April proved to be a very friendly month…two of my friends came to spend time with me! It takes quite a bit of devotion to give up more than a week of time and work, and a sizable chunk of weak dollars to come all the way over here to share France with me, but they did it! The first was Sherry, one of my dearest friends.
She’s here! Sheer joy! The adventure has already begun.
Her first morning with us was April First, which in France is Poisson d’Avril. This is a time of practical jokes, consisting almost entirely of children attaching drawings of fish to adults, accompanied by many giggles. Chocolate fish are also frequently given to kids at this time, invariably filled with, well, more fish.
Les petits poissons.
Sherry and I spent some girl-time visiting Arles in Provence. It was a little early for the stereotypical lavender and sunflowers, but it was still lovely. Arles was one of the dirtier, more run-down cities I’ve visited, but it was still charming, and the hunt for Van Gogh sites was a lot of fun.
Our hotel front, which would be striking in another couple of weeks.
The hotel proprietor was very friendly and helpful, and the breakfasts were great, as deluxe continentals. I didn’t take any photos from the room window, though, as I am accustomed to, because it was a very unprepossessing alley. Come visit Arles with us! Continue reading
I love playing with Van Gogh, especially with children, because his powerful lines and strong images are so easy to reach them with. So when I saw Katie’s fall-themed Starry Night for her scarecrow, I was inspired to try something similar with my homeschool class. Our inspiration was “Landscape with Wheat Sheaves and Rising Moon”:
Van Gogh's "Landscape"
We used oil pastels to create our own “Landscape,” but our moons rose over pumpkin patches, with simple persepective showing size changing as we moved from foreground to midground, and attempting to show highlights and shadow relative to our light source. I think these second and third graders did a great job!
I teach homeschoolers. No, it’s not a secret. I just haven’t been talking about them because most often they have been the recipients of my experience with the Faith kids’ projects. They have their own Artsonia: http://www.artsonia.com/schools/school.asp?id=125173 They are great kids, all 7 of them. And they range from kindergarten to 2nd grade, which is actually a bit of a challenge. It is a much greater span of developmental readiness than three grades would suggest! Frankly, kinder alone is a pretty big span. But this week we did projects Faith kids haven’t done yet. I got this clown lesson from DeepSpaceSparkle. The surprise (it seems every project has at least one) was that about half of the kids were very anxious about cutting little paper shapes to make the clown faces. I did provide a large-guage hole punch for round things like noses, because I know how hard it can be for little hands to make circles. But I didn’t expect the dissatisfaction with cutting curved mouths and triangle eyebrows. It wasn’t grade-related, either. I know it was because the shapes were free-form, rather than cutting a drawn line, and these would be my students who don’t easily visualize in their heads. I did show them the trick of turning the paper, not the scissors, to cut a smooth curve. And after a few tears from one student, I finally cajoled them into cutting funny clown faces they were satisfied with. And I loved them all! But it was a GREAT heads-up to be prepared before I present that step to 18 first and second-graders at Faith in a month or so.
The vanGogh sunflowers project isn’t even on the Faith schedule, but I am thinking maybe it should be. It turned out really pretty! I would liked to have had a little more time to cover van Gogh himself, and I needed to teach more overlapping, but I think they are beautiful!
Filed under Art, Teaching