Yesterday we headed to Massachusetts for our final field trip of the year.
We were supposed to visit the Sculpture Park at the DeCordova Museum in Lincoln.
However, it was going to be hot.
Fry-an-egg-on-the-sidewalk and schvitz-like-crazy hot.
But we went up there anyway, with lots of water, sunscreen, and hats and the hope that the museum staff would give us an indoor tour of the museum instead of taking us through the Sculpture Park in the heat.
Not only were all four of our museum educators willing to accommodate our request, but they prepared a phenomenal tour of their 2008 Annual Exhibition instead. My guide, Linda, had seven of my kids, plus me and one of our chaperones. She began not by going over the rules, but by telling my students that artists tell stories. She asked them, “How many of you like stories?” Thankfully all of them said, “Me!” From that moment, I knew it was going to be a quality tour steeped in aesthetic education practices. 🙂 (She also told them there were no right or wrong answers today!) 🙂 🙂
Linda toured my kids around the the Annual Exhibition asking them, “What do you think this means?” or “What are we looking at?” or “What do you think the artist was trying to tell us?” Plus, for each type of artwork we looked at, Linda asked my kids to tell her what kind of story each of them thought the artist was trying to tell. Just that simple question got my young writers/art interpreters going. They came up with amazing story ideas, which I think has something to do with the fact that they have heard many stories read aloud to them in their school career and partially due to the fact that they were willing to take risks because Linda made it safe for them to do so.
So, despite the heat, my students wanted to continue telling stories, through art, when they returned. Luckily I had some Model Magic in the storage room. The Model Magic, coupled with magic markers and their imaginations, allowed them to create fantastic sculptures of their own (They saw a few even though it was super-hot!) at the end of the school day, thanks to the inspiration they had at DeCordova.
I am a literacy consultant who has spent the past dozen years working with teachers to improve the teaching of writing in their classrooms. While I work with teachers and students in grades K-6, I'm a former fourth and fifth-grade teacher so I have a passion for working with upper elementary students.
I'm the author of Craft Moves (Stenhouse Publishers, 2016) and the co-author of Jump Into Writing (Zaner-Bloser, 2021), Welcome to Writing Workshop (Stenhouse Publishers, 2019), and Day By Day (Stenhouse, 2010).