The beauty (and intrigue) of Montessori materials…
Yesterday, two Lower Elementary students were doing some work in the hallway outside of the kitchen. Abby was reading aloud the story of the coming of life on earth while Ella unrolled The Black Strip.
The Black strip represents the length of time it took for the earth to form and to create life to the point where it could support and sustain human life. The strip is meant to give the impression of time and to show that in comparison to the all the life on earth, man has not been around for very long
The Toddler class was in the kitchen and overheard them. They came out into the hall to see what was going on and became fascinated by the Black Strip and Abby reading the story!
It was a wonderful example of the how the older students embrace the younger ones and how the younger ones are drawn to the Montessori materials no matter what level they are at. As Melissa expressed…it plants a seed for what’s to come.
It just kind of naturally evolved…thank goodness I had my camera!
I’ve been spending the fall with LE sharing artists that use walls to communicate ideas with the world. Half of LE began with Sol Lewitt a couple weeks ago. We began by making various kinds of lines on the whiteboard together, then looked at how Lewitt used all kinds of lines in his work. We also looked at pictures of his large wall paintings at MASS MoCA. You can learn more about Sol Lewitt here.
When Lewitt’s work is installed in museums and galleries it often comes with a set of instructions. We talked about the word “interpret,” and then I read a set of instructions I made up while students drew what they heard.
Here’s a picture of Lou and Kiki taking the direction “Draw a sleepy line” VERY literally:
Afterwards we came back to the circle and looked at everyone’s drawings together. Even though everyone had the same directions, the drawings were all different!
For the next activity, students drew lines with charcoal while I played different kinds of music to make these Lewitt-inspired drawings:
Here are just a few of the self-portraits made in art class the first couple weeks of school. From left to right: Greer (CH), Lily (CH), Lou (LE), Abby (LE), Nolan (UE), and Adrian (LE). More to come!
I’ve begun hanging the originals in the hall to the left of the toddler room, so next time you’re at school be sure to check them out! I’m hoping to display them all soon. Each one really reflects the student’s unique and special personality. It’s been a really fun project.