Artful Alphas


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Art is one of the most beloved activities our students do.  It is considered by many to be an enhancement to a child’s education and is often on the chopping-block when school budgets need a hefty trim. Neuroscientists are discovering that observing and creating art does amazing things to our brains. The last line in this article sums up nicely why we should be increasing our student’s exposure to and creation of art: “When you’re doing art, your brain is running full speed,” Vikan said. “It’s hitting on all eight cylinders.”

Here’s what Alphas think about art…

“Art is shapes.” “To make sculpture you need a saw, hammer, nails, pencil, and a ruler.” “An elephant can make art & so can a person.” “Creation makes art.” “Art is easy because I learned from my sister.”

Scott Ellis, talented tatoo artist aka Pavala’s dad, was our visiting artist on Tuesday. He showed us that if you can draw shapes ~ you can draw anything. All the shapes make the drawings.

“What can you draw?” he asked us. A – “unicorns, dragons, people & fashion design”

What shapes do you need to draw a unicorn? “circles, curly lines, rectangles, skinny triangle.”

The first thing Scott does is make a shape map. Then he goes over it to make the shapes look more realistic.

Alphas like frog feet – “put 1,000 feet on the frog!”



Scott shared his sketchbook…each drawing started out with a simple geometric shape!


…even a body can be broken down into separate shapes!


Scott demonstrated how to create drawings using 2 tools: a light colored pen and a dark color pen. He uses a light color to block in the basic shape and then adds character and detail with the darker pen in order to bring out more realistic features.

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Now the Alpha’s take a turn…


Gabriella checks out Abigail’s art…



A triangle can become a sea creature!


Rectangles, ovals and triangles can turn a blank paper into a unicorn!


Mara made a collage out of lots of found shapes and media…


I think the Alpha Room needs to be listed in E.A.S.T.!

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Project BOOK!

This week, Alpha’s got to align what they are learning in math and language arts with a book-making project.  Our earliest experiences with art come from exposure to amazing illustrations in picture books.  Students created an “ode” to a particular shape through text and illustration…


Eliza demonstrates how to turn a circle into a sun!



Coppie found her muse!



“…page 3!”


Teacher’s Corner:  two of the Reading/Math strategies we reinforced this week


The picture walk gives opportunities to:

  • Explore how children see and interpret visual images
  • Discuss and predict the shape of the story from visual cues
  • Help children connect visual images to their own experiences and activate prior knowledge
  • Let children practice holding the book and turning the pages
  • Model enthusiasm for books by sharing stories and experience related to the topic(s)
  • Let’s look at the front cover. What do you think this story is about?
  • Do you have any experience with ___________? An experience I had was…
  • Turn the page. What do you see? What do you think is happening?
  • What do you think will happen next?
  • Here we are almost at the end of the book. How will the story end?
  • What are you curious to know more about in the story? I wonder if…


ONE TO ONE CORRESPONDENCE  – a fundamental skill in both math and reading.

Adults use this concept every day. We automatically count out appropriate dollar bills and coins to pay for items. We set the table for the right amount of people. We read in a left-to-right progression, scanning each word as we read it.

But, one-to-one correspondence is often difficult for young children to comprehend. In Math recognizing the number “ten,” and being able to count out “ten” items are two separate skills. Linking objects with numbers enables a child to count with understanding.

Mastering one-to-one correspondence is essential for organized, meaningful counting. This leads to an eventual ability to perform higher-level calculations.

Mastering one-to-one correspondence is important for your child’s reading success as well. It reinforces the print-to-voice connection. This means that your child “says” what he or she “sees.”
The best way to subtly practice this concept is to sweep your index finger under each word, in a left-to-right progression, as you read to your child. Your child will start to model this reading behavior, and begin to make that “see and say” connection.

Using their own index finger under words they are reading is an excellent way for children to visually track what is being read.
This simple technique will enable your child to become a more fluent reader.




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More Alpha Fun…

Indoor-recess is a rare and special treat!


Greetings from Tent City!



Rainy Days mean “Wild Rumpus” is ON! Even Scott got into the action!!


Alphas take an Om-Break with Ms. Stacie…



Thank you Ms. Dina for reading to us!!


“Team-Apron”…ready for action!

[rescue_highlight color=”red”]Upcoming Events…[/rescue_highlight]

11.11.14-  School Holiday to honor our veterans!

11.12.14-  Staff Appreciation Luncheon

11.15.14-  BREWFEST!! (Bid high and often :) )

11.20.14-  Shipe Park Day

11.24.14- Start of Thanksgiving Break!

Well, that about raps up another wild and wooly week in the Alpha Room!  We are so proud of the progress our class in making this year!  The time we’ve spent establishing routines and expectations is starting to pay off. Our class is working collaboratively and running efficiently!  Thank you all for your ideas, feedback and support!

See you Wednesday!

Eliza and Kim





Filed November 7th, 2014.