Week 16 - Last Week At Jackson

Jackson Elementary School - Judith Kerrigan-Krodel and Michelle Gholl - 7.00 hours

Today was an emotional day-it was my last day at Jackson Prep! I feel so great about my time here, and the fact that I won't be seeing these lovely students' faces every Wednesday is certainly sad! The students and teachers surprised me with wonderful gifts, including a letter from each student! They were so lovely to look through and I will keep them forever. I am so touched!

I learned so much from my time here, both about myself and the world around me. I learned that I have a lot more patience than I ever thought. I learned that teaching is one of the most tiring and most rewarding jobs! Ms. Gholl and Ms. Kerrigan (and her awesome student teacher Ms. Becker!) taught me so many things about teaching and I can not thank them enough for it! I went into this semester knowing I would learn a lot, but never imagined I would learn and grow this much. 

I also learned a lot from the students! I learned that stopping and paying attention to the small things, such as the way the wind blows or the snow falling, is actually really beautiful and fascinating. I learned that no matter what the situation, there is always a silver lining. Children are so positive and it was wonderful being around them to remember how great the world can be!

Of course I hope to make it back before the school year ends at Jackson, but it is definitely a weird thought that I won't be back every Wednesday. I can't thank the teachers I worked with enough for allowing me to come into their classroom. I had an amazing time and will never forget this experience.

Week 15 - Masks

Week 15 - Masks

Jackson Elementary School - Judith Kerrigan-Krodel and Michelle Gholl - 7.00 hours

This week, I was able to do my lesson plan on Liberian Masks. The students were instructed to create their own decorative masks that were inspired by Liberian culture, since their classrooms will be focusing on Liberia for World Cultures Day. They were also to incorporate different shapes from their math lessons on Geometry that they have been having lately. They used both construction paper and oil pastels. The results from the first graders were amazing!

I taught the lesson in Ms. Gholl's classroom in the morning and in Ms. Kerrigan's in the afternoon. The classes both made really wonderful masks–every single mask looked different and showed the students' personalities. The masks were created with high with shapes and details cut from a high and intensely colored quality fadeless construction paper glued onto individually cut facial shapes from a 90lb neutral charcoal paper. The students were enthusiastic about  working with the oil pastels. It was their first time working with them and they were so excited by how bright the pigments were. I'm so happy I was able to do this lesson and the results are fantastic!

Week 14 - Back at Jackson

Jackson Elementary School - Judith Kerrigan-Krodel and Michelle Gholl - 7.00 hours

I was so happy to be back at Jackson this week! The students had that same wonderful and vibrant energy that I always look forward to. They are studying shapes in Math class through Geometry. There was this really cool program on their iPads called Geoboards that allowed them to draw out geometric shapes. Some students made really cool drawings out of geometric shapes!

In the afternoon, the students tried out a program called Seesaw, where students can upload their work to a personal page and the students each get their own QR code. The parents scan the code and access the page through the Seesaw app! It's a really cool way for parents to stay up to date with what their kids are up to!

I'll be teaching a lesson next week–I can't wait!

Week 13 - Spring/Summer Fever?

Unfortunately, I was not able to make it to the classroom this week since I woke up on Wednesday morning not feeling well!! This means I do not have too much to talk about since I was not able to make it into the classroom. I was really sad!! I love being in the classroom each week and with Jackson's Spring Break being last week, it has been two weeks! 

I was able to think a little bit this week about my upcoming lesson plan. Ms. Gholl and Ms. Kerrigan asked me to do something that has to do with World Cultures Day. First grade is studying Liberia this year, so I am going to do something inspired by Liberian culture–more to come with that!

Week 12 - Spring Break

This week, Jackson Prep is on Spring Break, so that meant I also got an extra day off! I met with Lynda on Tuesday to discuss the next steps in my career as a teaching artist–I have been really considering pursuing licensure following my graduation from MCAD. After some research, I'm still weighing my options, but I am excited to see what happens in the future.

I used my day off to do some much-needed relaxing. My workload has been heavy lately, and this week it went down a bit, so I was able to have a "me" day. It was wonderful! With everything going on, being able to take some time to relax and catch up on my work is very nice!

Week 11 - Money Math and Alphabetizing!

Jackson Elementary School - Judith Kerrigan-Krodel and Michelle Gholl - 7.00 hours

It was all about money in this week's math lesson at Jackson Prep! The students are learning the value of different coins. After a review of coins from Ms Becker (Ms Kerrigan's lovely student teacher!), the students broke off into groups to play different games that related to coins. There was memory match, which involved two cards–one with coins on it and one with the corresponding number of cents on it–to make a match. There was also a money version of Go Fish and iPad games. I helped out at the memory match station and the students responded really well to it.

In Ms Gholl's classroom (although Ms Gholl was on a much-deserved vacation this week, so she had a substitute named Mr S who was great!) the students read When the King Rides By and then had a worksheet afterwards where they put words from the story in alphabetical order. One student in the class who is an ESL learner caught on really quickly to the assignment and it was amazing how proud of himself he was when he got it all right! He then read one of his books to me from his book bag. He liked it so much that after he read it to me, he read a second time to himself!

Week 10 - Snowing?

Week 10 - Snowing?

Jackson Elementary School - Judith Kerrigan-Krodel and Michelle Gholl - 7.00 hours

This past week, the day started out with math and the students learned their math lesson through stations. Each station had a different activity. This week, the students were learning about counting money, so the stations all had money-themed activities, from counting to roll-the-dice games to mental math activities on the iPad.

About halfway through the morning, we realized that it had started snowing! Typical Minnesota–a warm weekend that turned into a cold week and snowfall! One student was sitting and watching the snow fall! He had just sat down in a chair and watched the snow fall–it was quite adorable! Because the snowflakes were so big, the teachers opted for indoor recess, so students played with legos, read books, put together puzzles, etc. The students love those legos! They like to create their own buildings, dinosaur parks, and worlds. They really get to show their creativity with them.

Here's to a warmer week–I'm ready for some sun!

Week 9 - Friendly Monsters

Jackson Elementary School - Judith Kerrigan-Krodel and Michelle Gholl - 7.00 hours

It was another great day at Jackson Elementary! Some of the students had Spring picture day, so it was fun to see them all dressed up for photos. I was able to help the students out with their writing assignments and math. They have this app they use on their iPads that help them practice with mental math. The biggest challenge is keeping them focused on the app–they love to "Airdrop" each other funny pictures! In Ms. Kerrigan's class, the students were writing about what they had learned at Jackson thus far to show parents at conferences. I loved seeing what the students chose–they wrote about things like math, learning Hmong, reading skills, and their favorite academic games. 

I also was able to meet Ms. Betsy, who is a guest art teacher that comes in every so often. The students have told me lots about her, so I was happy to finally meet her. She is such a kind and compassionate person! She assigned the students to make a friendly monster based on the book Leonardo the Terrible Monster that she read to the class. The students made some awesome monsters. They are all such creative students. I hope that I get to work with Ms. Betsy again!

Week 8 – Impromptu Drawing Lesson and Science Museum Sleepover

Jackson Elementary School - Judith Kerrigan-Krodel and Michelle Gholl - 7.00 hours
Shadowing - Jan Elftmann - 3.50 hours

This week started out with greeting a new student in Ms. Gholl's class. Two students and I went down to the office to show the his way through breakfast and up to the classroom. I loved seeing these two students be so helpful and accommodating to the new student. I know how it feels to be a new student and how wonderful it feels when you have students there to support and welcome you to the school!

In the afternoon, we had an impromptu drawing lesson with the students inspired by the book Draw! by Raúl, which is a Minnesota Star of the North Picture Book Award nominee. The book is all pictures and no words and portrays the author going on a safari through his imagination. On the safari, he drew everything he saw. For the lesson, the students drew along with the artist of the book. It was so neat to see them so excited, and I thought it was a really smart way to get the students interested in a book with no words!

On Thursday night, I met Jan Elftmann at the Science Museum of Minnesota to assist and shadow her during the Science Museum sleepover. It is a sleepover that various schools, families, boy and girl scout troops, etc., come to where they spend the night exploring the museum and enjoying various activities. For this particular sleepover, it was fifth graders from a bunch of different schools. I helped Jan at the station called Chain Reaction where students were able to build contraptions and see how a small ball would travel throughout the reaction. Jan and I also made structures called exploding sticks that involves tongue depressors and tension. It's a really cool truck!

Some students took their own direction and made houses for dinosaur figurines, masking tape and PVC contraptions, and my personal favorite, a student that taped two dinosaur figurines and a small shark figurine to a PVC pipe with packing tape, which he then proceeded to carry around proudly. Very entertaining! And, as Jan said, "Play is important." I couldn't agree more! It is really important to allow kids to play and make a mess. This nurtures creativity!

Week 7 - Aladdin!

Jackson Elementary School - Judith Kerrigan-Krodel and Michelle Gholl - 7.00 hours

This week we got to see Aladdin at the O'Shaughnessy! I (along with my supervisor, Gretchen, and my friend, Michelle, who is partaking in the internship with me) have put a lot of work into this show in terms of helping with costume production, and I know that Out On A Limb Dance Studio has also put lots of work into it, so it was awesome being able to see the final production with the students at Jackson.

At the very beginning of the show, some Arabian dancers came out and one student immediately recognized the fabric from last week's lesson! It was really fun to be at the student show–there was some serious high energy in that auditorium. After the show was over, there were a few students dancing while waiting for the bus, which was awesome to see! Not only did they enjoy the show, but they have an interest in dancing! 

The buses did take awhile to get out of the parking lot and back to Jackson Prep (there were a TON of students and schools there!), so it ended up taking a good portion of the day. When the students got back, they had a later lunch and then went outside for recess. After sitting in the auditorium, there were some students that had a lot of energy to burn off! One student in particular, however, wanted to create some art, so she found mud and a stick and made art with that on the sidewalk. Gotta love that ingenuity!


Week 6 - Fabric Scraps and Mosaics!

Week 6 - Fabric Scraps and Mosaics!

Jackson Elementary School - Judith Kerrigan-Krodel and Michelle Gholl - 7.00 hours

Today was the day that I was able to do my lesson plan! For the lesson, students made a mosaic tile inspired by Arabian Mosaics with fabric scraps from costumes in Out On A Limb’s production of Aladdin.

After spending the few nights cutting tons of fabric remnants into smaller scraps, I was really excited to get to presenting the lesson plan! I was definitely nervous, since I was presenting this on my own and wanted to make sure that I presented in a way that the students would understand. I think it definitely went well! The students seemed to really enjoy creating the mosaic tiles and were really excited about the fabric scraps. It was a really fun lesson to do with the students. 

The first time I presented the lesson was in Ms Gholl's classroom. Those students really dove into the process! The students all shared scraps wonderfully and really seemed to enjoy making the mosaics! There was some mess and struggle with the glue, but that is to be expected. Lynda helped me out by bringing dampened paper towels around to the students so they could wipe the glue off their fingers. This is a note for future lessons involving anything messy–bring handy wipes!

I presented the lesson to Ms. Kerrigan's class in the afternoon. Ms Kerrigan has an amazing student teacher that was able to make sure I presented the lesson in a way that made sense to the students. She also spent some time with one student who was quite particular about how their mosaic turned out. She was wonderful with the student! She showed lots of patience and was able to give him some individual attention while I walked around the classroom to assist the rest of the students. All in all, this was a really fun lesson plan to present and I feel that the students enjoyed it!

Next week, they will be seeing Aladdin, and I hope that this lesson got them excited for it! The students made some really awesome work with the fabric scraps and I can't wait to get them all displayed together. There is tons of leftover scraps, so hopefully there will be an opportunity to utilize them in the future!

Week 5 - 100th Day of School

Jackson Elementary School - Judith Kerrigan-Krodel and Michelle Gholl - 7.00

Today was a very special day at Jackson Elementary–it was the 100th day of school! Students were allowed to bring in 100 of something if they desired. One student brought beads, another pennies, and another almonds (which he ate so many that by the time he counted them out, he was down to 74!) There was also many activities for the 100th day, including counting worksheets, coloring sheets, and a poem all about the number 100. It was apparent the students were very excited about the 100th day-my voice was gone by the end of the day and is still recovering! I do not mind though, because it was a really fun day.

I also got a sketchbook for each classroom to take students out of the classroom and draw/sketch/illustrate anything their heart desires! I was able to take one student at the end of the day, and we drew robots together (which happens to be one of my favorite subjects to illustrate!) and he responded really well to the activity.

I can't wait for next week-I'll be bringing my first lesson to each classroom!

Week 4 - Jackson Elementary

Jackson Elementary School - Judith Kerrigan-Krodel and Michell Gholl - 7.00 hours

What a fun day at Jackson! The students had lots of energy (the cold weather has kept them inside for recess all week!) which kept them enthusiastic during their lessons. I started the day off reading with students in Ms. Gholl's class. They all have their own book bags that they keep some of their favorite books in. I loved seeing what some of the students were interested in–I saw lots of dinosaurs, fish, and flowers! 

There was also a student that showed me some of his illustrations in his notebook. He has a notebook that is completely full from cover to cover of his original artwork. He has lots of original characters and a wonderful imagination. I love seeing creativity within young minds and hope that he feels encouraged to keep going! 

As I said, the weather kept the students inside for recess, so I was able to show some students in Ms. Kerrigan's class how to make snowflakes. That brought me back–it has certainly been awhile since I have made paper snowflakes. It was tons of fun, especially seeing how excited they were to unfold their snowflakes and see what they had created!

I had such a fun day at Jackson. Wednesday is easily my favorite day of the week–I really enjoy spending time in the classrooms!

Week 3 - Snowed In!

Unfortunately, the big storm that happened this week hindered me from getting to visit Jackson Elementary. I decided that, since I wasn't able to be on site, I would focus on the first art-infused lesson that I hope to be doing with the students. Since the students are going to be seeing Out On A Limb Dance Company's production of Aladdin, for which I am interning in the costume department, I wanted to come up with a lesson that would hopefully incorporate the production and get the students excited about getting to see it.

What I am hoping to do is get scraps from the costumes for the students to use in a collage project. Since the modern version of Aladdin is believed to take place in an Arabic speaking country, I thought it would be beneficial for the students to use the scraps to make their own arabic mosaics. I still need to work out the lesson plan, but I am excited to do my first art-infused lesson with the students!

Week 2 - Jackson Elementary

Jackson Elementary School - Ms. Gholl nad Ms Kerrigan - 6.00 Hours

Today was my first full day at Jackson Elementary. What a fun group of kids! Ms. Gholl and Ms. Kerrigan are both so amazing. It definitely took a little while for me to find my groove in the classroom since this is my first time independently assisting in a classroom. The students are so much fun! They are definitely high energy and I was exhausted at the end of the day, but it was a good exhaustion! I left with a smile on my face. I helped the students out with Math and Reading assignments. I was helping one student out with counting because he was having a hard time understanding the assignment and seeing the lightbulb go off when it clicked how to complete the assignment was so rewarding. That is such a good feeling to see a student understand something they didn’t understand before!

 A lot of the students were enamored with my hair–they kept touching it and telling me I had really soft hair, which I got a huge kick out of. They were also very interested to know how I “got my hair green” and “why I had so many earrings in my ear.” Kids are so honest and I love it. They are so positive! As I said earlier, I left with a smile on my face. Being around students that have lots of energy and enthusiasm really lifted my spirits. I can’t wait to see what the rest of the semester brings!

Week 1 - Introductions

Jackson Elementary School - 1st grade teachers Judith Kerrigan-Krodel and Michelle Gholl - 1 hour

Science Museum - Teaching Artist Jan Elftmann - 1 hour

This week, I had the opportunity to meet the first grade teachers I'll be working with this semester as well as the teaching artist I will be shadowing.

On Wednesday, I met Jan Elftmann at the Science Museum of Minnesota, where she works as a teaching artist. She told me about herself and showed me around some of the "backstage" elements of the Science Museum. Did you know that the Science Museum has its very own workshop where all the exhibits are made? It's huge! Any exhibit seen at the museum is actually made in house, which is really cool. There are lots of MCAD graduates (as well as other extremely talented artists) that work at the Science Museum. I'm really excited to work with Jan and shadow her this semester. She has a really awesome personality and a ton of knowledge. I can't wait to get a glimpse into her life as a teaching artist.

On Thursday, I made my way to Jackson Elementary in St. Paul. I met Ms. Gholl and Ms. Kerrigan, two first grade teachers I'll be assisting this semester. They are both so nice! I'll be working with them on Wednesdays and can't wait to meet the students! They are both really open to what happens in the classroom and are so enthusiastic about art. I also learned that in March, the students have a theater day (which happens to land on a Wednesday!) where they will be seeing Out On A Limb Dance Company's production of Aladdin. Out On A Limb just so happens to be the company that I'm interning for this semester! I'm assisting Gretchen Gasterland-Gustafsson with costuming. I was so happy to have two really important aspects of my life right now come together like that–it's definitely a good sign!