Last week Lamplighter had the privilege of welcoming local watercolor artist Erika Roberts to our campus for a day long workshop exploring the beauty of watercolor paintings. Mrs. Roberts is a mixed media artist whose work primarily explores different avenues of the southern landscape. In her workshop, Mrs. Roberts shared the wonder of watercolor and oil pastels with our students as they created their own Memphis skyline paintings.
Our morning started with Mrs. Roberts giving a formal presentation about herself and her work, sharing with our students the progression of abstract to completely recognizable content, followed by very eager questions from all of our students. Immediately after Mrs. Roberts conducted customized workshops for our students from Early Childhood all the way to Upper Elementary.
Upper and Lower Elementary classes each had sessions where Mrs. Roberts gave a formal demonstration and assisted with students as they created a skyline of their very own. With the usage of oil pastels, students were able to see the merger of oil and water as their paintings took shape. As she made her rounds to all of the children, Mrs. Roberts provided a brief introduction into the connection between color and emotion, demonstrating how saturation and hue can provide incredible insight into how an artist was feeling when they produced their work.
Later in the afternoon, Mrs. Roberts welcomed our Early Childhood students into the MakerSpace for a less formal exploration of watercolors. Students were provided stencils to jumpstart their skylines and then allowed color and water to breathe life into their paintings. We are incredibly fortunate at Lamplighter to have had such a specialized artist come and share their knowledge and skillset with our students, who in every account blossomed in the room as each workshop took place.
Each class learned about different aspects of Memphis, from the history of businesses like Piggly Wiggly and FedEx, to information about the riverboats and railroads.
We learned about the Memphis Belle and compared it with a model of a FedEx plane. We tried to lift a cobblestone and highlighted the contrasting textures when we touched the cotton.
We learned about Yellow Fever, got All Shook Up with Elvis, and listened to a sampling of tracks recorded at Stax. We asked each other Memphis trivia questions, and shared our favorite things about our city.
Thanks so much for choosing our school to host the World Cargo Crate, Memphis in May! We are excited to continue to learn about and celebrate our city this year.
Today’s Visiting Artist was our very own Sydney Prather! Ms. Sydney helps in Toddler classes and with After Care, so she’s a familiar face at our school. Many students didn’t know that Ms. Sydney’s passion is Musical Theater, and that she has 15 years experience as an actress, and 5 years as a director and choreographer. She gave presentations about musical theater before holding customized workshops for students from Early Childhood to Upper Elementary!
Ms. Sydney led character study sessions for Early Childhood students. They listened to “I Just Can’t Wait to Be King” from the Lion King and identified the different characters they heard, as well as the emotions that came across in the vocals. Students practiced expressing different emotions vocally and through facial expressions. Then they walked to the music, first as themselves, then as different animals. It was so fun to move our bodies in ways we have seen and imagined animals doing! Check out how well they moved on Facebook.
Later in the day, kindergarteners had a chance to expand on this animal movement lesson. They learned moves Ms. Sydney choreographed especially for them! Check out the video of their routine on Facebook.
Lower and Upper Elementary students learned a dance created by Ms. Sydney, piece by piece. They made sure their faces were expressive while they followed the steps. They learned about staging as they put it all together and performed “Revolting Children” from Matilda the Musical. Teachers and staff were invited to see their final performance, which you can see on Facebook.
Bonus: Ms. Sydney is starting a musical theater club at Lamplighter! Lower and Upper Elementary students can enroll. The club will meet Thursdays from 3:30-5:00pm, from January 10th to May 2nd. You can sign up online at bit.ly/MusicalTheaterClub.
[[Note: It’s been quiet on the blog, but busy in MakerSpace! This post was originally supposed to go up on September 28th… whoops!]]
Our Scarecrow Study wrapped up after we talked about shapes we see in art and everyday life. Even though we used over 9,000 round sequins, we created a different shape and structure from them! Students read I Spy Shapes in Art by Lucy Micklethwait, and we took some time to notice all the shapes around us, and what smaller shapes made up larger structures.
This carried over into the start of our Paper study. We used colored paper to make collages, using only our fingers to tear the paper – no scissors! It was challenging but fun to try and rip paper into the exact shapes we wanted. We quickly learned that if you can’t tear the shape you want, you can tear small pieces and glue them into a specific shape on your paper!
Early Childhood classes read Henri’s Scissors by Jeanette Winter, and Lower and Upper Elementary classes read Drawing with Scissors by Jane O’Connor.
Through these books, we learned how Matisse created collages by cutting shapes from painted paper. This inspired us to use scissors for our next set of collages. Matisse is our Artist Study for the Fall gallery show, so you’re seeing our bright, bold collage-inspired paintings when you walk into the school!
To prepare to build our school scarecrow, students have been learning about the history of scarecrows and examples of durable materials.
Students shared what they knew of scarecrows’ design and purpose, and we learned that children in medieval Britain used to act as their own scarecrows! They would stand in the fields and wave their arms to scare away birds. This and other historical instances of humans acting as scarecrows led to our more modern interpretation of scarecrows dressed in human clothes, with lifelike faces. Scarecrows are still used today, and often use technology to help scare off birds with noises and movement.
We designed scarecrows using a variety of supplies in the MakerSpace WonderLab.
Students talked about durable materials, and what we could use to make our scarecrow last outside for two months. Students tested different materials for durability, and built sturdy scarecrow structures that were tall, yet tough to knock over.