What a beautiful day with colleagues at Brotherhood Synagogue, Beginnings Nursery and the 14th St Y in NYC! Materials Day was amazing, with brilliant keynotes from David Gersten and Susan Harris Mackay, workshops by Amy Miller, Robin Koo, Jennifer Azzariti, Linda White, Shelly Gargus and Yeshnaya Dougherty, Eve Chwast, Tim Hayduck, Elizabeth Margulies, and more.
I have long admired the work of Susan Harris MacKay of Opal School/Portland Children's Museum and it was such a privilege to hear from her today. While I knew she was good, I didn't expect for my socks to be knocked clean off. This was largely due to the fact that she centered her talk on something I also consider to be at the heart of best practice: LOVE. Her talk covered bullying, through the eyes of 3rd graders, and showed reconciliation and redemption, through art and play. It included the issues of civil rights that are still rocking our country. It dealt with the hard stuff, but never left the idea that beauty, art, love can and will win out. Now that's a message we all need to hear.
For our Find & Seek talk we presented a range of story fragments that had evolved from our story/play workshops at Red Hook Library, BEAM Center and Artscetera, along with a couple of videos from workshops we did in 2013.
We wanted to take this chance to post here the video documentary of our CARDBOARD CHALLENGE at Beam Center, from October of that year:
This video was a long time coming! It's a message to all of us educators out there who are trying to play roles of both "teacher" and "documentarian." Trying to do both at all, or either well, is no small task. Hopefully this video was worth the wait! Still looking for the better audio that we know we have stored somewhere on some forgotten hard drive under one of those piles of materials...but until then, enjoy the sounds of cardboard-wielding (and a cockatiel!) in the background.
After our presentation at the 14th St Y I headed to Beginnings to do a deconstruction/reconstruction workshop with Jennifer Azzariti. I was struck by the way Brenna Hatcher not only deconstructed a purple knit shirt, but arranged the pieces. Jennifer also noted this reminded her of a sewing pattern, how it was laid out. Hatcher had cut the bottom of the shirt into strips and started to weave it together. I was happy to deconstruct just some simple pieces of white shirts and fabric, to begin making a doll. Oh no! It's still not finished...
The workshop was held in Debbie's 3's class at Beginnings. This class has really run with their study of FACES! When I worked with them in the Winter they were making faces of clay, and we had a wonderful time upstairs in the Art Studio. Now it's clear they've been recreating the ABOUT FACE game by Eboo with real 3D materials, instead of photos of materials. So much fun!