ART TO ACTION ON HARWOOD CREEK WITH
MS. RYBA'S THIRD-GRADE CLASS FROM JOHN MUIR SCHOOL
Berkeley, CA; Sessions held during March and April, 2008
With the support of ALICE: Arts and Literacy in Children's Education, John Muir Elementary School third-grade teacher Mahalia Ryba invited me to lead a series of group art-with-nature events on the banks of Harwood Creek, where it flows past the school.
We spent three afternoons making art on the creek bank. On the fourth afternoon, we wrote haiku poetry creekside, then returned to the classroom for closing discussion and planning of this web-based report.
In the student's words, here's a list of what we did:
· Ate lunch together near the creek
· Collected things from nature to use for making art
· Made decisions together and worked together
· Made plans
· Made sculptures by the creek
· Were aware of trying not to fall in the creek and not stepping on others' work
· Named the sculptures
· Stayed on one side of the creek to protect baby plants on the other side
· Used rocks to protect baby plants on our side of the creek
· Told each other about our sculptures
· Told Principal John about our sculptures
· Asked each other questions
· Told each other answers
· Used art vocabulary like "abstract," "line," and "space"
· Took pictures
· Talked about the creek - where it starts and ends, and how to protect it
· Talked about where it's best to wash a car, and why
· Wrote about what we did
· Wrote haiku poems
The project goals included meeting eight Visual Arts Content Standards of the California State Board of Education for third grade. I also trained the classroom teacher, Ms. Ryba, to lead students in collaborative art-making in nature.
For photos, visit the gallery.
Thanks to Marilee Enge (parent volunteer devoted to creek restoration), Steve Healey (Library Technician), and Jody Hanson (parent volunteer who typed children's work).