faster than she will. And by the third lesson, taught by a highly skilled teacher through Comprehensible Input methods, she finds that she was right. He answers the Chinese teacher in full sentences. He answers questions faster than his wife can comprehend them.
But then the teacher realizes that it isn’t just the faster processing speed, the number of other languages, the fact that the husband walks around all day babbling to the dog, the washing machine, and the kitchen in Chinese. It is also the input. He has been getting himself hours of daily input. He watches children’s Chinese lessons on TV and his iPad. He listens to the videos of the Chinese lessons and the extra resource lessons the Chinese teacher has provided. He goes to sleep listening to podcasts about and in the Chinese language. Where she has spent up to (but not always) six hours a week, he has spent at least four hours a day -- that’s about as much as a Chinese high school student gets in a week, if you consider typical public school interruptions -- for three weeks now. That’s 84 hours of input, nearly half a year’s worth of classroom hours. She has spent 18 hours getting input.
Comprehensible input is critical. But the amount of comprehensible input also matters. What does this mean for students? It means that they are going to acquire more during class if everyone is focused, allowing the language to flow (this also requires the teacher to speak so that they understand). They will acquire faster if they listen to classroom songs and read texts they understand on their own time. Students will acquire (any language) faster if they are encouraged and motivated to spend more time using materials that give them comprehensible input. The teacher’s job is to provide them with input and resources. The students are in charge of their own acquisition after that.
This teacher is going to make sure that she starts getting more comprehensible Chinese in her day. She wants to be ready to talk with the teachers she meets in China next summer. In Chinese!
The past weeks before Winter Break have been quite eventful to say the least! The classrooms are all decorated, spirits are high, and our students buzz around the room like sugar plum fairies... quite literally. 'What an excellent opportunity to teach them about the great Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker Suite!' I thought to myself. And thus began my lesson plans.
Disney's 'Fantasia' is always a holiday classic. Not only is it adorable, featuring mushrooms that dance along to Tchaikovsky's Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairies, but it actually educates the students on the topic of classical music! Thus far, we've learned about Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker Suite, Stravinsky's Firebird Suite, Dukas' Sorcerer's Apprentice... and many more!
Besides learning about composers of the Classical and Romantic Era, we've been giving back and showing our gratitude to our family here at PNA! We've been having card and ornament exchanges, playing team building games, (while listening to our favorite movements of the Nutcracker Suite of course...) and having the occasional snow dance in hopes that we will have a white holiday season once again! It has been a wonderful and much needed break from our studies for us since the Winter Concert...
On that note, I wanted to thank all of you who came out to the Winter Concert. These wonderful students worked hard to put on that show and I can't tell you how proud I am of of them all. I look forward to putting together our next show in the Spring! See you all then!
Wishing you all a joyous holiday season!