What’s Behind a Face?

“Are we to paint what’s on the face, what’s inside the face, or what’s behind it?” ~  Pablo Picasso

Dear Families and Friends,

Kids were focused as they began the process of constructing original animal masks this morning. Considering what they already knew and digging deep for more, they began researching their creatures, each of which can be found at Wheeler Wildlife Sanctuary. Local Maine animals – some better known than others, are the focus of their study, and fourth graders are investigating all sorts. From an eagle to a gray wolf, kids have figured out ways to represent their animal’s most prominent features.

They started this morning by making sketches in their artist’s notebooks.Then kids tried out different ways to construct beaks, bulging eyes, snouts, and ears. Artist’s tape came in handy as they pieced together chunks of cardboard, working through occasional challenges and seeing new features take form.

Nothing is as expected in the art-making process. And when transitioning from two to three dimensions there are surprising turns of events. Kids gathered information from multiple sources and simply used their imaginations – combining science and art.

Each fourth grader worked at his or her own pace. Two boys talked about why LEAPS’ way of bringing art into the classroom worked for them. “In LEAPS we can just make anything we want. We can choose.”

“Artists give us demonstrations, and we have a lot of time to work on our art.”  At LEAPS of IMAGINATION we want children to investigate, wrestle with ideas, and see the benefits of pushing through them.

A number of children were eager to tell us what they learned this morning. “Deer have white fur where their mouths and noses are.” “Porcupines have huge mouths, but they’re just covered with quills so you don’t see them.” “Eels’ fins are closer to their mouths than to the tail.” “A male hummingbird has a red feather on its neck.” “Mine has a mustache and kind-of-like a skinny mouth.”  “Some creatures have a line between their nose and their mouth. Some have black around their eyes.”

Applying new information, fourth graders are fully engaged in the design process. And while working with new materials and getting to know their animals through observations, they’ve come to know something important about themselves.

“It’s not as easy to make those masks as it looks!”  “I thought just the opposite. It’s hard work, but it was easier for me than I thought.”     “I learned a lot from the artists. I was learning so much my brain just had to expand!”

In awe and anticipation, Nancy for the LEAPS’ Team

Student reading LEAPS’ feedback in her notebook

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