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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