#KTMARTISTS on Display

Congratulations to thirty-four of our K.T. Murphy students for having artwork showcased at the University of Bridgeport, Stamford “Young at Art” exhibition!  This art exhibit is a collaborative student art show that includes students from both Springdale School and K.T. Murphy.  It was started by my mom, Susan Ramsey, a Stamford art educator, University of Bridgeport Graduate, and life long resident of Stamford. She has devoted over 41 years of her life to advocating for the significant influence art can have on children and their learning. There will be a special reception for students and their families in May.  Please check back for a date and time and come support our Stamford artists! Here is a sneak preview!

 

#KTMARTISTS on Display

Congratulations to twelve K.T. Murphy kindergarten students who have artwork featured at UCONN Stamford for the Salaam Bombay Children’s Fund Art Exhibition. The art exhibition features Stamford students in grades K-8 and artists whose work represents the celebrations and cultures of India.  The exhibit is on display until May 20th. Look how they sound SBCF flyerSalaam Bombay Children’s Fund

Presents

Art Exhibition (@ UCONN Stamford)

Look How They Sound

The Children of Mumbai, India

SBCF (Salaam Bombay children’s Fund) is a US nonprofit raising funds and awareness for the impoverished children living in Mumbai. SBCF has partnered with the Salaam Bombay Foundation (Mumbai, India) to empower children to stay in school. Focus areas include: In-School and After-School programs and academies to drive leadership, critical thinking and skills for life and livelihoods, vocationally preparing them with important career skills for a brighter future (Project Résumé), and creating tobacco-free environments for children to thrive in, developing leadership skills as public health change agents in their schools and communities (Project Super Army). “To empower children to make the right choices for their health, education and livelihood and commit them to stay in school”.

UCONN Stamford is open to the public:

Monday-Thursday 7:00 am to 10:00 pm

Friday and Saturday 7:00 am to 5:00 pm

Sunday CLOSED

K.T. Murphy Diversity Quilt

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 We are kicking off the process of making a K.T. Murphy Diversity Quilt!

The K.T. Murphy Diversity Quilt is a community art project that will be displayed in K.T. Murphy for years to come to symbolize that K.T. Murphy School is a place for EVERYONE. You don’t want to miss out! Please ask your child about it and check their folders for the letter and paper for the quilt. We are hoping our quilt will represent ALL of our K.T. Murphy families!

Students will bring home the letter about the project along with a white paper square to use to create a piece of the quilt as pictured above.  Each square will represent a K.T. Murphy family. The label is on the back side of the paper. Please do not make any artwork on this side. One goal of this project is to create a visual representation of the diverse cultures at K.T. Murphy School. Parents, family members and students can work together, or independently on the artwork.  All artwork has to be flat.  Collages, drawings and paintings are all acceptable.

Each family has the choice to participate and decide how to represent themselves. We are hoping you feel inspired to share part of your story and show how diversity makes our school, community and world stronger.

Please hand in all artwork on the squares provided by April 17, 2017.

CELEBRATE DIVERSITY-MAKE ART! 

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Pull-ups

It might seem like it has nothing to do with teaching, but pull-ups are making me a better teacher.  My high school art teacher always made comparisons between sports and art. She would talk about how artists and athletes have to practice.  Making art was never easy for me, but I dedicated a ton of effort to it without really noticing how hard I was trying.

It wasn’t until recently when I decided to finally tackle a basic strength and conditioning routine of doing pull-ups and chin-ups, that I actually realized what the connection between art, sports and practice is all about. It was her recipe for How to Succeed.  First of all, in January of this year I could not do even one single chin-up let alone the more challenging (in my opinion) pull-up. I told my coach I really just wanted to set some new goals for myself and finally get over the fact that I just can’t do any pull-ups.  I thought he was going to tell me how to get stronger so I could do them, but instead he said something that didn’t even make sense, but I trust his professional opinion so I did what he said.

He told me to just do them until I can do them.  Are you serious?  How do I do, what I can’t do?  What kind of plan is that?  How am I supposed to do them if I can’t?  Then he showed me that I actually could do a chin-up with only a tiny little push. It was not a big deal by any fitness standard, but I was literally blown away by the fact that he said show me what you can do and then barely even helped me, and I did it.  That was what I needed.

I don’t know if he realized it, but I was really doubting myself. It was a tiny force in the way forward that made a huge impact. It was only one chin-up, but that one was huge to me.  After that, I did one every day until one became two, then three, and then four.  Then ten in a row. Then three sets of ten. Then push-ups between sets. Then pull-ups, chin-ups and push-ups in multiple sets.  It was really not about the fact that I was getting stronger which was my goal for being able to do them in the first place. The most amazing thing was that I could actually do something that I never thought I could do, and I got there by doing what I couldn’t do until I could actually do it.

The logic sounds twisted, but it works. It is The Best Feeling. One that I hope I can recreate with more practice for my students.  Thank you coach! You have no idea what a big deal this was for me. I hear it all the time, that others think art comes easy to me.  I know it doesn’t, but I also know that I worked at it my whole life just because I wanted to.  The trick with being a teacher is how to help students realize that if they want to do something there are ways to get there but they aren’t easy.  It was much harder than I thought it was going to be, to be able to do what I once believed I couldn’t.  It started with a decision to try. I didn’t back down when I was told to do it until I learned how. That is the kind of teacher I want to be.  One who can say, you might not be able to do this yet, but if you keep doing it eventually you’ll be able to. One who can give her students just the right amount of push so they will keep going until they get where they want to be.  I will keep practicing until I can do that. Then I will start over.

Celebrate Diversity-Make Art!

The ice and snow will soon melt away. Wishful thinking maybe, but March 20th is officially the first day of spring! It is time for K.T. Murphy students to move into an exciting phase of the school year in their classrooms and in art class.  This is the time of year when students put all their practice and learning to the test.  It is also time for students to show their amazing strengths working with different art mediums and big ideas!  All the drawings, collages, paintings and clay modeling they have done will culminate in making artwork for a transformative and celebratory school-wide art show!

Since I began teaching eleven years ago, it was always a goal for my teaching practice to be about more than just helping children learn how to make things.  Having an art show in the spring was the first step towards advocacy for the learning and growth that happens for children throughout a school year. The type of learning that isn’t measured on tests.  The K.T. Murphy art show has evolved and changed over the years including interactive art stations, an outdoor chalk mural, student museum docents, QR codes about the artwork and a variety of special exhibits.  Every year is an opportunity to try something new. There are an infinite number of possibilities when it comes to how to display the artwork, how to curate the artwork that is displayed and what the theme of the art show will be.

At K.T. Murphy School we are lucky to have a diverse school community representing cultures from all over the world.  Diversity is a huge strength that we can draw upon as a chance for all of us to learn about each other and grow more connected.  When we learn about how we are different, we also learn to appreciate those differences more, and we discover how we are alike. Our school PTO hosts an enormously successful multicultural fair which has grown over the years including more cultures than each previous year.  Students and their families make beautiful displays, there are different foods to try and amazing dance performances with beautiful costumes to see. Our February All School Meeting even celebrated diversity with students sharing about their cultures. Some students even dressed in traditional clothing worn in the countries they are from. They worked hard on all of this with their teachers to prepare for the sharing they did in front of their peers and the whole school community. It seems like just the right time to tie all of these experiences together with our art show theme “Celebrate Diversity-Make Art!”.

The art show will include artwork by students in pre-K through Grade 5 and will represent connections made to art styles and cultural celebrations throughout the world.  A special exhibit this year is planned to reveal the “K.T. Murphy Diversity Quilt”. We are hoping all of our K.T. Murphy families will participate in creating a quilt square at home as a family project. Please keep an eye out for a letter about this special project that will be sent home with students soon!

When spring arrives, it is an exciting and extremely busy time for everyone.  If you would be able to volunteer even just 1 hour of your time it will make a big impact. There are many ways that you can help.  Parents, teachers, staff and students are all welcome to volunteer. Please contact Ms. Ramsey at cramsey@stamfordct.gov or leave a message at our school office (203)- 977-4516.

“Celebrate Diversity-Make Art!” 

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Ten Lessons the Arts Teach

School is life.

“What is the purpose of school?”

“How will we make school mirror the world in a way that prepares students to live a fulfilling life?”

When we think about why art is an essential piece of educating the whole child we have to take into consideration a holistic view of the lessons that are learned through the arts.

We can not allow our understanding of the importance of arts education to be about drawing pictures or crafting interesting objects.

Ten Lessons the Arts Teach, by the late world-renowned Stanford professor of Art and Education, Elliot Eisner, expresses the depth of learning that can be achieved through an education that includes the arts.  An education in the arts that is supported with the resources, time and the value that children deserve will hit all ten of the lessons on this list.

It should remind all of us of why it is so important to have the arts in our lives, and why it makes us human.

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