Friday, November 25, 2011

Fly Sweet Birdy

This week we bid a bittersweet farewell to a very pregnant Lauren who, after 9 years as my "work wife", is venturing off into a blissful world of her own in anticipation of the birth of her son.

Everyone is asking me, "How are you doing?" And I reply that I feel as though I have gone through a break-up that I saw coming and therefore have prepared myself.

The sadness and drama have passed and I have met the reality of the situation with a clear head.  Of course, there is a bit of avoidance in really thinking too deeply about what this means.  I am sure that on Monday morning I will feel the lack of her presence immensely and my heart will ache a bit.

But knowing that she is embarking on a brilliant stage in her life trumps the sadness and brings me joy.

Tell your baby hello.
Our first graders made her cards to say goodbye and wish her family well. Their drawings of a pregnant Lauren with the "baby inside" are too precious.

I will finish the school year alone.  I am sure I will be fine but I will certainly miss being part of a fabulous team.  And with that, I will end this post.  Emotions are springing up to the surface and I'd prefer to heed the advice of Scarlett O'Hara and think about it tomorrow.

Lauren, I love you!  You will be missed.  xo

Saturday, November 12, 2011

The Art of Todd Parr

Children's book author Todd Parr is an incredible artist. He is also incredibly humble.

Todd often tells children that they too can create art that is just as good as his, all they have to do is try.

So, when it came time to collaborate with our artist in residence (Margaret Phelan from The Children's Museum of the Arts) on an upcoming art project, I suggested we do something based on the art of Todd Parr.

I shared a few of Todd's children's books with Margaret, who was immediately smitten, and before our meeting was over she had decided that it would be fun to make masks with the children based on Todd's book It's Okay to be Different.

How cool is that?

Margaret began by having the students examine his art with a focus on color, shape and detail.  Todd uses bright, happy colors and he uses a thick black outline in his work.  Children asked, "Where are the noses?" and commented on the "funny hair".

And then as Todd suggests, they gave it a try!

Some children created a mask to represent themselves or a family member, while others wanted to design an alien or a cat like Todd's Cool Kitty.  I even gave it a go and created a baby version of myself (not what I intended but I went with it - art is not my forte).

After several weeks we completed our project and mounted a bright, happy and gorgeous display.

Thanks Todd for being an inspiration to our students!

Below is a brief slide show of our process.  Enjoy...

"Be imaginative! Be kind! Feel good about yourself!" - Todd Parr


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