Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Happy Birthday, Martin Luther King, Jr.!

We spent the morning celebrating Martin Luther King, Jr. and his story.  We sang Happy Birthday to him.  We read the popular books, Happy Birthday Martin Luther King, Jr. and Martin's Big Words.  We traced many portraits (Martin Luther King, Jr., Rosa Parks and Maya Angelou), wrote many quotes (in our journals) and practiced the grid drawing method, creating a graphite drawing of his portrait.  With this exercise, we learned that if we break any image down into sections and recreate one section at a time, the entire image can take shape.  I reminded the children this is how the artist, Chuck Close works (and how he created Frank, a popular sight for the children at Mia).

I think one of the most significant insights from the books we read about Martin Luther King this year was the duration of Rosa Parks' movement with the bus boycott.  This boycott took place over the course of a year (to make more literal: having a birthday and needing to wait until the next birthday).  Changing systems requires so much sacrifice, perseverance and time not to mention needing to manage a lot of feelings that can arise when something doesn't come easily.

Our community art project involved choosing one letter from, "I have a dream." and forming that letter with clay.  At first there was a concern about the unification of the letters but then we were quick to emphasize the importance of each letter reflecting  our individuality and that this would make for a much more interesting visual.  It would definitely be much more like ART!

Our afternoon book reading and discussion can best be summarized with a theme of working on becoming more aware of our judgement while replacing this with active curiosity.   And we started this practice with lunch!  Instead of making a statement like "Ewwww.  I don't like that." while referencing the contents of another's lunch, we practiced active curiosity: Do you like (food item)?  Tell me why you like it!  I like (food item).  I like it because...  Is there a particular food you don't like?  Why?  Is there one you have never tried? Do you think you will try it sometime? All of the sudden there is an experience of bonding (even in the midst of differences) without a blatant statement that might more than likely hurt feelings or alienate.

With the book, Let's Talk About Race we were given more examples of how to practice curiosity when noticing differences.  We also noticed we all had the same bones (and in all the same places)!  And discussed "What if we were just bones? Walking skeletons?"  The only differentiation between all human beings would be height!  What would that be like?

With the book, I Walk With Vanessa, we witnessed how one person (with quiet perception) can create a movement.  We discussed if we had ever felt left out or witnessed a situation where someone else may have felt left out.   Had we ever witnessed a person attempting to include or alienate another?  What subtle contributions or actions are we able to take that can change an entire experience?

With the book, Laila's Lunchbox, it was difficult, at first, to see how fasting could be seen as an act someone looks forward to.  We started to discuss special tasks or rituals we were able to participate in with our families or schools "because we were old enough" and how much pride we took in these actions.  All of the sudden, fasting became less about not being able to eat and more about the pride one feels in having more independence or being able to participate.

With the book, We're All Works of Art, each individual's uniqueness is compared to individual works of art.  In the same way a wide variety of art creates a more interesting museum so does a wide variety of people create a more interesting environment.

Although we didn't read them all, see more of the books we referenced here.

OH! We also read the book, A Splash of Red and studied artist, Horace Pippin.  In previous visits to Mia, we have viewed Horace Pippin's work.

The next art+yoga workshop is Presidents' Day, February 18.

A few more seats can be reserved here.

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