Monday, September 30, 2013

Taan's Moons project - Session one

September has been an exciting month. Alison and I learned we received the large grant from ArtStarts in Schools for the Taan's Moons project! Yay! So preparations went full swing.

We held curriculum meetings to fine-tune our activities. We visited the six elementary schools on Haida Gwaii to meet the children, their teachers and to introduce the project. We shared part of the story and warmed up our imagination with some dramatic movement exercises:
We are Hibernating Taan
We invited the children to make a drawing of the story and we made sure to jot down notes on what the children verbally expressed about their drawings.
Sol explaining his drawing to me 
The visit to the classrooms and meeting with the teachers was very helpful in many ways. It gave us a sense of the dynamics of the class and the interest and attention levels of the children. The teachers gave us insight in their daily schedules so we can work around their usual program. As we work mostly with Kindergarten children who have been in school for just a month, it's important to follow their basic routines, like morning circle, story time, Haida class and of course snack and recess.

Based on the children's drawings and our notes, I created 13 illustrations for the 13 verses of the Taan's Moons story. These will be used as a guideline for when we embark on creating large felted moons:
During our visit to the classrooms, one of the teachers (Ms. Sheila Karrow) mentioned that it would be nice for the children who are finished their projects early, to be able to play with some felt objects. This stuck with me and I was wondering how we could engage the children in some felt play. I came up with creating a felt play mat that incorporates the months of the year as told in Taan's Moons story, as well as the seasons of the year. As each class will only work with two moons/months of the story, they won't learn about the full dimension of the project until after all the work is finished. But with this play mat they will be introduced to the circular rhythm of the moon, the evolution of the months, the seasons and the year.
Laying out wool for the felt play mat
The coming three weeks we will have our first full days working with the children at the six schools! These days will be filled with fun felting, literacy and drama exercises. To be continued...

This artist residency is partially funded by an Artists in the Classroom grant, disbursed by ArtStarts in SchoolsArtStarts in Schools

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