Since returning from spring break, kindergarteners have been engaged in an exciting self-expression unit in which they have been exposed to the following art forms: storytelling, visual arts, dance and music. We began with the storytelling component, where students used a story map to brainstorm the characters, setting, problem and solution of a story. Then they got to work on their own fiction stories, writing in both English and their target language. After read-alouds of books like Julius el Rey de la Casa by Kevin Henkes, we talked about the development of the characters and the setting in the book in order to be able to transfer these storytelling techniques into their own writing. To wrap up this part of the unit, students visited the Paperbag Players to watch Trip to the Moon and attended a 5th grade performance of The Magic Flute.
To explore expressing ourselves through dance, we were lucky enough to work with our artist in residence Josef Woodson; for two weeks, he led students in moving their bodies and creating their own choreography. Students were able to work as a group as well as, on occasion, in collaboration with a single partner.
Students created their own choreography with artist in residence Josef Woodson.
In our related music study, students learned about the types of instruments used in music from Latin America, like violins in rancheras from Mexico and the clave in salsa from the Caribbean. We also had the opportunity to visit the music room for high school band practice, where kindergarten students danced and played different kinds of drums.
Trying out different drums in the music room.
In the final stage of the unit, students were able to visit local galleries to view different types of artwork. We discussed how some painters used colors to express how they were feeling in that moment. In the classroom, students took notice of beats and tempos in music and used different mediums such as cray-pas and watercolor to create art as they listened to rock, merengue, jazz and classical music. They then wrote about how the different styles of music evoked different feelings.
Visiting a local gallery.
Students created art while listening to different types of music.
We wrapped up the first half of this unit by having each student take a survey on which area he or she wanted to delve into more deeply. The kindergarten classes are busy writing more stories, taking pictures, creating art and dancing to music from all over the world.