Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Ada's Violin: The Recycled Orchestra of Paraguay

We had the fantastic opportunity to visit the new Federal Way Performing Arts and Events Center recently to see the "Book It Theater" perform a play based on the uplifting true story Ada's Violin: The Story of the Recycled Orchestra of Paraguay by Susan Hood. 

If you are not familiar with this heartwarming story of creativity and artistic passion overcoming adversity, here it is read aloud:

This story is an inspiring tale of a group of people who help students living in poverty create music and opportunity from the garbage in the landfill near where they live. It was also a GREAT way to start thinking about how to upcycle/recycle/use materials creatively before starting into our unit on inventions.

After seeing the play, our art and performing arts teachers led the students to create their own recycled musical instruments in MakerSpace. Look how well they turned out:

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Leaves of Gold - Making Illuminated Manuscripts

    "Today, books are everywhere! How many books do you have at your house? Probably quite a few. Now, here's a question for you: how many of them were made entirely by hand?  In the Middle Ages, books were as rare as jewels and as precious as gold because they were made by hand. Some of the books on the Leaves of Gold website cost as much as a luxury car and took as long as a year to make. Some of the books actually have both gold and jewels in them. The gold is used for illumination, to light up the pages. And some colors are made of ground-up jewels."as r


Since books are one of my favorite things on earth, I love learning and teaching about the early art of bookmaking and the amazing and beautifully detailed manuscripts created in the middle ages. 
As part of our study of the middle ages, we explored the art of illuminated manuscripts through an incredible resource -- an archived exhibit of the Philadelphia Museum of Art. The above paragraph came from the introductory page.


We took an "online field trip" to this exhibition and were able to examine and read about original illuminated pages such as this one, featuring border illustrations of the story of David and Goliath: as well as many other gorgeous examples of medieval works. We also closely examined historiated initials, or decorated letters, like this one:, thinking about questions like: Why is the letter difficult to see? What kinds of designs are int he decoration? Why would the artist/illuminator decorate the letter so elaborately? IN books today, how do you know when you've come to a new chapter? IN what ways is the style of drawing and painting different than other images you have seen?

We then practiced making our own historiated initials and decorated letters using the letters of our names. Then we each chose a topic relating to the middle ages, did some research, wrote a paragraph about it, and then "illuminated" it. We burnished with gold leaf, and embellished using jewels, glitter, gold paint and markers to create a masterpiece of our own. Though ours was not a true book of days, which was filled with prayers for each hour, this project is a great example of the way we integrate our curriculum at Seabury - social studies, art, literacy, history, technology - all combined into one fun and "illuminating" learning experience.

The Feudal System 

Kings owned all the land.



The life of the peasants was hard.

Castles in the middle ages were made for protection.

Women in the middle ages

Joan of Arc

Jousts and Tournaments

Come to the feast!

 The Navigators even made an illuminated Seabury sign:


Friday, November 17, 2017

Medieval Feast

Our Medieval Feast by The Dragons:

Hear ye, Hear ye! We had our feast to show off all we learned about the middle ages. To prepare we made shields, helmets and crowns to wear; we decorated goblets with metallic markers and many jewels; we created big red/blue and green/yellow banners with lions and dragons in the center. Our parents helped by preparing lots and lots of food. We had smoked turkey, corn and meatball kabobs, hearty vegetable pie, chicken drumsticks, fruit and vegetable platters, pumpkin pie, and a special Turkish custard dessert. It was delicious! We ate a lot. We told medieval-themed jokes like "How does a cat get over a castle wall? A catapult!" We had a lot of fun and merriment!

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Happy Halloween!

 Our favorite Halloween equation:
Great costumes + good friends + lots of delicious and creative treats = a whole lot of FUN!

Happy Halloween!

An exciting week of learning culminated in a visit from the education department from the Slater Museum of Natural History at the University...