Week 16 May 11-17


This week at CMA was really exciting for me. I completed my second teaching lesson and it was a huge success. My lesson was to combine all the things we have been working on in Exploring Media into a final animation movie. The kids used the character costumes they design and the sets that we made during my last teaching lesson to make a film. I started out class with a little refresher of what we had made over the semester. I then showed the kids an example of a movie made at CMA that would be similar to what we would be trying to accomplish. After introducing the activity of the day, the kids were split into groups and made a narrative story for the film. The first group started filming and the second group watched their classmates star in front of the green screen. My initial plan was that while one group was filming, the other would be making their own stop motion animations at individual stations. The kids were so excited that they all just ended up watching each other. In the end I think this worked out better, the kids then gained confidence from their peers by watching them succeed in front of the camera.

Week 15 May 4-10


Today in Exploring Media, we did a little more animation practice. Rather than letting the kids have the freedom to make whatever they wanted, we had them make the letters in their names. We had all the students make the letters and decorate them. Some kids make their letters into people, others made theirs out of found objects such as wire or pom poms. The kids were allowed a lot of work time today. I will be teaching my final lesson next week and it will be tying everything we have been doing this semester up. This week was slow, but it's getting warmer and you can tell the kids are excited about that.

Week 14 April 27-May 3


This week at CMA in the Exploring Media Class we did another round of stop motion animations. This time we kind of let the kids have freedom to practice all of the different things we have learned throughout the class. Rather than letting the kids pick their own partners for this exercise, we assigned people who normally don't work together into groups. This was something that was very beneficial for the students. Because this group of kids is very energetic and excited, this helped the kids really focus on what they were doing. I was walking around the class helping kids who needed help with things. I ended up drawing many different Star Wars characters, there are a few boys who are obsessed with Star Wars. They were so excited to see the drawings I was doing of their favorite characters. They also started drawing characters too. It was nice seeing a wide range of interpretations and skills from all the different kids.

Aside from working at CMA, this week has been very hectic. It is one of the last weeks of my residency. We are working on our last touches and getting everything ready for our final exhibition on the 7th of May.

Here is some information about the show:

Week 11 April 6-12


This week in the Exploring Media class, we worked on something similar to last weeks assignment. Last week the students made their own animations settings and characters. This week, rather than using drawn backgrounds, we used light boxes. The students cut out their own characters on black paper and then placed them onto the light boxes. They used the same program, iStopMotion, to create their videos. Once again, I was shocked by the outcome. One student made two camels, another made a butterfly, and others made their favorite Pokémon or their favorite Star Wars characters

This week was full of reflections. I have been thinking a lot about the time I have been spending at CMA. It has been great to follow these kids through their journey of learning more about art. Each week, I can see them getting more excited about drawing or working on animation projects.

Week 12 April 13-19


This week was different than any other week at CMA. I worked with Camilo, Laura, and Katya, and we went on a field trip. We went to a library in Astoria, Queens, and hosted an animation workshop to a group of middle schoolers. We met up at CMA and gathered all of the supplies we would be needing. Then we got on the subway for an hour long ride to our destination. We arrived at the library and set up in a spare classroom. We would be doing a demonstration of how to make a claymation and also a pixilation. A claymation is when you use clay and a camera to create a stop motion animation. A pixilation is when a person is in front of the camera to create a stop motion animation. After setting up, the kids arrived and we got class started by showing them a demonstration of the claymation. All the kids were so excited to have the chance to make a stop motion animation. I was walking around looking at what everyone was making and was so excited by how happy everyone was. After we were done with the workshop, we went to a pastry shop and got some treats. This week was really great. It was fun going to an off site place.

Week 13 April 20-26


This week at CMA was action packed! The lesson was all about costuming. Class started with a few different drawing challenges. One student brought in some home-made winner ribbons for other students to wear. Because of this many other students started making their own winner ribbons to hand out to other students. This was considered one of the drawing challenges. The other drawing challenge was to draw a snake with crazy hands. After the drawing challenge, Ana led the class. She introduced the assignment for the day, which was to choose a super power and to design a costume for the superhero each student was to come up with. She gave a demonstration of how she was going to decide all of the clothing options. She asked students for their thoughts as well. After Ana's demonstration, the kids dove into creating their superhero's power and drawing sketches of their outfits. I walked around and helped kids focus on what kinds of superhero they wanted to be and also help then gather materials. Each kids idea was very different, one girl made a cheetah superhero, another boy make a good luck superhero, and we even had a ninja turtle. It was really exciting helping the kids create their drawing in reality. The looks on their faces were amazing.

Week 10 March 30-April 5


This week the main teacher of The Exploring Media class, Ian, was absent, leaving me and the two other assistant teachers to take the lead. We started class with a drawing challenge like usual, this week it was drawing the best ice cream sundae. After the drawing challenge, Ana and I introduced the lesson for the day. We showed the students that we would be making stop motion animations with cut paper figures. We showed all the materials and programs that we would be using. We first show the kids that they will need a static background for their animation. This means that whatever is drawn on the background will not move during the animation. Then there will need to be characters and objects that will be moved. For our example we had an egg and a chicken hatcheted from the egg. We also had jewels that were flower pedals. Once the background and characters were completed, the students go their computer ready with the iStopMotion software. The students set up their scenes and then were told to move objects very slightly and capture each movement with a camera. Students did this and were absolutely amazed with the animation movies they created. There were a few stand out from the group, one group of students made their animation of different jungle animals including tigers, cheetahs, toucans, and giraffes. The other stand out was a group of boys who made their animation about dinosaur monsters chasing one another. This week was really great, I really enjoyed seeing the kids start working on actual animations.

Week 9 March 23-29


This week was the kids spring break, so CMA didn't have any classes. I took this week to start some new pieces and also explore the city a little bit. I've included some photos from CMA, the city, and some progress shots of pieces in my studio.

Below is a photo from the day that I taught my first lesson.

This is a portrait one of my students drew of me.

These two pieces were included in a show a few weeks ago.

After doing my lesson on sets, I was very inspired by what the kids made. I decided to make my own "fortress". It very under developed at this point, but we will see what it turns into.


This is a piece I am currently working on.

This is a photo of the view from the roof of my apartment building.

This photo was taken on the balcony of the New Museum.


This last photo is me on the Brooklyn Bridge.

Week 8 March 16-22


This week was my first time leading the Exploring Media class and teaching a lesson. This came about on short notice, I only had a week to prepare my lesson. This was kind of a struggle for me, but I realized that it was something that I needed to experience. Teachers get thrown curve balls and are constantly having to think on their feet. The information I got about the lesson I would be teaching was that it would be based on teaching the students about sets for animations. With this information I created my lesson on this idea and designed an activity that would be fun and engaging for the students. I started the class out with showing some youtube videos of different hand made sets. After showing the videos I explained to the class tat we would be akin and designing our own sets. We brainstormed ideas for what kind of set we would all be collaborating on. We came to a conclusion that we would be making a house and a tunnel in which would connect to the house. I split the class into two groups, so that it would be easier to disperse the teachers. The group that I was working with was the house group. We sat down and brainstormed ideas for how we would go about building the house and what colors and designs we would be painting on it. We decided that the base of the house would be  rainbow, the roof covered in stars, and on top of the roof would be kittens. I took a group of kids to come and collect different colors of paint and we started to build and paint our house. Some challenges were keeping the mess under control. The main things that I learned from teaching my lesson were that the more detail about exactly what will be expected from students is vital. Also being more prepared for a huge mess should be addressed. All and all I thought that my lesson was pretty successful, all of the kids were really excited about painting and the fact that they would be creating their own sets. I now know what kind of dilemmas can happen and know how to handle them. I am looking forward to doing my second lesson. 

Week 7 March 9-15


This week was my first week only working in the Exploring Media class. We started class out with a drawing challenge. One of the kids had brought a few of their stuffed animals. These stuffed animals were in the shape of cubes, and the class decided it would be fun to draw your favorite animal in cube formation. After the drawing challenge we started the lesson for the day which was focusing on learning what sequences and story lines are. We watched an episode of a YouTube series called Shaun the Sheep. Throughout the episode, we would pause the show and have the kids describe some of the sequences that were happening in the story. After finished the episode, we split into groups. Each group was assigned with a teacher and was required to come up with a story. The group that I was working with came up with a story about a baby cheetah getting lost and being really sad that she couldn't find her home. Then a Star Wars character and a Pokemon find the baby cheetah and decided to take her home. On the way home the three characters run into all sorts of different traps in which they have to solve puzzles correctly to move on. The three finally make it to the cheetahs home, and throw a party. After everyone was done writing their stories, we had one student from each group present to the class. It was really great hearing all the different stories that each group came up with. After our story writing time, we watched a few more episode of Shaun the Sheep.

Week 6 March 2-8

This week was my spring break, and I decided to take some time off from CMA to hangout with some friends and adventure around the city. I also spent a lot of time in my studio. Here are some images of what I have been working on.

Week 5 February 23-March 1


This week was really eye opening for me.

On Monday, I was working in the Exploring Media class. We started class out with a drawing challenge. The main teacher, Ian, asked the class if anyone had any suggestions for the challenge of the day. One kid suggested that everyone draw their computer with their favorite folders on it. I was very shocked by this suggestion. I never really think about how it would be to be a little kids growing up with all the technology that we have access to. I was walking around the class asking some of the kids about their drawings. Some kids were designing their own model of a computer or iPad like device. Some kids were drawing some of their favorite apps and also designing new ones. It really shocked me that this is how kids brains work now, they are wired completely in technology. After the drawing challenge, the kids all started working on a mask. They all are designing their own character and making their mask so that they can bring that character to life. I helped some of the kids work on their mask and helped tie them to their heads. Then once everyone was done designing their masks, a line was formed and the kids got in from of a computer and camera. The kids were told to act out their character in from of the camera. The camera took tons of picture of the kids moving and this created a stop motion live animation of the kids. After everyone had a turn doing this, the entire class watched what we had just made. Next week we will be creating a background for the students to place in their animation stories.


On Thursday, I worked in YAK. We are still working on the Saatchi & Saatchi project. We finalized out design for our light box image. Students worked on this and I helped teach them a few tricks in photoshop. Next week will be the final week that we will have time to work on this project, and will also be my last week working with YAK.

Week 4 - February 16-22


As time goes on, I am starting to realized that I have to much on my plate. Moving to New York has been really difficult to adapt to, and with everything from school, to working two jobs, and working at CMA, I have been having a hard time managing my time. So this week I notified Val that I will be needing to cut down my hours at CMA. Within the next few weeks I will no longer be working with the YAK program.

This week in YAK we continued to work on our collaborative community project. Last week, we got somewhere with the idea of what we would be doing for our final project. This week we started class out by fine tuning all the details about our idea, and made sure that everyone had a part in the final piece. Our idea for the piece is to create a scene of community taken place in outer space. There will be two silhouette face on each side of the landscape, and in between them, a hallway leading to outer space. There are lots of galaxies involved and lots of bright colors. I definitely am blown away by how the students interpreted this assignment and where their imaginations lead them. After discussing our ideas, we broke of into groups and individuals to start working on assigned parts of the final piece. I was working with a girl who is painting a galaxy that will stand as the background. It was really great painting with sa student, this is the first time I have even been exposed to paint at CMA, it was really exciting.

Because of President's Day, there was no Exploring Media Lab class. So instead of helping in that class, I helped prepare and supervise an Art Slam. Art Slam is basically a party for middle school and high school kids where they can come and hang out at the museum, eat pizza, and work on various artistic activities. I was in charge of making examples for some of the activities. One was a gridded portrait. Kids were provided an outline of a face, which also had gridded lines covering the entire sheet. They then were to draw facial features and make every square a different color or design. Here is a picture of the example that I created.

I also created instructions, and set up the table for this activity. The other activity that I was responsible for was the hat making center. I make a few examples of different kinds of hats that kids could make. It was a crazy experience working with the kids while they were making their hats. It was really amazing the things that they were coming up with. Here are some pictures from the hat making party.

This week was a huge learning experience for me. Throughout dealing with the struggles and stress created by school and work, it was great knowing that I could be in a space surrounded by non-judgemental, insanely creative, passionate and loving individuals.

Week 3 - February 8-15

Children's Museum of Art NYC – Valerie Kharchenko –  6 hours

This week I only worked in YAK. We continued the project that was introduced last week. Last week the kids were encouraged to experiment with light tables, and we opened the class with a continuation of time for the kids to continue explore ideas. The other teachers and I noticed that the kids were kind of struggling to work all together on something. So we decided to have everyone come together and brains store ideas for the final piece. It was great seeing the kids excited about each others ideas. This week was a pretty mellow week at the museum. This coming week will be really exciting with President's day happening and also the museum is having an Art Slam this Friday. Art Slam is a huge event held at the museum, I don't know all the details, but have heard that they are very exciting events.

Week 2 - February 1-7

Children's Museum of Art NYC – Valerie Kharchenko –  8.5 hours

This week I started working in the Exploring Media Lab. The class is aiming to teach 5-6 year olds the basics in creating a stop motion animation. I am working with two teacher, Ian and Ana, and one helper, Jane. I was a little nervous to start the class, not knowing how the kids would tackle the idea of animation, which I personally know nothing about. Before the class started, all the teachers prepared everything and talked about what we would be doing in class that day. I was in charge of setting out personal sketchbooks for each student. As we were doing this, the first student arrived. He was so excited she got his sketchbook and immediately started drawing in it. Seeing him so excited definitely eased my nerves about the class. We started out the class with a little drawing challenge. The challenge was to draw the biggest sandwich with as many things on it that you could think of. After about 10 minutes we had who ever wanted to share their drawings come up to the front of the class to show everyone. We then dove into explained what a story was. Ian started with explaining characters. Ian had the students name characters and explain their characteristics. The students then were assigned to draw their own characters. Then I was in charge of leading the discussion on the background of stories. I started out by asking if anyone knew what the background of a story was, and to my surprise, the kids started saying things about what they knew about backgrounds. We made of a list of different examples of backgrounds in stories and then I assigned the kids to draw a background for the character they just drew. Then Ana took over and explained what a storyline is and how conflict works in stories. After the lessons on basics of storytelling, Jane showed the class a stop motion animation that she had collaborated on in a class she had taken at the museum. The kids were very excited that they would be able to create something similar to Jane. By this time, time had flown by, and it was time for everyone to go home. I’m really excited about this class. All the kids are so creative and have great energy.

 I also had my second week of sitting in with YAK. This week in YAK, Camilo and Larissa introduced a new project that the kids would be working. The company Saatchi & Saatchi is having The Children’s Museum of the Arts do a show for one of their galleries. So the students in YAK have been assigned to create two light box displays. There will be a gallery opening as well. So because of this great opportunity, the kids were told to experiment and brains storm ideas for what can be done for the final presentation. We supplied the kids with all sorts of different materials and had light box set out for trialing different things. The rest of the class was just free studio time for the kids.



Week 1 - January 25-31

Children's Museum of Art NYC – Valerie Kharchenko –  5.5 hours

My first visit to CMA was very exciting. I wasn't really sure what to expect, but the minute I walked in, I could feel excitement and energy. This museum is like nothing I have ever experienced. As I waited for Val Kharchenko, the Director of Museum Eduction Programs, to meet with me I walked around the museum. There is one large room which is the main gallery, this gallery was filled with tons of art that was really focusing on the idea of text. Along with the work, were tons of children running around. This is a sight I'm not used to seeing. It was great seeing kids allowed to explore, look at art, and be inspired in a museum setting. I then met with Val, and she have me a tour of the rest of the museum. There are many different classrooms filled with teaching artists and children focusing on different kinds of mediums and art making practices. After getting a tour, we sat down and discussed what days would work with my schedule. We came to a conclusion that Monday's I would be working in the Exploring New Media class, which introduces a collaborative storytelling using stop motion animation to 5-6 year olds. I will also be working on Thursdays with the Young Artists Kollective(YAK), which provides 6th-9th graders with an after school space to just create work. I am extremely excited to start with both of these classes. 

This week I started working in the YAK classroom. Val asked me to arrive early, so she could go a little bit more in depth about the YAK program. The program has come a long way, and is in a transitional period. It is held twice a week, on Monday's and Thursday's. It used to be that the media based class would happen one day, and the fine arts class on the other. But both media and fine arts are now being combined into one class. Val was really wanting me to think about how the program is working. Having a completely outside perspective will be a great contribution. I am working with two other teachers in the YAK classroom, Larissa Mellor and Camilo. I was told that there are usually around 6 to 9 kids that show up, but this week there were only 3. Larissa and Camilo were explaining to be that they usually have planned projects and everyone is working on the same thing. But the project the kids were working on this week was really whatever they felt like making. I'm really excited to get started with some new projects, Larissa and Camilo are wanting some of my feedback about the project ideas they have come up with. The museum has great resources and I'm really excited to start making things with the kids.