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Fieldnotes 4/19

4-6 year olds with Ms. B

9:30-11:30 class

9:10, I walk in at the same time as one of the girls and her mom. 2 more girls arrive within five minutes.

Ms. B (tired, not quite ready for the day), was not happy about the girls arriving so early. She’s not a babysitter, she doesn’t get paid to watch the kids until 9:30, and she’s not responsible for them until then. She is also often doing prep during that time, which means not being in the classroom the entire time, which doesn’t allow her to watch the kids fully.

Ms. B says we should send a message to the parents for next week.

Kids draw when they come in.

Focusing on artist Gene Davis today

Black paper, Ms. B prepped with lots of cut up colored paper

Ms. B starts out by making sure they all put them vertically (very vertically) and right next to each other. Encouraged patterns, hidden, changing, no patterns, etc.

Thought Ms. B seemed to really want them to be “perfect”, the kids took some liberties to make them unique and different, which made me really happy. Ms. B seemed totally okay with they way they came out.

(Later on, when the parents arrived, Ms. B was telling one mom how she really likes her students to be creative and open with their art…Maybe that is her ideals, but it doesn’t always seem to me like she embraces this fully.)

Snack and story time

Ms. B suggested I come up with the lesson for next time! Calder? Mobiles, figures

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Fieldnotes 4/18

K-2nd grade with Ms. A

New term (2nd session)

5 kids usually, only 2 today

(T and R, brothers, from last term), (A, from last term) (D and L, sisters, NEW)

D and L (younger), only 2 who weren’t in the class last term, but they both use to go to Ms. A’s class for two year olds when they were younger.

Both girls have light brown/blonde curly hair.

D older, more talkative, asked lots of questions.

L asked some, but was often looking to her sister.

Ms. A told me their mother was from Spain and that they spoke Spanish at home, though their father couldn’t speak it.

Today: Clay fish (circle fish)

(Sketch of project steps)

For this activity, Amy brought in clay, circle and flower cutters, forks, rolling pins, wooden clay tools, and little cups of water.

First, the clay was handed out and we started banging it, flattening, etc. Ms. A asked D and L why they thought we did that. They made a few guesses, and then I jumped in and explained how it was to get the air bubbles out so that they wouldn’t explode in the kiln. Then Ms. A introduced the project.

Demo: cut 2 circles, close together (sketch), cut line across to make 2 tail pieces (sketch), score tail and combine (sketch), score circles, but tail between and combine (sketch), then make fish face: put line, push hole through for eye (sketch), scales: use finger to push in, tail: lines, etc.

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Fieldnotes 4/12

New Spring term this week. (still working with Ms. A and Ms. B)

4-6 yr olds with Ms. B


New boy, E (now there are two boys in the class)

E and A (girl) go to school together

E seems relaxed, gets to drawing in sketchbook right away, talks with other kids, tells me his full first name, but he goes by the shortened version

Today: Matisse Fishbowl paintings (sketch). Mixed Media, pink paint table and background, tempera paint patterns, tank, etc. Paper leaves and flowers, red tissue paper flowers in background

More planned out than usual, Ms. B mentions to me, I agree, comment that’s especially good for the first day. (she laughs, jokingly offended by my comment…)

Paint for the first half, then wash up

Story and snack: Ms. B reads while I clean up

E doesn’t want to sit during story time (he doesn’t have a snack), seems comfortable (happy?) standing for this time

After story, go to gallery. New show of animal art

Play I Spy (introduce to Eli, he asks and makes sure that everyone gets a chance)

Rather overexcited in the gallery, larger class, moving around a lot, not slowly, hiding things behind pedestals

Back to rom, add paper and tissue paper to paintings. When finished, kids go into other room to play (as usual) Some don’t feel like playing, stay and draw in sketchbooks. One doesn’t want to play or draw, seemed content to sit with us while others drew. 

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Fieldnotes 3/28

In between terms at the art center, there is a one week Spring Break camp, where students can sign up for morning, afternoon, or full days of classes for one or more of the 4 days (M-Th).

C (head of children's programs) asked me to come in and help out for Spring Break! I showed up on Thurs. morning, not knowing what class, who I would be working with, etc. C comes out, says theres a clay class and a jewelry class. I have more recent expreience with clay (I haven't done jewelry since I was much younger), but C mentioned that the Jewelry teacher seemed overwhelmed by the number of students who signed up for her class, while the clay instructor was okay with a large class, so I went to Jewelry.

She was very happy to have a helper. She hadn't arrived to prep as early as she would have liked, so she ahd a lot for me to do and put me to work almost immediately, to prep materials. I was super happy to be useful.

Older teacher, 50s maybe.

For the spring break classes, all ages sign up for any classes, so this class had a v wide range: 4-12. At first I thought it would be insane for 4 yr olds to learn to use jewelry tools, let alone be in the same class as 12 yr olds (and vice versa), but it actually worked out pretty well, each child managed to scaffold the activities to their own level (easy to do w/ each project).

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Fieldnotes 3/22 (2nd class)

After school class with Ms. A

Tie die paper

Last day!

I arrive in class and Ms. A asks me if I want to lead the class today. Though I had no idea what the lesson was that she ahd planned, so she quickly shows me, and demos/I do it and I'm ready to introduce it to the class! She prefaced the class as a whole (she is still in charge), but allowed me to instruct the demo and really show them what we were going to do: we did it together, I demo'd and presented each step, while she wrote down the steps, so they could remember more easily.

I was incredibly pleased that Amy asked me to lead. It was natural and notintimidating, really, at all. The only thing was that I didn't entirely know/understand her lesson plan, so I was a bit unsure of the second half of her lesson plan, so I was a bit unsure of the 2nd half of her lesson, but with her there, it was okay. If I had simply been given the plan and the materials to teach on my own, I might have tweaked it a little, but because she was still there, I treated it a bit more jointly and put more faith in a plan I had doubts about. Because she was there to help/answer questions, it worked out well.

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Fieldnotes 3/22

2yr olds with Ms. A


Gold and Silver this week

last week: only B and gma E, all the colors (Rainbow day)

Glitter on clay starts and moons, add glitter to paint and paint on paper

Only S and mom B and B and gma E today

Working more with glitter

Ms. A and I each would work with one of the pairs, switching off throughout class. Much more relaxed, natural at this point (last day of term). 

Like private lessons (child + parent + teacher)

From the beginning of my placement to now, I've grown so incredibly comfortable in this setting (2 yr olds and adults) and esp with S and mom B. Looking back to the start, when I had never worked with students as young as two, I was very anxious. Now I could easily see myself continuing to work with this age group on a regular basis. 

I am very sad to end this class and to stop working with this particular group of students and adults. I'm still unsure of where I want to go in the future in arts education: schools (full-time), museums, or art centers. Relationships with students are so important to me, as well as reaching "the masses". I'm still really leaning towards piecing things together: maybe working at a museum in education, teaching at art centers/privately on the side

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Went to a 2nd grade class at a quaker school. Teacher A (15 students, 3 teachers)

12:45 back from recess, moment of silence

12:50 person of the week (Every Friday)

Introduce me to the class, "we have so many teachers" "I wish we could have a million teachers"

Reminder of commenting

Girl (S) sits in front of class, shows large pictures of herself: on a sports team, on a trip

(sketch of room and student set up)

Thoughts to bring back to my placement from this class: kids interacting with each other, asking/answering questions

other kids listening, looking on mostly silently, just a little restless, moving chairs, playing with tape

Teacher A: "You did a great job of listening and not commenting"

ready for comments, many instantly put their hands up

ex: where did you make the sandcastle? what did it look like?

1 or 2 adults came to the door throughout Person of the Week, Students don't really notice/react

Teacher A: "It makes people feel good when ppl ask questions!"

1:05 Choice Time: look at S's stuff, read. shared choice time with other 2nd grade class, relaxed, open environment, not too hectic, but a bit of structure. Some reading, writign, drawing.

Teacher A: when theyre writing during choice time, she's okay telling them how to spell it. She's really just happy that they're choosing to write and read at all.

A little loud, having fun, but not too disruptive

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Fieldnotes 3/7

2 yr olds with Ms. A

Two pairs here: S and mom B, Sl and mom C

C, a 1st grader, who's mom works here, is helping out today

I've grown so incredibly comfortable with these kids and parents, esp. S and her mom B. Throughout the term, S has clearly been becoming more independent from her mother, often specifically asking her not to help and to sit not so close to her. She has, in many of these instances, felt more comfortable with me helping out, allowing me (a non-parent adult) to guide her in her learning. I have never felt this comfortable wiht one specific child (I've never been a baby-sitter). 

In this setting, where a teacher can develop a relationship with a student over time, I find myself shying away from thinks like museum education. While I love being able to reach so many visitors in that way, I then often lose the chance to become close to a child, to observe and guide them more personally through their artistic/creative education. Things like this make me want to be a schol teacher, where I have the opportunity to see students regularly and develop relationships with them.

S was particularly close with me today. At the end of our class, mom B even asked me if I babysit and if I would be available to babysit for S! I was so flattered and happy to have made such a good impression on both the mother and child.

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Fieldnotes 3/1

Modern class with Ms. B

Printmaking! (My concentration!!) Block printing with styrofoam plates

Show images of block prints, mostly animas, woodcuts, etc. b/w only

Ms. B did this with a group at her church last week and it was such a success that she wanted to try it again with this group. 

I cut the center circles out of plates for them. She had stencils of animals for them to trace. Trace in marker, then press image and designs into plate with pens (sketch) whale, squirrel, coyote

Some kids continued to draw, design with markers, they didn't quite understand the full concept of the printmaking

Maybe if Ms. B had done a full demo at the beginning??

I suggested that they check to see if they pressed hard enough with the pen by running their fingers over the designs.

Challenging concept, but they managed to complete.

Once completed designs, Ms. B and I had to go around to check whether they pushed in enough. I went over many lines myself, to make sure their image could be printed.

Then printed! One by one, they had to make a line. I helped roll the ink, Ms. B helped printing the plate onto paper. Some kids wanted to do 2 or 3 prints.

Wash hands, snack and story time

A's birthday, brownies

Walk over to big gallery art show. Radnor residents. Ms. B had 2 paintings. 

They see a nude painting showing a butt, they are all very amused. "It's a BUTT!"

Ms. B and I: everyone has a butt there's nothing funny about it. 

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Fieldnotes 2/28 (2nd class)

After school art class

Cross-visitation with R

The turtles came back from the kiln sooner than expected, so we were able to glaze them today.

R and I arrive. kids sitting on floor around A, as she talks to them about glaze, over glaze and habitats

Agenda: paint/glaze turtles, wait to dry, make habitats for turtles, white sandwhich bags. Side 1: name and something that reminds us of you. T: rainbows. C and R: playing together. Side 2: turtle habitat, where a turtle would live, water, etc. overglaze turtles (green shiny glaze)

Table 1 (glaze) --> Table 2 (habitat) --> Table 1 (over-glaze)

on table 2: Ms. A drew some images to help kids with ideas og where a turtle might live, underwater

seaweed, fish, sand, water, etc. she asked R and I to add to the drawings. Castle, starfish, coral reef

Working one-on-one with many kids in this class. T and R (brothers) especially they seem to need more attention. I was working with R on his habitat drawing. He wanted to draw an anchor, asked me how. I couldn't quite remember what they looked like, draw ___, then looked it up on my phone ___, drew example on table, then he copied it, and wasn't too happy with it.

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