Week 13 April 12 - April 20

Childrens' Theater Company - 2 hours - James Scoggin

I had such a great time working with 3rd grade students from Lyndale School for the Lyndale Scenic Art Build along with a multiple teaching artists! We were building sets for the play the children are going to act in. I was working with mainly two groups of students - one of the group's task was to make a bathtub and the other was to make a stove. Before I got into talking with the students they had already come up with a plan among themselves and the teaching artist about how they are going to approach the project. They drew a flat bathtub on a cardboard sheet which I helped them to cut out. We then decided to tape it so it looks a little dimensional. Then we all painted it together. One student really wanted to stick sparkles on it, and so we as a group found out a way to do that! They decided to put them just by the tap so it looks like water drops! At the same time I was also helping with the strove group. They came up with an awesome idea to cut out cups to make them controllers for the strove, other members were painting the stove. Later we cut out holes and put foil under it so it totally looked like a bright strove. The bathtub and the strove turned out great! 

The environment was just super fun with lots of supplies and high school students helping out along with other teaching artists. We were all busy as they had limited amount of time and a lot to do! It was an amazing experience and I'm excited to do more!

Minneapolis Institute of Art - 2 hours - Elizabeth 

This week we went to Morris park for the sunburst workshops. This was SO much fun and such an humble experience. I really love going to these community parks, as we go into the public spaces that people are so familiar with so they are so comfortable with the environment and are totally themselves!

The workshop was well attended and the age group was 40-65 year olds. It was such an ambitious team! We made 102 (I counted!) pieces of sun-rays. We had a system established where one would roll the bottles, other would wrap them and we would all put the paper masse on it. The conversations were great too, people were just sharing stories and life. I had a great moment of awakening during this time. Some of them had never heard of the May Day parade or the museums! We are always surrounded by this world and sometimes its so easy to forget that not everyone is aware of our world. We introduced the May day parade and our project and invited them to the free museum!

Something super fun happened during this workshop. I had my first Tornado drill! They don't do those in India so I had never experienced one. So everyone decided to make my experience a special one and pretend that it was a real Tornado by giving sound effects. We ran by the wall and everyone sat down to show me how to react when a Tornado occurs! They were all sharing their first drill and Tornado experiences and they were as glad as I am that they were part of mine! 

Week 12 April 6- April 12

Urban Arts - Mimi - 2.5 hours

I was in Mimi's classroom again this week! Middle school after school program is structured so differently than the kindergarten one. I wasn't used to them having the freedom to do what they wanted to do - which is totally fit for that age group. So we didn't really work as a whole group the class was kind of split up in multiple groups according to their interest in the activity. There were two teachers, and two assistants. Some students would go in the music room to make music while others were doing other activities. I was helping out with a painting activity for the upcoming gala. We were painting long pieces of white cloth which different paints in strips, and we are planning to put them for the gala. The activity was fun but one student wouldn't do it for long. We were also making shiny balls and putting sparkles for decorations. It was pretty relaxed day and everyone kept busy in their own way. Later, everyone had quieted downv- in which to my surprise everyone was super quiet and just sat down. After that some students went to the gym and others learned up. It is interesting to shift to middle school after kindergarten because they need supervision but not too much, I'm still figuring it out! But I love to get to just talk to them and getting to know what they like. The trick is make everything seem 'cool'.

MIA - 6 hours - 3 different workshops 

I was a part of really fun two workshops at different community centers - one was in East Phillips park and the other one was in Whittier. 

We are re-creating the big sunburst glass artwork in the MIA with plastic bottles and paper for the May Day parade.  So we went to different community centers and made them with the students there! It was so much fun to get our hands dirty. We had put the sunburst photos all over the art making space which was pretty helpful for everyone to see what the main goal was. Then we wrapped the plastic bottles in foil and then paper with lots of glue. They then kind of look like the parts of the glass work. We are then going to collect all of these pieces from all the different community centers and put them together. 

The kids seemed to have a good time. It was funny that all of them treated it like a mission, because we told them how many the other parks had made so they wanted to defeat them. One student actually made 6 all by himself! It was fun to get different people engaged too. I also learned a lesson to kind of have a recount of materials after the lesson was done. As we did one after the other, we ran out of some material for the next one and so we had to rush to get more. Good practice for the future to remember! Each wrapped bottle looked so different it was really fun to look at! One would look like a birthday present and the other would be a beautiful form! Working with craft activities with kids is always so much fun! 

On Saturday we went to the MN Orchestra again to promote the crochet project. We just set up a table and were talking to different people about it. To my surprise some people already had heard of the project. We had some great conversations with different people from science- environment - crafting! But we also realized that the environment wasn't such that someone would actually come crochet. So we just embraced the talking and engaged with more people and told them to stop by on Saturday!

Its been busy but as usual great learning experiences! I'm happy I got to have 3 totally different experiences with the MIA.

Week 11 March 30- April 6

UrbanArts had spring break. So I didn't go in this week.

MN Orchestra - MIA - 4 hours 

I had such an amazing experience this weekend! I was assisting at the Minnesota Orchestra with the MIA. There is a new show called Eat, Prey: Raptors in Nature at the MIA and so we were spreading knowledge about the birds and I bought to assist with bird experts and hang out with an owl and a Falcon!

The first day, which was a Friday MIA had Mike Billington from the Raptor Center come in and talk to the visitors of the Orchestra center. We had set up a booth with some pamphlets, and people were just hanging out but when it got more crowded Mike started addressing the whole crowd to talk about the birds. It was such a fun evening! He told everything about how the owl and Falcon react to when it gets hot, how they are trained about their body anatomy. He had such a impressive way to talk to the crowd. He was educating them but it didn't really feel like education but more like a fun trivia facts. The birds really kept everyone engaged. It is so awesome that animals still have that effect on us. People were peaking from the second and third floor to watch them and hear about them. I'm surprised that they were all this engaged for almost 2 whole hours! Specially after teaching a lesson now I realize how hard it is to keep them this engaged specially when they have an orchestra to go to! I also got to learn a lot about them that evening.

The second day we had Frank Taylor from the Minnesota Falconers Association with us with this Falcon bird. It was awesome to see him talk to the crowd after hearing Mike talk. They had such different styles! Frank was older and he had all the stories from the importance of Falcons during Shakespeare time - how important the Falcons are in the middle east (he had bought some currency from there to show that they have the Falcons on it as well has the arm rest from there) - everything about how it took him almost 10 years to get the license for the bird! It was amazing to hear! The crowd was also really excited, in fact many of them were listening even though the Orchestra was about to start. I was happy that I could actually answer a question about the bird someone asked me because I had heard it the previous day! Frank was also a great artist who had drawn many Falcons and he bought his work along. The bird was so majestic and I'm so happy I got to hang out with it even behind the scenes!  The idea of having birds there at first seemed so funny to me at first but I'm so glad that they did that because everyone surely enjoyed it and learned a lot! The birds looked fine till the end of the talk too ;)


Week 10 March 23- April 30

UrbanArts - Mimi - 3 hours

I went into UrbanArts thinking that I'm going to be in Katie's class. But after I went there I found out that I was going to be in a middle school classroom for a special project. Before I went in the classroom I was told that I'm going to be participating in an graphic design activity with them which was making calendars with the students! I was thrilled to know that.  I went into Mimi's classroom which primarily consisted of girls. I walked inside and the teacher introduced me to them. She told me to talk about being a Graphic Designer - what exactly that means and about the calendar project. It was interesting to shift my pace from being with kindergarteners to middle schoolers. For middle schoolers everything had to be 'cool'. So the teacher and I presented the calendar idea to make it seem interesting. We are planning to design this calendar and sell it at a fund raiser for UrbanArts. The students sounded excited but not as excited as the kindergartens. I found a way to start off that would excite them. Which was to go though all the pictures and pick out art and other pictures that interested them. It was hard to work with a bigger group and a smaller screen and eventually we were left with just two students and the others started doing other activities around the classroom. But it was exciting to converse to the two students, and continue to interest them. I spoke about the potential, the freedom of design because we are designing it all etc. I started figuring out what excited them and that point was great! We did not realize when it was time up, and their parents came to pick them up. But before they left they said they are excited about this project and can't wait to learn. I'm really excited to work with a different age group too even though I really miss my kindergarten class. I hope they are still excited about this after spring break (as next week is their spring break)

MIA- Krista- 3 hours 

This week the crochet project was great! It was really well attended, we had almost 25 participants. It was interesting to see how much the age dynamics changing can change the learning dynamic too. As we had some college groups that came in, too. At the same time as usual there were people who were really great at crocheting. I find my place in this setting really interesting. I tired to walk to different groups and people about their process, and how they heard of this project. My favorite part about this is is when people who don't know each other start teaching others how to crochet, especially since the age groups, and the crowd was so diverse the learning and great fun to watch! We received some submissions from people who have already finished their pieces. The conversations are really fun too they range from: Which crocheting needle to use - life stories about crocheting. I'm happy to have such a great response to the project, and can't wait to see how the final week of this project will be. Everyone's excited! 

Week 8 – March 9 - 16

UrbanArts - Katie - 2.5 hours 

This week was an all in all good mood week for both students and me!

After our regular snack time, Katie and I took them all to the park. They were so excited, as it was great outside! Also playing around and letting their energies free is their favorite thing to do! It was interesting to go outside with the whole class, we carried our snacks like a little picnic. I was nervous about them crossing the streets, but I was impressed by their civic sense of responsibility, they all walked with each other and were pretty careful. Katie made a rule that they wouldn't walk in the parking lot. Which is such a small thing but so important for little children. It was a learning experience for sure to go outside of the regular classroom with them, I felt like the responsibility was so much more. Making sure they don't fall and hurt themselves - they talk to strangers but not really taking anything from them - etc. It was funny how just being outside the classroom can make such a big difference. Now I guess I understand why my mother would give me so many instructions when I would go out with her when I was little :)

The park was SO much fun! They were having a blast. One of the students saw someone in the park juggling, so he wanted to learn to juggle. So he just went up to the stranger and told them to teach him, then 2 other students followed. It was so entertaining to see them to learn to juggle. They would get so happy even if they would catch one little ball right. In the mean time some students were on the swing. One of the students taught me how to sit on a rocking horse - apparently I wasn't sitting right! 

After an hour we went back to the classroom. Nicki was planning on teaching a class activity today. They activity was so great, and having Nicki in the classroom is always a different energy. Katie and Nicki had prepped the class before, so everything was ready already. The activity was about stitching hearts. Nicki told them about the power of wishes, and spoke about positive energies and how anything is possible! Which was so inspiring to see! She told them that each student is going to stick a heart, and put seeds inside them. The hearts are going to be used for installation, so everyone is going to add their energies to their wishes. After that each student would get their heart back and they could plant the trees at home if they want, or plant them at UrbanArts.

We helped them stitch their hearts up. It was such a feel good activity! And a great day overall.

MIA - Krista - 2 hours

I met up with Krista, and we touched base about the poster. I made some changes, like taking out a logo, etc. She also came up with a great idea based on my poster to customize each poster for each site. So I made a template for her to do that. Then we discussed about meeting for my teaching activity lesson. April is going to be pretty busy with this internship as the may day stuff is picking up! I'm excited. 

Week 9 – March 16-23

Urban Arts - Katie- 3 hours

This week was my teaching week! I was looking forward to it since the time I started working at UrbanArts and I'm so happy with the way it turned out. I was happy that I had help from both Lynda and Katie, as well as I got to see other teachers like Nickie interact with the students. These interactions knowingly or unknowingly have a great positive impact.

I arrived early to set up. Katie was already there ready, and waiting for me. I told her the exact plan. I am glad I experimented with the sample materials for the activity in advance. This made the process easier. I think got the printer, and the computer ready. By the time we set up tables, Lynda and the students appeared. My activity was to make road signs with the students, as an introduction to graphic design class.

I noticed the excitement of the students reacting to having so many changes today like: I was going to teach, there was a new teacher in the classroom (Lynda) and there was a camera! They are always full on energy but days like these when they notice new things they are even more excited. After their snack time, and after they settled out a little bit and shared their everyday school stories we got ready to start our activity.

As planned, I started with the game. I told them to pretend that the classroom was a street. Asked them who wanted to play what role. This part could have surely used more instructions like dividing the exact location of the classroom, assigning more characters and being clear with what the game was about. But they had fun, and it got the point across so I was happy. But this was my first lesson to be learned. After that we sat down and spoke about Graphic Design, Road Signs etc. I agree I should have had more examples other than just one because this gives them options, as well as increases their creative possibilities. Then we moved on to the sketches, after I noticed them drawing smileys and other details I started telling them about solid shapes, and using just visual language to get the message across. I had not thought of them making so many text heavy imagery, so I should have made sure to discuss methe text in the activity - this is something that can be improved as well. Then we slowly started one by one moving to the computer. This part was SO exciting for me to see! I was thrilled to see them SO engaged in the process. None of them even mentioned games or other things they generally associate with the computer, they were all such fast learners, and they were asking great questions. The smiles were priceless on their faces after they saw their work being printed! 

We could not complete the whole project, as some students got picked up early. Some students are still in progress of making the signs after they were printed from the computer. I'm excited to see everyone's completed signs as well as to play a game to totally finish the activity. Teaching was such a great experience and I'm looking forward to having many such experiences in my future!

Community Arts - 2 hours

Krista had this event on our calendar, and so I went to it this Saturday. I am so glad I went! I had never imagined the having these kind of community events , and having this well attended with about 200-300 guests. It was also my first time in the Minneapolis Convention Center which is such a great place for events like these. 

It was a well organized event with different learning labs, along with that they had the 'village' area that consisted of different exhibitors. I was just walking around, talking to people, asking questions and observing. I some to meet some different teaching artists working in organizations like Juxtaposition Arts, Springboard for Arts and spoke to them about their work. I think its so important to get out of the classroom, and other regular setting to try and connect with the community, these are great chances to get a little sneak peek into different communities. 

Week 7- March 2 - 9

Urban Arts- Katie - 2.5 hours 

This Wednesday was a super fun class as usual! Urban Arts Academy always encourages each class to have artists of the month, and our artist for march is Yayoi Kusama. I totally adore her work, and the bright colors so I'm thrilled to be around to make work inspired by work.

Katie had planned a fun bubble printing activity for the class, which she had also conduced with them the previous day but some students had not completed it so she was planned to do it again. The students could mix one color ink, with a little soap and with the help of a straw blow into the cup which formed bubbles. They then could use a paper to print the pattern formed by the bubbles. Which related back to the artist of the month as the bubbles formed a polka dot pattern. As some of the students had already completed the activity Katie had bought in some recycled tires that they could repaint- as she plans to make an installation with the class. These days since the students aren't very inclined towards the art activity she tells them that they can go to the gym to play if everyone participates in at least one art activity. This works really well as they get to play and make art.

The bubble printing activity was a lot of fun, and also pretty messy. Soon the bubble printing activity turned into bubble making activity, which then turned into 'who can make the biggest bubble'. It was such a delight to see such big smiles because of the joys of blowing bubble. The energy in the class was so happy! 

I noticed something in class this week which has really made me think about the education system these days. One of the student in our class, seems always worried about homework. He participates in the activities but doesn't fully participate while the students are playing games and stuff because he is wanting to do his homework. Katie or I help him with his homework, but he gets really worried when he doesn't complete it by the time he gets picked up. This makes me question our education system, do kindergarten kids have to start worrying about homework at this early age? Isn't this going to be the cause of worry for next 20 years to come? How can we help taking away this burden of homework from such young age? 

M.I.A- Krista- 2 hours 

Following the meeting I had with Krista where we talked about planning for May day events, and my roll in it, we discussed about ways to promote the event. One of the things I suggested was making fliers and posters with all the community event details. Krista emailed me with different logos like the M.I.A logo and the Minneapolis Parks and recreation board. I worked on the poster considering the fact that its going to be hanging at different parks, should attract a wide age group etc. It was a great learning experience and I'm excited to be a part of this project from the scratch. Krista said the poster I made might be translated to Spanish too, which I'm excited about to see the design translate into a different language. 

Week 6- February 23- March 2

Urban Arts – Katie – 2.5 hours

I was in Katie's class as usual this Wednesday, but we had Nikky who is the after school program's director in our class for a fun felting activity. Katie and Nikky prepped for the activity by filling water in container and having all the material ready. By the time the students showed up they were all set. Nikky told them that they are going to have snacks first and then we have a fun activity planned. The students seem to be a little cranky today, when they came in. Actually what I have observed so far is that when one student says something is boring, others just follow the same. Even though they don't really mean it, they are newly learning these expressions so they just complain for a little bit. Nikky told them in a very polite manner about how they reacted. She asked them how they would feel if she entered the class and said," Oh that's boring." Then she asked other ways for them to ask, and talk about these issues. They came up with great solutions like,"I don't want to participate in that activity. Can I 'please' do something else?" and other polite words. Then she told them about the activity and introduced them with the different kinds of felt. She had a great variety from sheep, goat, rabbit etc. We passed the samples around the class for everyone to feel how soft the materials were. This got them excited as well as it was a great introduction to different kinds of animals and fabrics made from different animals coats.

We then started the activity which everyone loved! They got a chance to play with soap, and mixing fabrics with felting. She told them that they can take flat sheets, balls of felt or snakes. They all tried their hand at different shapes and colors. While this was going on students were constantly being picked up by their parents as its an after school program. The activity was great, and it lasted for like 15-20 mins - which is just right for their attention spans. It is interesting that some students just want to rush into the activity and finish it while others take a while to complete it. 

After they were finished with the felting activity, we took them to the gym. I was surprised by how much energy they had! They ran around, kicked the ball and it looked so freeing as they were just having a great time in the gym as they all love to play. 

This week was interesting as I got to see Nikky's way of interacting with them which was really different from what I had seen in earlier classes. She has such a good relation with them and received hugs and their personal stories which was heart warming to see!

MIA – Jenny & Krista – 2 hours 

The Crochet circle met up in MIA this Saturday. There were around 9 ladies who came.  Museum visitors also stopped by and see what we were up to, as we were sitting right by the stairs and entrance, so clearly visible. 

Jenny was the crochet expert as always, who taught and assisted everyone with their work. Krista played an amazing and important role, as she would inform people about what the project was and how we are contributing to a large global project in Minneapolis. 

It was awesome to see the work people made! Some already completed so much of crocheting inspite of just starting their work in the morning. We had forms out for people to submit their crochet work and it was pretty well received. Jenny was also experimenting with VHS tape and crocheting with this material which was fascinating to the public. The crochet circle has decided to meet every last saturday of the month and I can't wait to see how this learning and community building progresses.

My role in this space is kind of interesting to be honest, as I don't really know how to crochet. I tried and learned again but was still getting stuck, but for me what's important is being a part of this project which doesn't necessarily mean by directly participating in the work but being a part of this community and observing them learn and know each other. 


Week 5- February 16 - 23

Urban Arts - Katie - 3 hours

I was in the same class as usual with Katie this Wednesday. After the students came in we have snack time, in which some of the children were running around. Katie gave them a time deadline and said, "when the big 1 the clock sits at 6 you should be calmed down because we are going to a class in the next room." The children gave mixed actions while listening to the thought of going to a different class. Then we told them that someone was going to make paper lanterns with them. Then one of the students said, "Oh, that's boring." So the other said that too. I don't think they actually thought it was boring but they were just saying it because everyone was. Eventually we learned that there weren't enough materials to make paper lanterns for all so we are just going to stay in the class. 

I helped a student with his homework. It was interesting to direct him to the right answer without actually giving out the answer. Now that I think about it, that would be such a challenge for any teacher including art instructors. I was just trying to explain the concept to him. As that was going on, one of the students wanted to listen to the radio. So we turned the radio on and the class turned into a dance party! It was SO much fun!! I was so surprised to see this first grade kid, who knew all of the songs on the radio that were played. He would sing them out loud. Then Katie decided that we are going to make our own paper lanterns. She started preparation and slowly two students got excited. We started figuring out the right kind of glue and paper etc. It was super fun to get out hands dirty. She encouraged other students to participate in that activity, and if not lantern making they could do other activities like puppet making.

Urban Arts have a art exhibition for their parents and community coming up pretty soon, so the class is aiming to make little finger puppets. They all showed me a small stage they made last week with light passing though it. It was super fun, and I'm excited to see what other awesome art projects they are going to make!

It was also interesting to see a school environment, and an after school environment together in the same week. I am starting to understand and question why each are structured the way they are.



Week 5- February 16- 23

Children's Theatre Company - Lyndale Elementary School - Kiyoko - 2 hours

I had my first week of shadowing this week with Kiyoko from CTC's neighborhood bridges program. It was such a wonderful learning opportunity!

The 3rd grade elementary class started at 9.30 am there were about 25-30 students, and Kiyoko started by explaining what tall-tales are. She explained how stories seem real but some aspects of them are exaggerated. She had an assistant (who was a college student and was really great) who started giving examples by making Tall Tales about how she came to school. Then the students were told to write their own stories. The class teacher who's class we were in went around and checked in with all the students and so did the other two. Then Kiyoko selected 3 students to come forward and read their stories. The class started saying  "Lights Camera Action" (and had actions for each of the words) as they first student read his story. The stories were great! After he read it for the first time, he had to narrate it again without reading from his book this time, the assistant suggested how each students could use   use actions to make it more their story more engaging. This was a great experience for both the class students as they could hear what their classmates had written as well as for the students who were reading and performing. The CTC team also suggested presentation skills to the readers, like; reading louder, standing still, being in the center of the stage etc.

Then we moved the benches aside, and formed a circle. Kiyoko explained that we were playing a game in which one student would be a statue of any actions he wants, then the person next to him can copy his/her action or do an action of his own - then they both have to freeze. The person next to them has to then name this sculpture. It was awesome to see the children really loosen up, and participate in the game at the same time be creative and name the sculptures next to them. This game involved being attentive, thinking fast as well as being creative with the actions. As we were playing this game 6 high school students joined our circle. Then we all sat down and one of the high school students started telling a Tall Tale of Paul Bunyan. The children seem to have really enjoyed it as it was told in an entertaining way. Next someone else told the story of Annie Christmas in a joyful way, too.

Then the children broke down in smaller groups with 1-2 high school students leading the group. In the smaller groups they briefly talked about the story.  They asked who their favorite character was, and why. What they liked about the story, and what was wrong or unfair? Then Kiyoko assigned each group part of the stories to act out and explained what a director does and what actors do. Then Kiyoko asked the High school students to choose one director and actor (just to show the class what they were expected to do), Then Kiyoko challenged the students to break the high school students record of 8 seconds and to decide the characters and the director. Then the students went back to their smaller group and assigned a director with the help of the high school student in their group. The director in each group decided the characters. The group I was in had a great student director who was trying to be fair. One student really wanted to be a character which was already assigned to a other student, so he was upset. But the director decided that they could both be the same character - one can be the tail of the animal and one can be the front half. They just started rehearsing the potential dialogues but the time was up and they had to perform. So a lot of it was improv, and it worked out pretty great. When a student was confused the rest of their group would help them by they creating  new characters and coming up with quick dialogues. After each group performed Kiyoko led a reflection by asking the "audience" what worked the best and what didn't. They spoke about how some students lost their character etc. By this time, time was up so they had to stop.

Later, Kiyoko came outside the class and spoke to the high school students. They talked about what worked, what could be done better, a brief discussion about how each of them performed. 

This shadowing experience was a great one, it taught me a lot of important aspects of teaching like how well a planned lesson can help one do so many activities, how body movements can divert energy and help students be focused and excited! 


Week 4 - February 9- 16

Children's Theatre Company – Tessa Flynn – 1 hour 

This past week I met up with Tessa to plan my shadowing visits, complete my background check and to complete everything I need to set up. I learned about CTC's neighborhood bridges program. I start my shadowing from this Wednesday with Kiyoko who is the Director of Community Engagement in a third grade class room in Lyndale Elementary School. They will be telling Tall Tales, including Paul Bunyan and Annie Christmas that Wednesday. As I'm not familiar with these classic stories, I'm going to be prepared for my visit and read them in advance. Looking forward to this Wednesday! 

MIA – Krista Pearson – 1 hour 

This week has been planning heavy which is important for being a Teaching Artist as I'm learning. I met by with Krista, to talk about my schedule at MIA and to start thinking about my teaching plans. I'm going to be helping with the May Day events at MIA and other parks. My teaching idea as I discussed with her is going to be printing on t-shirts which would be themed for May Day. The teaching will be conducted sometime in early April, as that is when the May Day community activities start  coming together. In the next month or so I will write a teaching plan so we can all review it. Krista showed me the material closet, and we spoke about different material options. I'm going to research about some myself while considering the cost etc. I'm excited to have two different kinds of experiences- museum setting and a school setting. 

I was under the weather so did not go to UrbanArts this past week. This week when I go in, I will set a date for my Teaching so I can start planning and writing my Plan.



Week 3 – February 2- 9

UrbanArts Academy - 9 hours

This week at UrbanArts I got an insight into the organizational part of an organization. 

I received a call from the academy in the morning of the day I always go in usually, to ask if I can come a bit earlier and help with some of the design part. After I went in they explained me that they needed my help with their summer brochure design. They said it had to be sent to the printer in two days and so it was an important project. 

I was explained how it was designed last year, and the things that needed to be changed this year. The person who was explaining me this, told that she tried her hands at InDesign software and it took her a long time to figure it out. I was happy to help as I'm a Graphic Design major, so I'm familiar with some of the problems that might occur. This experience was helpful for me as I realized how she was doing so many things on this job, and so were everyone else. It isn't just simply about teaching and being with children, but there is a huge amount of planning and organization that goes into it. While working with non-profit organizations one does a lot more than just the job title. I was amazed by the fact that she self taught herself InDesign and was trying to design it, along with her regular job. Specially being a graphic designer I know how difficult software can be sometime. I'm aware of how confusing it can be for us too to export files according to special printer requirements, and differently for the web. 

I worked on the summer brochure the whole 4 hours I was there. It was a interesting experience to design on a windows computer, as I'm so used to working on an Apple computer. It took me a while to get a hang out it. I was introduced to their images bank, logos and other material. I got most of it done but I was confused about some of the copy. The brochure contains images, descriptions of all the summer classes, times etc. It was also a learning experience as a designer to fit everything on the assigned pages as it saved them huge amounts of printing money. 

Past 2 days, I exchanged a lot of emails with them with different edits and more camp descriptions. The camp descriptions are written by different teachers who teach the classes and so I had to make sure they are all updated and all the dates and age groups where listed right.

I finally got the brochure done today, and they seem to be happy with it. I'm very glad to have my design skills being useful for them. I learned a lot though this process, and look forward to next week to be in a classroom again! 

Week 2 – January 31- February 1

Urban Arts Academy -  Ms. Katie – 2.5 hours     

Minneapolis Institute of Art - Margaret Werheim - 5 hours

Urban Arts Academy. I had my second week of helping out at Urban Arts. I was in the same classroom as last week, which was Katie's classroom with students who were Kindergarten to second grade. I was a lot more comfortable in the classroom this week as I was familiar with most of the students, and they knew me. 

Katie had planned for a after school activity for the students creating sculptures with recycled toys. I helped her by getting the room set up before the students came back from school. After they came back they ate some snacks, and some started doing their homework as others were playing. Katie told all the students that they had 20 minutes of free quiet time, after which we were going to conduct our activity. In this time, I read a book to one of the students, who was very engaged and excited about the book. I enjoyed reading the book to him too, as I wasn't familiar with some of the American classic stories for children. As I started reading more I realized that he wasn't familiar with some of the vocabulary so I started breaking words down to explain him. I thought his was a good learning process for me as I started paying close attention to the content of the reading and my way of delivering the story.

Katie's activity addressed the students making sculptures from recycled toys. Each student was given a shoe box to contain their sculptures.  There was one community box full of old toys. Each student was limited to using 7 toys from the box. There was also sticker paper, colorful paper and other materials for their use. I thought it was interesting that she set up limitations for them. I believed this helped them to really think about what they wanted to do with their sculptures as well as to make choices from so many other great toys. She also gave them all one keyboard which was broken, and taught them how to take off the keys. Katie and I were in charge of helping them glue their pieces using a glue gun. 

As  always there were some students who were really excited to start the project. And some who wanted to do other activities. When two of the girls made really cute sculptures that acted like a narrative story from the toys they selected, other students wanted to try the activity too. They used the keyboard keys really creatively. I thought Katie did a good job of using the resources they had to plan the activity. Everyone's projects turned out great! The next day they were going to paint over their sculptures. I was happy to be a part of it, and to see such lovely projects happen!

Minneapolis Institute of Art. I had my first week of working at the Minneapolis Institute of the Arts.  On Thursday, January 29, I attended an artist talk by Margaret Werheim. More information about the talk can be found here. I was thrilled when Krista my supervisor wanted me to help with Margaret's project.

Margaret is a science writer, and she is the co-creator along with her twin sister Christine of the Hyperbolic Crochet Coral Reef project. After hearing her talk, I had many questions like: How does she inform the community members that in spite of the fact that they are creating art the idea is of a much greater concern (like global warming in Margaret's context). How does she engage the community members in her project? How do they learn and come together for this cause? 

I helped out with two workshops on the same day, one of them was held in Bloomington Center for the Arts and the other one was in MIA. Margaret started her workshop by giving a presentation about her project, as well as the idea of how science and art are influencing each other. She also clearly presented some of the math equations and explained how what we were about to make was like a diagram of mathematical theories. The public was engaged in the presentation and she received a lot of questions. 

MIA is going to be a part of Margaret's Hyperbolic Crochet Coral Reef project. They are planning to have a show with all the crocheting work made by people from Minneapolis. They are planning to have these workshops and get more people together to crochet. Margaret conducted five workshops while she was in Minneapolis to get the ball rolling. I was a part of two of these workshops, and I helped with signing up and getting people set up.  

It was interesting to also notice how the learning styles changed from both the workshops. The first one at Bloomington was a relatively smaller group with 10-12 people who were all women. After the end of her presentation she asked if there are people who doesn't know how to crochet (I was one of them). We sat together in a smaller circle, and had some great conversations about religion, science and how they are conceptually related to each other's developments. Margaret went around the room and was checking in with everyone and teaching them crochet. There was also a MCAD Alumni present, who was amazing at crocheting who taught and assisted everyone. Margaret learned a new kind of stitch from her, and I thought it was interesting how this exchange of learning and teaching can form connections in people instantly. The crocheting activity itself is a great one for communities to come together with an objective and have conversations at the same time. The second workshop was at MIA which was much larger with around 12-16 people. Since the group was larger we broke people into smaller groups with each group having at least one person who knew how to crochet. The learning experience in a crochet activity is direct, one can see when one has learned the new skill. I thought it was interesting how people with different interests came together for the same cause. For example some of people were interested in the environmental issue of the project, some were interested in the crocheting part of the project. The people were so engaged in the activity that they waited even longer after the workshop ended to keep crocheting. I'm excited to see how the start of this Hyperbolic Crochet Coral Reef project in Minneapolis expands, and excited to see the work that comes out of it and the connections that people are making though it. 









Week 1 - January 18-24

Urban Arts Academy – 3 hours 

I had my first day at Urban Arts academy on last Wednesday. I’m helping with their after school program with kindergarteners.  I enjoyed the atmosphere there, the academy serves snacks as a part of their after school program.

The teacher had planned a super enjoyable activity of making vintage maps with the students. She was well prepared and had materials like coffee and paper ready and set up for the kids. After having some snacks the children did not want to go right in and start the activity, but it was awesome to notice how the teacher got them interested and engaged in the activity. She was polite and excited, she explained them though a short story how the maps can be so exciting and the possibilities of what their map would be are endless. Soon they started getting excited about the activity, and one of the students pretended to be a pirate (who had not even made a map at that point, but was already exploring a new place all though his imagination). Finally, one of the students was ready to create her map. Soon the entire class followed and made their maps - which turned out great!

First day itself was really interesting, and I enjoyed the energy in the classroom. My biggest lesson day one was about time management. The teacher must have spent entire day preparing and thinking about the activity. But for the kindergarten students the activity lasted just for a couple of minutes! 

Looking forward to many more fun activities!