#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

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.

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.

screen-shot-2016-10-09-at-10-13-01-am

FAQs KT Murphy Art Program

What is the schedule for art classes?

  • Art classes are 40 minutes
  • Ms. Ramsey teaches art Monday through Friday 
  • Mrs. Delmonico teaches art on Tuesdays 
  • Mr. Greco teaches art on Mondays 

What will my child learn in art?

  • About famous artists
  • Art processes like: painting, drawing, printmaking, clay sculpture and collage
  • To make connections between art and other subjects
  • To create original artwork based on a variety of themes
  • To use visual art vocabulary to discuss works of art
  • To use creativity to solve open ended problems
  • To develop an appreciation for different cultures and styles of art

How is my child graded in art?

  • In grades K-2 students receive an N, Y or an MP on their report card
  • In Grades 3-5 students receive a letter grade on their report card A, B, C…
  • In grades 3-5 students receive an effort grade of 1,2,3, or 4.
  • 1 is the lowest degree of effort and a 4 is the highest degree of effort
  • Student artwork is assessed on meeting objectives for each lesson
  • Effort is assessed on class participation

When will my child bring their artwork home?

  • All artwork will be taken home at the end of the school year
  • Some artwork will be sent home before the end of the school year

When will my child’s artwork be displayed?

  • Students will have at least one piece of artwork on display in our school-wide art show in May

How can I contact the art teachers?

How is Twitter being used in art classes?

  • Look for tweets with #ktmartists to see what we have been working on in art!

Testing the Waters in School

The famous Bruce Lee spoke eloquently on life and learning.  Here is one of his most famous quotes on being like water:

Screen Shot 2016-08-23 at 9.08.55 AM

There are several layers to uncover in the meaning of this seemingly simple metaphor.

“Empty your mind.”

We can only clear our minds if we let go of our thoughts, feelings and habits. This is an extremely difficult notion to take on especially at the beginning of a new school year.

“Be formless. Shapeless. Like water.”

In order to be formless we must let go of our preconceived ideas, our emotions and our false perceptions of what is happening. The only way to adapt to anything is to be open to anything and be completely present. Our students need this from us.

“You put water into a cup.  It becomes the cup. You put water into a bottle. It becomes the bottle. You put water into a teapot. It becomes the teapot.”

Our expectations will give a definite form to everything that happens in our classrooms. They will shape how we respond to everything. Most importantly our students. Those who come in excited to be in school to those who are tired, hungry and not ready for our expectations.  We have to set high expectations for all students but remember that they will need to take on many different forms.

“Water can flow or it can crash.” 

Think about the impact we have as teachers on our students. We can help students build a learning environment in school that flows over any obstacles. We can help them break down barriers to their learning with a force as powerful as a wave crashing over a rocky coastline. We can adapt to the many differing needs of our students.

The wise Bruce Lee has a lot to offer as we get ready to begin a new school year. I wonder how being honest with ourselves influences our ability to do what he is proposing. We all know that entering the new school year begins with a period of testing the water.

We feel our way through the first couple of days and our students are doing the same. We are not always going to be able to make a perfect decision to become what our students need us to be every moment of every day.

“Be water, my friend.”   

There are days we might dive in, others when we will float and some when we may race to the finish. We will make mistakes.  We might get stuck in our old habits, freeze and turn to ice.

Even during those moments we have to realize our ability to change. Water takes on many forms but unlike water we choose which one to be and when.  Most importantly we need to teach our students that they have this choice too.

Heres to a happy and healthy new school year!